March, 4 2014
Emily Kessel, NAKASEC, firstname.lastname@example.org,
“Fast for Families Across America” Meets with Emerging Immigrant Communities in Mesa, Arizona and Bend, Oregon
Washington DC – Today, the Fast for Families Across America Tour covered three cities in Arizona and entered Bend, Oregon with the southern bus visiting Glendale, Phoenix and Gilbert and the northern bus stopping in Bend, Oregon.
The northern route woke up in Bend, Oregon to a teleconference with Asian American & Pacific Islander leaders from nine states, transitioned into a conversation-based community luncheon at Hola Restaurant, and ended with an evening community meeting at the First Presbyterian Church.
Over 50 community members came together to listen to Fast for Families leaders, Dae Joong (DJ) Yoon (NAKASEC) and Rudy Lopez (FIRM), and several community members from Causa, Oregon’s immigrant rights organization. One speaker, Vanessa, shared a powerful gift that she received after graduating from Concordia College in Oregon at the end of December. She was granted DACA.
Paolo Esteban from the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) provided insight into APANO’s work with Portland’s AAPI community. He raised attention to the needs of the Micronesian community, who have become displaced because of the U.S. nuclear testing in the Micronesian islands and are living in a state of limbo without health care coverage.
Antonia, a community member who was born in Mexico and now lives in Redmond, Oregon, shared her story and her desire for immigration that would put an end to the day-to-day fear that her family may get deported. She herself is legally living in U.S. as a DACA recipient but her parents and her autistic brother are living in the shadows.
Yesterday, in Mesa, Arizona, at the Queen of Peace Church, Inhe Choi (NAKASEC) spoke about how immigration is impacting Korean and AAPI communities. She raised attention to the 1.5 million AAPIs, 1 out of 7 Korean Americans who are undocumented, and the fact that about 100,000 DREAMers are AAPI. She emphasized that we are all in the fight for immigration reform and that NAKASEC and AAPI communities are committed to working with Latino and broader communities to improve lives of immigrants.
Community members also shared their moving stories of the pain and suffering inflicted on their families due to detention and deportation. Stories included a mother, who has been fighting for the past three months to get her daughter out of the detention center; and a husband, who has been raising his family alone because his wife has been deported. About 20 solidarity fasters, who fasted in solidarity with the Fast for Families in November and December 2013 pledged to join the Wednesday fasts and continue to participate in Fast for Families Across America.
On January 27, 2014, Fast for Families Across America launched its second phase with plans to visit over 100 Congressional districts in all. For one month, fly-ins was organized to reach over 25 key Congressional members. On February 24, 2014, the campaign kicked off its two-bus nationwide tour in Los Angeles. “Fast for Families” leaders DJ Yoon (NAKASEC) and Rudy Lopez (Fair Immigration Reform Movement) will travel on the northern route while leaders Eliseo Medina (SEIU) and Cristian Avila (Mi Familia Vota) will travel on the southern route for the entirety of the tour. Stopping at more than 75 districts with daily events calling for Congressional action on immigration reform, the two buses will meet in Washington DC in April.
“Fast for Families” reignited the immigration debate last November when Eliseo Medina (SEIU), DJ Yoon (NAKASEC), Rudy Lopez (FIRM) and Cristian Avila (Mi Familia Vota) —abstained from all food, except water for 22 days in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol on the National Mall. The campaign calls for Congressional action for just and humane immigration reform.
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Fast for Families” video can be found here and at
Visit www.fast4families.org for more information.
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).