Friday, 29 November 2013

Act! Fast!!

yesterday i had the good honor of having thanksgiving In a tent on the National Mall with Cristian Avila, Eliseo Medina, and Dae Joong Yoon. they have been fasting for 18 days and will not eat until immigration reform make it through the house. i spent about 20 mins with Cristian, and i couldn't stop crying. he is fasting because his father crossed the border illegally years ago. while he was in the US and Cristian was still in mexico, he would send his son stuff. he got a pair of shoes from his dad once, and he wouldn't take them off. they got holes, and he didn't care, he'd fix them. he just wanted to be with near his dad. when he was 9 he moved here illegally. he went to a jesuit school in phoenix (he's a brophy boy) and at some point joined the LDS church. 

he said he never really understood what his father went through until one day saw a documentary. his father won't talk about it, even still. but whatever any of us imagine that journey was, we all know it was horrible. Christan said it woke something up inside of him. that life is to be of giving and sacrifice. if his dad was willing to do that for him, he would do this for the 11 million undocumented people. he is sick of living in fear. he wants to be a marine -- which i told him i would talk him out of for medicine or something-- but it just made me cry. he loves the idea of America.

i've met people all around the world, and everyone has an idea of what America is supposed to be -- and it is a beautiful place. Christan, Eliseo, and Dae believe that we can make the place a reality if we just unite in prayer and fasting and "put our shoulder to the wheel".

its ridiculously humbling! i felt like i was having water with Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela. i felt like i shouldn't be at the table. the room was filled with people who have been living in the shadows, feeling like their were criminals simply because they want to realize the American dream. its nuts.

Cristian asked me to ask all of my friends to fast this Sunday in solidarity with them and to pray to know what you can do to make these dreams reality. I am. I hope you will join me. And if you are in DC, join me on the Mall at 6 on Sunday for a "fast and testimony" meeting. (3rd and Jefferson)
Here is their declaration:

Fast for Citizenship: The Moral Obligation to Pass Immigration Reform (

What is our faith, our words and our history worth if not translated into action, sacrifice and redemption? The world has witnessed the beliefs and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez translate in courageous acts of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to gain justice for a community of people who were underserved and discriminated against. We now humbly attempt to follow the examples of these great teachers and the teachings of Scripture to align our own hearts with the heart of God, who desires justice for immigrants and immediate justice for the 11 million undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters within our borders. Our faith requires nothing less. Today begins our vow to abstain from sustenance.

Where Cesar Chavez ended his 36 day fast for the rights of farm workers in 1988, we continue decades later to sacrifice our own comfort to underscore the moral crisis afflicting workers, children, mothers and fathers, living under an immigration system unwilling to recognize their existence and the legitimacy of their familial ties with integrity and empathy.

We have heard the word “wait” in the past. Dr. King heard it. Chavez heard it. Gandhi heard it. Our communities of immigrants continue to hear it while they bear witness to families divided by deportations, students trapped in limbo bearing the weight of anxiety beyond their years, and workers brutally exploited and relegated to invisibility.

Yet like them, we refuse to dwell on the frustrations of “wait.” We rise with them and declare our moral obligation, grounded in the words of God spoken through the prophets, to move the compassion of elected leadership in the House, and to inspire a resilient movement to cease the deportations, suffering, sorrow and fear and usher a new structure of laws for the good of our country men and women and the sake of our values.

Our voluntary sacrifice represents the urgency, the passion and commitment of a community of all religions, races, and political affiliations, to enact common sense immigration reform this year.

On this day, we begin our journey. We will fast and pray until the bonds of families are no longer broken. We will fast and pray until immigration reform is no longer a notion, but a reality. We will fast and pray until citizenship is no longer a dream for 11 million aspiring Americans.

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