The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Beatriz Lopez,, 202-412-7396
Tyler Prell,, 202-701-5796

'Fast for Families Across America' Returns to National Mall

Rally, Visit to Capitol Continues Push for Immigration Reform Vote in House


After seven weeks, more than 18,000 miles and 90+ congressional districts, the "Fast for Families Across America" buses today completed their journey by returning to the National Mall where the Fast for Families movement originally began. The buses were greeted by a rally of hundreds of supporters from the faith, business, labor and immigrant rights communities who continued the call that "America Deserves a Vote on Immigration Reform."

"We have talked to thousands of people across the country and we know that America wants reform," said Eliseo Medina, a Fast for Families leader and former Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). "We will take the thousands of stories we've heard and the demand that has been made by our country to Speaker Boehner. We will continue to pray for him and his Party that they may look deep into their hearts and find the moral courage to do what they know is right and take a vote on immigration reform. It is the right thing to do for immigrants, for our communities, for our economy and for our country."

The rally brought together the "Fast for Families" leaders and the We Belong Together - Women For Commonsense Immigration Reform 48 hour fast being held on the Mall. These two campaigns have been shining a light on the moral and economic crisis created by our broken immigration system and urging members of the House to act this year to pass commonsense immigration reform.

As part of the We Belong Together fast, 100 hundred women from across the country sacrificed food in order to feed the courage of federal leaders to pass comprehensive immigration reform and take executive action to stop deportations. While they fast, the women served up courage through "courage conversations" and filled up a Courage Basket with messages from supporters around the country to encourage elected leaders to act.

"These courageous 100 women are demonstrating the kind of courage that House leadership needs to bring a humane immigration reform bill to the floor, and that the Executive branch needs in order to stop deportations," said Pramila Jayapal, Chair of We Belong Together, a co-sponsor of the Women's Fast for Families. "Women bear the brunt of the broken immigration system and they are tired to of seeing their families torn apart and the country that they love being less than it should be."

Last week, "Fast for Families" went without food in Richmond for four days to call on Congressman Eric Cantor to deliver a vote on immigration reform. They ended their fast and handed the charge over to a small delegation of women, representing the more than a hundred women who fast for 48 hours in the National Mall. In more than 100 cities, "Fast for Families" actions reignited the call for a vote on immigration reform, joined by thousands who fasted in solidarity including 30 teachers in Nevada and 30 advocates in Herndon, VA who camped outside of Congressman Frank Wolf's office.

NAKASEC's DJ Yoon, who road on the bus across the northern part of the country and met with many communities across 29 states, added, "Asian American communities are working together - Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese Americans - we are fighting for immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship and puts families first. Our families cannot wait any longer. We need to put an end to the suffering of family separation now."

"Together we stand in solidarity and unity after thousands have joined us to fast throughout the country. We break this now six-day fast together, with the prayer that it truly will break the yoke of oppression, and that our decision makers and House leadership will bring immigration reform to a vote," said Reverend John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service.

In addition to today's rally, activists delivered a letter and petitions with 20,000 signatures to Speaker Boehner's office that urge him to give America a vote on commonsense immigration reform.

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.