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NationalPress Release

RELEASE: Fasters and Immigrant Rights Activists Mark Passing of Fasts Across the Nation

By December 16, 2013 No Comments

For Immediate Release

December 16, 2013

Contact:
Emily A Kessel
, NAKASEC, eakessel@nakasec.org
Hey Kyung Eum, KRCC,  heyeum@chicagokrcc.org

Fasters and Immigrant Rights Activists Mark Passing of Fasts Across the Nation

Nationwide Fasts Uphold the Moral Strength and Conviction of A Movement


Washington, D.C. — On the 31st day of the “Fast for Families” a group of fasters stood in front of the U.S. Capitol to be blessed, receive communion, and spread the fast across the nation. Led by a multi-denominational clergy and several members of the House of Representatives, the Core Fasters were joined by over a 1,000 supporters in a procession across the US Capitol Triangle. The seven “core fasters” who fasted until their bodies were no longer able to shared their stories and were blessed by clergy in a ceremonial “passing of the fast” to the nation. These fasters were Dae Joong “DJ” Yoon executive director of NAKASEC, Eliseo Medina, national labor leader with Service Employees International Union, Cristian Avila of Mi Familia Vota, Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojurners, Rudy Lopez of the Center for Community Change, and Reverend Jim Wallis of Sojourners

DJ Yoon fasted for 22 days and said: “We are a nation that has always integrated generations of immigrants into our democracy. In the 22 days that we fasted, we saw so many people come together. We saw young people take up the fast alongside members of Congress. We are in this together, and Fast for Families is entering a new nationwide phase. We will show our strength and resilience as a movement.”

Sik Son, executive director of Korean American Resource and Cultural Center in Chicago, said: “We fasted not to lay down an ultimatum but to call attention to the moral urgency of reform — the urgency of keeping families together and bringing hope to our immigrant communities. Communities across the nation fasted in solidarity with DJ, Eliseo, Cristian, Rudy, and Reverend Wallis.”

Simon, an 18 year old student leader from Los Angeles, said, “I came to DC to join the fast because I don’t want myself or anyone in America to live in fear of being separated from their families. Although I was hungry, I felt stronger because there is a national movement behind our cause.” The fast drew national and international attention as tens of thousands fasted in solidarity in the past month, and tens of thousands more have committed to fast in the upcoming weeks, including the leaders of over 1,000 Korean evangelical congregations.

Eliseo Medina told the crowd of over 1,000 supporters: “Today my heart is full of love and gratitude towards the American people. We began this fast to call attention to the moral crises caused by our broken immigration system every day that Speaker John Boehner refuses to allow a House vote on immigration reform. We began this fast not out of anger or despair but out of faith, hope and love. Faith that the American people will help establish an immigration system worthy of us. Hope that we could touch the heart of Speaker Boehner to act and end this needless suffering by allowing a vote on immigration reform. Today, our faith is renewed.”

Hee Joo Yoon, executive director of Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles, said, “This fast has brought renewed vigor to the campaign to enact immigration reform. It is a shame that when DJ Yoon and other fasters invited Speaker Boehner to join the fasters in a tent outside the Capitol, he refused to speak with them. And others, such as Congressmember John Campbell of Irvine would not even meet constituents sacrificing their health outside his office doors. But we are not deterred. It is also important for the Asian American community to continue to call the Speaker and members of Congress, and to take up the fast and show with our sacrifices the moral clarity of our position on immigration reform.”

The fast was broken by a blessing from Dr. Barbara Skinner and other multi-denominational clergy. Afterwards, the fasters joined over 1,000 supporters in a ceremonial feast outside of the capitol to affirm the strength and determination of the immigration reform movement. The breaking of the core fast in Washington, D.C. marks the beginning of a nationwide fasting campaign to reach deeply and touch the hearts and minds of members of Congress with prayer, sacrifice, and civic engagement.

Full Lineup of Speakers and Core Fasters:

  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
  • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
  • Eliseo Medina, former International Secretary-Treasurer, SEIU
  • Rudy Lopez, National Field Director, Center for Community Change
  • Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners
  • Dae Joong Yoon, Executive Director, NAKASEC
  • Cristian Avila, Mi Familia Vota
  • Lisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners
  • Bishop Angel Marcial, PICO National Network
  • Rev. Anthony Suarez, National Hispanic Evangelical

For Press Inquiries: Emily A Kessel, NAKASEC, eakessel@nakasec.org for English; Hey Kyung Eum, KRCC,  heyeum@chicagokrcc.org for Korean

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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).