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Immigration Activists Fast For Reform On National Mall

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Organizers announced the Fast for Families in their white tent on the National Mall Tuesday.
Armando Trull/WAMU
Organizers announced the Fast for Families in their white tent on the National Mall Tuesday.

Immigrant rights activists say they have begun a fast that they hope will bring attention to stalled immigration reform legislation in Congress.

They refuse to call it a hunger strike, saying that term is political, and what they are doing is a powerful moral and religious act. The "Fast4Families" is being organized by pro-immigrant rights, faith, labor, and community groups.

The centerpiece of the push is a white tent on the National Mall, where five men and women, Latino, Asian, White and Black, have begun to pray and fast on behalf of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country and for legislation that ensures a path to citizenship.

Eliseo Medina, a local union activist, is one of the fasters.

"I know I am going to be hungry and it's going to be painful," he says. "But there is a deeper hunger within me, to see this broken immigration system finally fixed. Hunger to see families stay together, to have the opportunity to be able to realize the American Dream." 

Organizers are calling on like-minded individuals to join the pray and fast, if only for a day, as a way to show solidarity.

Participating groups include Alliance for Citizenship, Church World Service, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Faith in Public Life, Franciscan Action Network, National Council of Jewish Women, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, PICO National Network, the Service Employees International Union, Sojourners, and dozens of other groups.

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