For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2014
Emily Kessel, NAKASEC,email@example.com
Fast for Families Announces 4-day Fast in House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s District
Broad Alliance of Faith, Elected and Immigrant Rights Leaders Prepare to Welcome Buses in Virginia as Advocates Pitch Tents in Cantor’s Backyard
WASHINGTON, DC – As the “Fast for Families Across America” national bus tour enters its sixth week, leaders Eliseo Medina (SEIU) and Dae Joong (DJ) Yoon (NAKASEC) joined Virginia faith leaders and fasters from around the country today to share stories from the road and announce a four-day fast at the center of Congressman Eric Cantor’s district in Richmond, Virginia.
“Fast for Families” will pitch tents in Richmond from Thursday, April 3rd through Monday April 7th, as they did on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. during the month-long fast late last year. The two buses on the 14k mile, 75+ Congressional District tour will come together for the first time since launching in Los Angeles on February 24th. As the buses prepare to enter Virginia, riders joined with constituents and local faith and immigrant rights advocates today to urge the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and the entire Virginia congressional delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives to bring immigration reform with a path to citizenship and in support of family unity to a vote in 2014.
A number of events are planned during the four-day fast in Richmond, including the transfer of the fast to over one hundred women who will be fasting in Washington, D.C.
“After six weeks on the road, we are bringing stories of hope and promise to Virginia, home of the two most powerful leaders in Congress,” said SEIU’s Eliseo Medina. “Beginning tomorrow, we’ll join our allies for a water-only fast in Rep. Cantor’s district to connect with the suffering of immigrants. We hope we can touch the hearts of both Reps. Cantor and Goodlatte. It is their moral duty to help the immigrants in this country. We will be praying for them, and we will ask people throughout the country to pray with us to give them the strength to act in the public interest. It is no longer a question of if there will be immigration reform, but when.”
“It’s been a very emotional and very inspiring six weeks,” said NAKASEC’s DJ Yoon. “This is something that affects every person, from citizens to non-citizens, children to adults. Every community is suffering. And at the same time, our community is more united than ever. House leadership has a very clear choice: Do they want to demonstrate leadership and be on the right side of history? Or do they lack leadership and will they go against what the vast majority of what the American people demand?”
“As a teacher, the stories of many of my students have broken my heart, and I feel I need to use my voice to speak out for immigration reform,” said Jonas Linde, who joined the call from Las Vegas, Nevada. “I’m one of 30 Las Vegas-area teachers who have decided to join the fast. I’m a republican, and a person of faith. Despite how complicated immigration reform may be, there’s a strong moral argument that kids need a chance to achieve their dreams.”
“There’s strong and solid support for immigration reform, and fasting is a little something we can do as a reminder of the suffering that children and families are going through on a daily basis,” said Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia. “For me, especially as a Catholic, our church talks about hope, faith and love. I can’t think of a better time to show solidarity during Lent. People can search their being, their soul, their faith, and think about what immigration reform would do for our country. I call on all members of faith, and legislators across the country to do the right thing for the nation and get on board with immigration reform, because it is a moral issue.”
Herndon Town Council Member, Grace Han Wolf said, “I am supporting Fast for Families today to call on Congress to act on immigration reform and keep families together. As the first elected Korean American woman in the Commonwealth of Virginia, I call on all Americans and Korean Americans to join me today to fast in solidarity with Fast for Families and to call on all of our elected officials to ask them to move forward with immigration reform so families can stay together or be united. In the US, over 40 percent of backlogged family visas are from Asian countries and families have been separated for years. We need to fix our broken system to put families first.” Before tuning into the call, Wolf announced her support for Fast for Families as a Korean American woman during a media event in Annandale, Virginia.
Following the four-day, water-only fast in Richmond, the buses will continue on until the final stop on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on April 9th.
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” leader DJ Yoon (NAKASEC) is traveling on the northern route with Susana Sandoval (Fast for Families) who joined after Rudy Lopez (Fair Immigration Reform Movement), while leaders Eliseo Medina (Fast for Families) and Cristian Avila (Mi Familia Vota) are traveling 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 (Fast for Families), 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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For photos of the “Fast For Families Across America” tour, see www.flickr.com/fast4families
Watch a recap of the national tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI12Jwwfnb4
View pictures of “Fast for Families” stops.
Visit www.fast4families.org for more information and follow us on twitter @nakasec @djnakasec @Fast4Families #fast4families #TimeisNow
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).