The Common Good

New Activists Continue Fast For Immigration Reform

Date: December 3, 2013

WASHINGTON — Four immigrant rights activists ended their 22-day fast Tuesday on the National Mall and were immediately replaced with eight others who pledged to continue the fast to try to persuade Congress to pass immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 12 million people living illegally in the United States. The four activists — Cristian Avila of Mi Familia Vota in Arizona, Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners in Washington, D.C., Dae Joong Yoon of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium in Los Angeles, and Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union — took their first bites of bread from a priest before being led away to be checked by doctors.

The fast has drawn national attention in part by attracting such high-profile visitors as President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and about a dozen other Democratic members of the House attended the news conference, along with Labor Secretary Tom Perez. "This fast has literally kept the conversation about immigration reform alive," said the Rev. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners and one of the new fasters. "Across the street is one kind of power (in the U.S. Capitol). In this tent is another."