For Immediate Release
'Fast for Families Across America' Kicks Off Nationwide Tour for Immigration Reform, Will Visit 75+ Congressional Districts on 14k Mile Tour
Clergy, Labor & Immigrant Rights Leaders to Cover More Than 950 miles and Seven Key Congressional Districts in California
WASHINGTON - Early this morning on the steps of the City Hall in Los Angeles, hundreds of people of faith, immigrant rights leaders and Congresswoman Judy Chu, joined together to launch the “Fast for Families Across America” tour. The two-bus, nationwide tour will make seven of its more than 75 district visits in California this week and hold daily press events, prayer vigils and community meetings to mobilize constituents and underscore the moral urgency for Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform this year.
“The question has never been if we’ll win immigration reform, the question is ‘when,’” stated Eliseo Medina, former Secretary-Treasurer at SEIU and current Chair of the Immigrant Justice Campaign. “And we’re taking that question, and plenty more, to every stop in our journey into more than 75 congressional districts because the answer to that question should be and will be ‘now.’ Congress can no longer ignore the inhumanity of our immigration system and the voices of hope and faith within their own backyards.”
“Fast for Families” reignited the immigration debate last November when Eliseo Medina (SEIU), Dae Joong “DJ” Yoon (NAKASEC), Rudy Lopez (FIRM) and Cristian Avila (Mi Familia Vota) —abstained from all food, except water for 22 days in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol on the National Mall. Joined by faith, labor and immigrant rights leaders and thousands across the country who fasted in solidarity, the movement drew national attention, including the support of President Obama, both Republican and Democratic Members of Congress – several of whom fasted – and national civil rights leaders.
“The NHCLC community and our 40,118 members proudly stand with our friends from Fast for Families," said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “As evangelicals and the spiritual heirs to Billy Graham’s message and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march for justice, we affirm our conviction that this is the time to reconcile border security with the security of our values - values that include faith and family.”
“The NAKASEC community is honored to host our fellow ‘Fast for Families’ leaders and supporters in our own hometown of Los Angeles,” said Dae Joong Yoon, Executive Director of NAKASEC. “The true power of our movement, united as one, is evident as we prepare to bring our voices to bear across America. We are here to share our struggles, our dreams, and our hopes with lawmakers across the country. We’re here to tell those lawmakers that the dream that your ancestors came for to America for is the dream our families share.”
Joined by local leaders and community members throughout the entirety of the tour, “Fast for Families” leaders Medina and Avila will travel on a southern route with initial stops in Brea, Vista and San Bernardino. Leaders Dae Joong (DJ) Yoon and Rudy Lopez will begin the tour north to Santa Clarita, Bakersfield and San Francisco. Each stop will visit key congressional representatives and mobilize advocates from across the political spectrum.
“During our 22 days without food and water, our bodies were struggling but our spirits were filled by the power of our communities and our common purpose to pass immigration reform this year," said Rudy Lopez of the Center for Community Change. “We are so excited to now bring the spirit and energy that supporters gave us during our time of fasting into our local communities and stand united in calling on Congress to fix America’s broken immigration system and protect family unity.”
“I can think of no better way to stand in solidarity with Jesus during this Lenten season than to stand with immigrant families, said Sojourner’s Senior Director of Mobilizing Lisa Sharon Harper. “Now is the time for common sense immigration reform. Now is the time for Congress to do right by 11 million of the most vulnerable people in our land. This is why we fast.”
The Los Angeles launch of the “Fast for Families Across America” campaign was hosted by CARECEN, Center for Community Change, FIRM, CHIRLA, CLUE-LA, KIWA, CA Dream Network, CHIRLA, Immigration Task Force of the United Methodist Church, Korean Resource Center, La Red de Pastores Evangelicos, L.A. County Federation of Labor, Mi Familia Vota , SEIU-721, SEIU-ULTCW , SEIU-USWW.
With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.