WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 7, 2014) — Following more than 1,500 women fasting at 80 events across 35 states and Mexico City, converged on Washington, D.C. Monday, to push lawmakers to act on immigration reform and stop deportations with demonstrations and a fasting at the National Mall.
A procession from the National Mall to the Capitol was to demand courage from Federal leaders to move on reform. For the next 48 hours the women sacrificed food and took part in “courage conversations” and filled a “Courage Basket” with messages from fasters and supporters around the country to encourage elected leaders to act, that were delivered to the Capitol after breaking the fast on Wednesday.
Members of Congress including Representatives Lucille Roybal Allard (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), and Linda Sanchez (D-CA) will visited the fasting women at the “Courage Café.” In addition to visits from legislators, supporters nationwide, including actress Rosario Dawson, fasted remotely, and others emailed messages of courage to add to the”Courage Basket.”
Among the special guest speakers was Pramila Jayapal, We Belong Together; Valarie Long, SEIU; Terry O’Neill, NOW; and Mee Moua, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, who spoke on the plight of immigrant woman and the effects of family backlogs and deportation on families.
The fast was a culmination of the Women’s Fast for Families, a month-long series of nationwide 24-hours fasts sponsored by We Belong Together. The Women’s Fast for Families grew from a national women’s summit held in February, where women leaders pledged to continue to highlight immigration reform as a women’s issue and to pushback on inaction on reform as a front of the War on Women.
Leaders in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) met with over 100 women fasting for immigration reform as part of the “Women’s Fast for Families” campaign. CAPAC Members on Tuesday.
“We cannot ignore the women who are fasting to bring a human face to the problems with our broken immigration system,” said U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair. “They show us the suffering of countless families splintered by our failing system. Nearly 70 percent of all women immigrants who have legal status came here through the family immigration system, and right now they face a 4.3 million-person backlog. This burden falls disproportionately on women and children, and fails our ideals as a nation. It’s time to put an end to this national disgrace and bring immigration reform to the finish line.”
U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Chair of the Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform, said
“I’m proud to support the brave immigrant women who are fasting on the National Mall to bring attention to the pain and suffering caused by our broken immigration system. The sacrifices made by these women to come to Washington D.C. speak to the fear they experience everyday of being permanently separated from their children and families. All they are asking is for the Republican Leadership to allow a simple up-or-down vote on immigration reform. Let’s give these courageous women the opportunity to realize the American Dream.”
“U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), said “I stand in solidarity with the women who are fasting in Washington, and I join them in demanding a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. I applaud the sacrifice they’re making in order to keep the light shined on the need to overhaul our nation’s immigration laws. It is well past time to fix our broken immigration system that has hurt too many people for far too long including women, children and families. The time for comprehensive immigration reform must be now.”
U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA-32), said “We thank all these great women as they unite here in DC to continue to bring attention to immigrant women suffering due to the Republican Congress’ failure to bring a comprehensive reform bill to the floor for a vote. All women must unite in the quest for our true American values to be adhered to, ensuring equality and respect for immigrant women and their families.”
U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), said “I’m here today to join these women in saying enough is enough – the American people demand a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. It’s been almost a year since the Senate passed a bipartisan package and too many families are being torn apart or living in fear waiting for the House Republicans to take action now.”