By Aurora Arop, Spring 2014 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern
The next stage of the Fast for Families campaign officially launched on January 27 with an event at the National Press Club, where organizers announced plans for a multi-month tour across the United States that will conclude in April in Washington, D.C.
“As we enter the next phase of Fast for Families, we do so with a renewed commitment to passing commonsense immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship,” said Eliseo Medina, former secretary-treasurer of SEIU, in a press statement. “We are motivated by the fact that since our first fast began in November of last year, approximately 66,000 people have been deported, at the rate of 1,100 per day, and more than 80 immigrants have died in the desert coming to America to find a better life.” Medina went 22 days without food as part of last year’s fast, which garnered significant media attention and visits from President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, among others.
Fast for Families Across America will consist of a two-phase national campaign. The first portion started on January 27 and will include fasters participating in a variety of events, like congressional visits and community discussions in more than 61 key congressional districts, to engage people across the country and to draw attention to the moral crisis caused by America’s broken immigration system. The second phase will start on February 24 and run through April 9, and will see fasters stopping in more than 76 key congressional districts for more visits and discussions.
During the second phase, two buses will launch from California and travel through both northern and southern states until eventually making their way to Washington, D.C. The concluding events on April 9 in D.C. will urge members to reflect on the current broken immigration system and hopefully spark commitment from them to act when they return from a two-week recess.
“Last year, we built the broadest, most diverse coalition ever seen in the immigration reform movement,” Medina said. “Now we are going to expand that coalition by bringing Fast for Families to the rest of the country.”