Denver, CO – On Monday, immigrant rights leaders in Colorado gathered on the steps of the state capitol to demand immediate immigration reform from Congress. Activists and faith leaders from organizations including Together Colorado, Colorado People’s Alliance, American Friends Service Committee and Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition issued a public declaration of their intention to fast for various periods of time from June 9 to July 4.
They are joining other activists, faith leaders, and ordinary people across the country in incorporating fasting into their daily lives to stand together in solidarity with their immigrant neighbors both here and at the border, and who are in desperate need of relief from deportation or limbo because of their immigration status. The effort is being led at the national level by the We Are Home coalition, a campaign of many organizations throughout the United States devoted to winning fair and just immigration policies.
Among those who spoke at the event on Monday was Laura Peniche, an immigrant, a mother, a DACA recipient, and an activist with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC). She announced her intention to join the national fast beginning on June 9 to fight for, pray for, and draw attention to the need for immediate immigration reform.
“We are all eagerly awaiting for our government to open a path for us to belong, to fully contribute, to become our greatest selves,” said Laura Peniche, “What’s holding back our nation from taking the monumental step to modernize the immigration systems of our country? What will it take for our government to take the important step to create a path, for people who call this country home, to live with freedom, peace and dignity? Many of us can’t afford to wait around to find out. Our very lives are at stake, and everyday that goes by without immigration reform, is a day of high risk for millions of families in this country. “
The fast comes as several important pieces of immigration legislation have been stalled in Congress. The Citizenship for the Essential Workers Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers deemed essential during the ongoing pandemic, received it’s first hearing in Congress on May 12, but has not moved since, while the US Citizenship Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for upwards of 12 million people and bring much needed changes to the entire immigration system, has not moved since it was introduced in the House of Representatives in February.
“It is past time for Congress to pass immigration reform that provides citizenship for all. We have waited decades for legislation, and still we have nothing. The fact that people across the country are intentionally going hungry to draw attention to this issue, demonstrates both the intense desire and desperation that people feel at this moment,” said Erik Garcia, Director of Organizing at the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition,” The answer is simple: pass immigration reform now.”
Register for the fast: People across Colorado are being encouraged to participate in the fast for as long as they feel comfortable doing so, during the timeframe of June 9th – July 4th. The fast can mean skipping a meal or fasting for days, and it could be a fast from food, water, juice, or other substances. The We Are Home coalition is encouraging everyone to follow their own faith and fasting traditions to participate, but the message will be the same: “We are essential, we are fasting for freedom”. Those who are interested in participating in the fast are encouraged to register at: https://bit.ly/COfastforreform