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Guest Voz: Fasts Across the Country for Immigration Reform: Will You Join Us?

By Elisa Batista

Considering that three-quarters of immigrants to the United States are women and children, more than 1,200 women from 70 organizations are fasting in 35 states for immigration reform that keeps families together and treats women fairly.

The month of fasting will culminate April 7-9th when 100 women will fast in DC for 48 hours. is sharing stories by the fasters.

Please show your support by signing a MoveOn petition urging Speaker Boehner to meet with these courageous women!

Below are a few testimonials by women in North Carolina, California, Missouri and D.C. on why they partook in the fast this month.

Dani Moore, North Carolina, “I am fasting as a mother, a granddaughter, and a North Carolina activist”

“I cannot imagine what it would be like to face years of separation from my 11-year-old son. To have missed his first words, or his first day of Kindergarten. I know it is a privilege to be able to live with him every day, with a roof over our head, clean clothes, plenty to eat, and to be able to watch him grow and build our lives together. There are too many families that I know in North Carolina who don’t have this opportunity.”

Erin Oshiro, Washington, D.C., “I am fasting to repair a broken immigration system that ignores the ties of family and love”

“I’m fasting as a woman, a mom, and as the great-granddaughter of Japanese, Irish and Italian immigrants. The majority of immigrants in the U.S. are women and children. Neither they nor their loved ones ensnared in the family-visa backlogs can wait another day for Congress to reform our broken immigration system. I’m fasting for the millions of families separated by red tape, bureaucracy and unrelenting enforcement that ignores the ties of family and love. I’m also fasting to honor my mom and all the women in my family who made me the person I am today.”

Lupe Rodriguez, California, “I am fasting for compassion towards immigrant families”

“As a first-generation immigrant who came to the US from Mexico as a 3-year-old, I know firsthand what it is like to have the dream of a better life in the US. My father had come to the US before us to work in the fields, but it wasn’t until we found that my brother had a condition that impeded him from walking, that the rest of my family decided to come to the US as well. Without a proper diagnosis for his condition, and with hopes of getting him the care he needed, we came to stay with relatives who already lived in San Jose, CA. After accessing medical services that helped us figure out that my brother had the degenerative condition, we knew we would not be able to have a life in Mexico. My family was lucky enough to benefit from the amnesty policies.”

Jennifer Bernstein, Missouri, “I will fast a mother of a four-year-old son”

“Stories such as my nana’s are why members of the Jewish community have always been so passionate about immigration issues. As Mick Jones of the Clash and Big Audio Dynamite wrote in the song “Beyond the Pale,” (probably the most compelling pro-immigration song I am aware of), a song about his Jewish grandparents’ journey to a better life in the UK, “but for accidents of disorder, that guy could well be me.” Today’s undocumented immigrants could be all of us. I know not to presume that my fasting will make a giant impact on immigrant rights, but perhaps it will spur me to take a bigger stand for people whose voices are not yet heard.”

Beth Messersmith, North Carolina, “I am fasting for an immigration reform that strengthens families”

“An immigration policy that makes children afraid of being separated from their parents is not reflective of our shared values as a people. Congress must come together to develop policies that are good for all our families, and recognize the damaging effects of separating American children from their parents or forcing them to start over in a country that is not their own.”

Victoria Rumsey, Washington, D.C., “I will fast for those who do not have the capacity to speak for themselves”

“I am the primary caretaker for my mother, who battles cancer each day. There are undocumented individuals out there who are the primary caretakers of their families, and they should be allowed to continue taking care of their families. I’m living the American Dream. And everyone should have access to the American Dream.”

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