By Elianne Ramos AKA ERGeekGoddess
They came from 36 states from across the United States, from various nationalities, ethnicities, backgrounds. For 48 hours, they chose to sacrifice their daily lives: their jobs, personal needs and loved ones to spend their days in a tent, straining their bodies from vital nourishment, proper rest and indulgences. They prayed, had long discussions on community and policy issues and visited elected officials. Their personal stories were as varied as their reasons for joining the fast — some were there for a family member, some as part of sister volunteer efforts, some because they, themselves, had deportation orders to contend with and no real resources save for their faith. Yet, they all had one thing in common: A die-hard hunger for justice, for dignity, for the respect of all immigrants.
From April 7th to the 9th, 2014, I joined a group of 105 unbelievably courageous modern-day heroines on a 48 hour fast at the National Mall in Washington, DC. Our goal? To feed the courage of elected leaders to pass immigration and stop the human rights crisis caused by deportations tearing millions of families apart. This fast was the culmination of a nationwide initiative led by the organization We Belong Together, on which thousands of “solidarity fasters” across the country gave up eating for several days at a time for the past couple of months.
These hard-working, civic-minded women are living testaments of the immigrant spirit: The engine that, for centuries, has helped to build the very fabric of this country by fueling economic productivity and social progress with their very own blood, sweat, and tears. In response, America has until now decided to turn its back on millions of them, denying them and their families the dignity of proper legal status.
The fact that this issue continues to be largely ignored by elected officials goes against everything for which this country stands. It is, by and large, a very hypocritical stance for the supposed world-leading society, the one that prides itself on being the world’s arbiter of human rights. America, “land of the free”: You should be ashamed! It is time to own up to the mess that is the immigration system and find a just and humane solution that frees 11 million of your inhabitants to build a decent life next to the ones they love!
This fast may now be over, but nuestra lucha continúa (our fight continues!) We, immigrant women and lovers of justice everywhere, WILL NOT STOP until this truly becomes a country in which everyone — regardless of their race, gender, religious preferences, socioeconomic or immigration status — is given the respect human beings deserve.
Support our Fight! ¡Únete a nuestra lucha! Be on the lookout for We Belong Together’s Next Steps here, and join their efforts. In the meantime, read the Fasters’ reasons to join this movement below, and please share your own reasons to fight for immigration in the comments!