On the early afternoon of March 19, posters with phrases such as “2 Million 2 Many, Ya Basta: Stop Deportations” were waving in the stands of the Chicago Temple as Fast for Families leaders rallied for immigration reform. This was just one stop on a national tour that kicked off on Jan. 27, in response to the two million immigrant deportations that have occurred under the Obama administration.
Leaders of Fast for Families, Rudy Lopez of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) and Dae Joong Yoon of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) spoke to remind the audience of their own 22-day fast at the White House last November and the importance of fasting, acting and praying to enact change.
“This isn’t a hunger strike. A fast is something you give, a sacrifice to the issue or cause we are trying to lift up,” said Lopez.
The rally didn’t just hold Republicans such as U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL 6th District) accountable—they also blamed the Obama administration.
“Today, 1,100 people were deported. It’s time for relief, not review,” said Lawrence Benito, CEO of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Cook County Commissioner, Jesus Garcia, said he was personally “embarrassed” by Obama’s deportation record.
The rally included personal testimonies by Graciela Vergara and Nayelly Sandoval on how current deportation policy can separate families. “We have a simple but powerful common cause—keeping our families together,” said Yoon.
Both Yoon and Lopez expressed plans to fast every Wednesday until immigration reform is passed, and encouraged others to do the same.
“We’re going to continue to fast for justice, until we feast on immigration reform for all,” said Lopez.
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