The Common Good

Fast For Families And Immigration Reform

Source: JD Supra
Date: December 17, 2013

Fast for Families began as a sit-in on the National Mall on November 12 in hopes of urging Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Since that time, several more fasters – including religious clergy and politicians – have joined the fasters in Washington, D.C. and in fasting efforts around the country in order to increase awareness of the need for immigration reform.

The Fast for Families tent continues to sit on the National Mall. The tent includes hand-written notes from supporters and a makeshift altar built around a migrant’s tattered shoe, in addition to the fasters and visitors. But the Fast for Families movement stretches far beyond the walls of the tent and beyond the reaches of Capitol Hill. According to the Center for American Progress, more than 200 people have fasted in the tents, and more than 10,000 have fasted across the country.

In the past month, the Fast for Families tent has been visited by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and several members of Congress and civil leaders have taken turns fasting. Most recently, New Jersey Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker joined activists in Washington, D.C., for a 24-hour fast in support of immigration reform. Closer to home, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and members of the Chicago City Council’s Latino Caucus took part in a 24-hour fast on December 11-12 in support of the activists in D.C.

The four original fasters—Eliseo Medina, Dae Joong Yoon of NAKASEC, Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners, and Cristian Avila of Mi Familia Vota— fasted for 22 days before a group of replacements stepped in when fasting became medically dangerous for the group.