The campaign for immigration reform is escalating, as thousands of immigrants across the country lead marches, hold vigils and participate in peaceful acts of civil disobedience. Leading the charge in NYC, last week 40 Make the Road New York members and staff, joined by the New Sanctuary Coalition and numerous elected officials, participated in a 72-hour fast to protest our broken immigration system and the failure of both political parties to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Read about the fast in the New York Times and NY Daily News, and watch the Spanish video coverage on CNN and Univision.
Each day, fasters and their supporters held press conferences and actions to demonstrate the need for passage of comprehensive immigration reform. Youth members also voiced the urgent need for passage of the DREAM Act to allow low-income immigrant students the opportunity to go to college. Watch MRNY youth leaders Adilka Pimental and Francisco Curiel on NY 1.
In the footsteps of labor and immigrant leader Cesar Chavez, MRNY members used the fast as an opportunity for reflection, prayer and to strengthen their personal commitment to justice for immigrants.
At the fast headquarters in Judson Memorial Church, fasters and visitors shared their experiences with the broken immigration system. They spoke of the pain of not being able to raise their kids, say a last goodbye to their parents before they died, or live with the people they love. Workers spoke of humiliating exploitation in the workplace, and young people shared their determination to go to college, despite lack of access to financial aid.
Adela Valdez, a leader of MRNY’s Workplace Justice Project, spoke of her personal commitment: "We are not hungry for food, we are hungry for justice. I am not doing anyone a favor by not eating. I am reminding myself that I am a warrior for justice. That’s why I am here."
We thank the New Sanctuary Coalition and New York City Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras, Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez, who fasted with us, as well as Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Councilmembers Daniel Dromm and Melissa Mark-Viverito for their presence and support.
We will continue to push forward for just immigration policy that respects human dignity and the vast contribution of immigrants to our country.