WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 13, 2013) — The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) on Friday announced that CAPAC Members are fasting in support of the Fast for Families campaign.
Since November, faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders from across the nation started the Fast for Families campaign to urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Four advocates – Dae Joong Yoon, Eliseo Medina, Christian Avila, and Lisa Sharon Harper – fasted for 22 consecutive days, consuming nothing but water. They inspired many supporters to join the fast, including Members of Congress and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) advocates.
CAPAC Members who participated in the fast include: Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA), Congressman Al Green (D-TX), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA).
AAPI advocates also played a crucial role in the Fast for Families campaign. The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) mobilized over 250 solidarity fasters and hundreds more were mobilized by Korean American churches across the country. In addition, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) committed 31 AAPI women to fast for every day of December. AAPI community leaders and organizations also coordinated community vigils and participated in solidarity fasts to highlight these efforts.
Members of CAPAC released the following statements:
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:
“I commend the fasters on their courageous fight to keep families together. Their efforts touched the conscience of our nation. I was humbled to fast in solidarity with them for 24 hours, and I can only imagine what advocates like DJ Yoon endured as they went without food for 22 days. When men and women place their health on the line to draw attention to injustice, it is clear something must be done. It is time for immigration reform that reflects the needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and all other immigrant communities that contribute to the diversity and prosperity of our nation.”
Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Immigration Taskforce Co-Chair:
“I stand in solidarity with the fasters who are bringing attention to the immigration crisis facing this country. We must fix our broken system, and I am proud the fasters have increased visibility on the comprehensive reform movement. Their sacrifice and courage is admirable, and I call upon Speaker Boehner to bring the bipartisan immigration bill to a vote.”
Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Whip:
“Every day that Speaker Boehner refuses to bring immigration reform to the House Floor, our broken immigration system tears apart more families. Like many immigrants, my grandfather came to America to seek opportunity. However, upon arrival, he faced unjust laws that prevented him from becoming a citizen, owning property, or marrying the woman he loved. Recalling the struggle of my grandfather, I was moved to stand in solidarity for fair immigration policies with the Fast for Families. We’ve made remarkable progress since my grandfather immigrated nearly a century ago, but there is more we must do to ensure justice for all. Families across the country stand united and call on Speaker Boehner for a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.”
Congressman Joseph Crowley (NY-14), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus:
“For over 30 days, brave advocates and faith leaders have fasted to demonstrate their commitment to fixing our nation’s broken immigration system. These advocates have spoken with their voices and their hearts, and now they are speaking with every fiber of their body. I’m proud to stand in solidarity with the fasters and I hope that their actions, and the outpouring of support they are receiving, will make my Republican colleagues realize that the call for immigration reform isn’t going away.”
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08):
“I am truly inspired by the efforts of those who are sacrificing for immigration reform. These activists understand both the importance and urgency of this issue for our economy, for our families and for our country. They are willing to risk their own well-being for this crucial issue and I am proud to stand with them. We must pass comprehensive immigration reform that is practical, fair and humane. We need a long-term plan that will secure our borders, include a responsible path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals and reunite families. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office determined that comprehensive immigration reform will reduce our national debt by $1 trillion over 20 years and I know that it will be a significant boost for our economy. The Senate has already passed comprehensive immigration reform and it is time that Speaker Boehner bring immigration reform to a vote in the House.”
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02):
“I was proud to stand in solidarity with these courageous immigration reform leaders by fasting with them recently to highlight the urgent need for immigration reform. Our immigration system is clearly broken and our families deserve better. There is no reason not to work together towards passing legislation right now. Reform is crucial for our families, small businesses, and our economy.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13):
“I’m honored to be joining Fast for Families in this solidarity fast. I recognize, like many people of faith, that fasting is a powerful tool of protest, of political dissent, and of personal sacrifice. I have fasted in the past and find it to be a time of deep reflection and introspection, and I am humbled to join hands with community leaders, faith leaders, and advocacy groups across the nation calling on Speaker Boehner to bring an immigration bill to the floor.”
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14):
“Speaker Boehner said he wants to take a step-by-step approach on immigration reform but he and House Republicans haven’t taken any steps at all on solving what the Speaker describes as an ‘important subject.’ Congress will adjourn today without taking any action and millions of immigrants will continue to live in fear of being deported and ripped apart from their families. If the subject is so important to House Republicans then they have to be willing to at least bring it up. Immigration reform must be addressed immediately in the new year and the House GOP needs to take the first step.”
Congressman Al Green (TX-09):
“Fasting for 24 hours is something I gladly did to raise awareness about the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. Allowing certain communities to continue to exist in this climate of consistent uncertainty about their status in our nation is exceedingly unacceptable and grossly unconscionable.”
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Currently chaired by U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.