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Gamaliel Leaders Gather for National, Cross-Country Fast for Immigration Reform

Posted by: Gordon on 4/1/2014

Asamblea de Derechos Civiles leaders from Minnesota were among the Gamaliel affiliates from 11 states -- for the country's 11 million undocumented -- who joined more than 1,500 women of We Belong Together to fast for 24 hours and welcomed the Fast4Families bus tour in cities and towns across the country to continue calling attention to immigration reform

Gamaliel chapters , including North Bay Organizing Project in California, to the Indiana Organizing Project, and Asamblea de Derechos Civiles de Minnesota, led a 24-hour Lenten fast, in solidarity with the We Belong Together Women’s Fast for Families.

Leaders from Michigan's Action of Greater Lansing and Faith Coalition for the Common Good in Springfield, Ill. fasted and also welcomed the Fast4Families bus tour in their cities. In Lansing they welcomed the bus at a local church, then met with staff from the office of U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Howell. They made a weekend of the event by hosting a premiere of the new Cesar Chavez movie the following Sunday. Both pieces garnered attention in the Lansing State Journal.

ESTHER, Metropolitan Congregations United, United Congregations of the Metro East, Racine Interfaith Coalition, Hawaii Coalition for Immigration Reform, and Quad Cities Interfaith all held fasts as well.

This series of 24-hour fasts served as a space for chapters to reflect and act on the work for immigration reform.

At Metro Organization for Racial & Economic Equity (MORE2), women gathered for a 24-hour fast on March 24. The most memorable moment for Angela Ferguson was the voice of a young 12-year old boy, who has only ever known his father over the phone since ICE deported the father to Jamaica. This young boy, she said, dreams of becoming an engineer so that he can build a bridge between him and his father. At the same time, this young man is starting to realize the oppression caused by our immigration system and he has begun losing hope. MORE2’ 24-hour fast gathered representatives from 8 congregations, a total of 12 fasters, despite snow.

Leaders and members of Asamblea de Derechos Civiles de Minnesota gathered on March 22nd-23rd in Minneapolis and St. Cloud, Minnesota for a prayer vigil, actions, and documentary showing and discussion. They took time to reflect on the work of the leaders for justice that have come before, like Nelson Mandela and Cesar Chavez, and discuss the work that must come next, if we are to achieve justice for all immigrants.

Gamaliel’s rolling fast brought together leaders from 11 states, in conjunction and solidarity with We Belong Together, as all worked to draw attention to the injustice and oppression caused by the current immigration system. Gamaliel leaders fasted in a call for a just and comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, that would keep families together and end the deportations.

Fast activities varied from state-to-state but included prayer vigils, opening and closing ceremonies, actions (including calls to congress), spaces for reflection, and press conferences and events.

The month-long fast ends on April 7-9th. Gamaliel’s Ana Garcia-Ashley will join 99 other women in Washington, D.C. for a 4-8hour fast. This fast will follow an April 5th national day of action to end deportations.

In total, 70 organizations in 35 states participated in the We Belong Together fast.

--Cirien Saadeh, media and communications coordinator
at Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, contributed this post


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