For Immediate Release
December 3, 2013
Contact: Emily Kessel, email@example.com, 651-399-9016
Momentum Grows as Immigration Reform Fasts Expand
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After fasting in the shadows of the Capitol for 22 days since November 12th, today, Dae Joong Yoon, Executive Director of National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC), passed on the torch to Reverend Eun-sang Lee, a Methodist minister from Utah to continue the “Fast for Families” and to bring light to the human tragedies and moral crisis resulting from a broken immigration system.
At a ceremony, standing alongside fellow core fasters Eliseo Medina (SEIU) and Cristian Avila (Mi Familia Vota), Yoon stated that “our community has demonstrated and upheld a high moral power and family values through fast and prayer. Our movement does not abide by a calendar and deadlines set by Congress. We will continue and each day we become stronger. We have faith more American sisters and brother will join us. We’ll make sure our lawmakers listen to the people’s voice and make them accountable in the coming months.” Yoon was escorted by Dolores Huerta (Co-founder of United Farm Workers) to the podium that was also shared by prominent faith leaders and activists including Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Father Jacek Ozechowski, and Rev. Al Sharpton.
As a new faster, Reverend Lee expressed, “Abiding by my faith, I believe that we are to love thy neighbor. We must respect all people as children of the creator. There is no illegal human being. The ‘Fast for Families’ have invigorated me and I am humbled to have Dae Joong Yoon transfer his fast to me.” Other new fasters include Reverend Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Philip Agnew of Dream Defenders, Stephan Bauman, President and CEO of World Relief, Ciara Taylor of Dream Defenders , Reverend Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, and Representative Joe Kennedy.
The ceremony was a culminating event of national action of fast and prayers that occurred from December 1 – 3 which NAKASEC led to amplify the voices and actions of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Over the three day period, about 500 AAPI community members fasted and multi-ethnic religious and community organizations from 19 different states (Hawaii, South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Maryland, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Oregon, Ohio, Washington, Utah) held solidarity fasts and prayers.
In Chicago, NAKASEC affiliate, the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC) led a 24-hour fast with about 100 people participating. “It was an inspiring day. We experienced a small amount of hardship compared to the 22 days that those in DC have been enduring. We should remember their moving acts of moral consciousness and push forward” said Sik Sohn, executive director of KRCC.
“Fasting is a moral act, a sacrifice that calls to attention the stark immorality of our current broken immigration system,” said Hee Joo Yoon, executive director of the Korean Resource Center, the Los Angeles affiliate of NAKASEC, which also organized a solidarity fast with other organizations about 40 community members. “We are working together locally and nationally through fast and prayer, until the bonds of families are no longer broken, until citizenship is possible for eleven million deserving immigrants and their families, and until immigration reform is no longer a notion, but a reality.”
The “Fast for Families” has captured the attention of everyday Americans as well as labor, religious, political and civil rights leaders, including President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Gloria Steinem who recently visited the faster’s tent. Thousands of advocates and organizations around the country, such as the National Education Association (NEA), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Center for Community Change (CCC), and NCAPA Asian American and Pacific Islander Immigration Table have also joined the fasters in support.
The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) was founded in 1994 by local community centers to project a progressive voice and promote the full participation of Korean Americans on major social justice issues. NAKASEC maintains offices in Annandale, Virginia and Los Angeles, California. NAKASEC has affiliates in Chicago (Korean American Resource & Cultural Center) and Los Angeles (Korean Resource Center).