By Elianne Ramos AKA @ergeekgoddess
As far as immigration stories go, my personal one could be considered commonplace, perhaps even a bit boring: Almost forty years ago, my parents decided that the life they had built back in my native Dominican Republic did not match the ideals they had for their three young daughters. Leaving all behind, they packed up a few possessions, their hopes and aspirations for our future in a couple of suitcases. Lucky for them, they were given the legal right to make an honorable living in America. Yet, millions of families today are not as lucky. For them , the piece of paper providing ‘validation’ of their God-given ‘human being’ status in this country, has not yet arrived.
This is precisely why I’m joining the Women’s Fast for Families. For the next couple of days, from April 7-9, 2014, one hundred members from women’s, immigrant rights, faith, labor and community organizations, each from a different background and from a different part of the country – are fasting together, in an event organized by We Belong Together. Over the past few months, more than 1,500 women in more than 35 states have participated in short-term fasts to demand that our elected officials take action to end to the suffering caused by deportations and to achieve just and humane immigration reform.
As far as protest tactics go, fasts are not a new thing. They have been part of the arsenal of social justice fighters for centuries, as exemplified by Cesar Chavez, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Our fast, although a lot more modest in scope, is being carried out with that same spirit, and for a cause with just as much social immediacy. As women, we are disproportionately affected by deportations, harsh enforcement measures, the separation from our children and spouses and inadequate, antiquated visa system that fails to take into account our critical work as informal health care providers and domestic workers.
As the mothers, daughters, sisters, partners and leaders of immigrant communities, we women have and continue to contribute to the growth and wellbeing of this country as workers, entrepreneurs and job creators. We cannot and will not stop until our elected officials do what is right for immigrant families once and for all. Our hearts are heavy from watching how millions are being deported, their children placed in foster care limbo, their hopes for a decent life for their families crushed. And we’re not going to take it anymore.
For the next couple of days and for as long as it takes, we will be pressuring Congress to sign on to a comprehensive immigration bill that is fair to women and families, and that will include a pathway to citizenship. We are tired of their lack of action. We will also continue to pressure President Obama to end the suffering caused by heartless deportations, because, as he often says, it is the right thing to do.
I dedicate my fast to my parents and to the millions who, like them, have arrived in this country with their dreams all packed up in a little suitcase, in search of a better life for their families. I urge you to follow us as we embark in this journey that is as much personal as it is political, and to pray that our actions of the next couple of days soften the hearts of our legislators for a prompt resolution to the immigration crisis. Así sea.
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