On March 24, we got a visit from the Fast for Families Across America tour bus. In 2013, this group fasted on the National Mall in Washington D.C. for more than 20 days to urge Congress to act for comprehensive immigration reform. Now, they are traveling state to state meeting with congresspeople and rallying with local immigration activists. During their time in Central Florida, the group stopped by Hope CommUnity Center and spent an afternoon with us.
Two of the Fast for Families activists, Eliseo Medina and Cristian Avila, shared stories that reminded our community why our work for immigration reform is so important. Eliseo spoke passionately about the sacrifices that undocumented people must make to cross the U.S. border. In one somber part of his speech, he reminded us that many immigrants pursuing a better life actually end up making the ultimate sacrifice: losing their lives.
Cristian, a DREAMer and a DACA recipient, shared how his personal situation keeps him motivated to work for immigration reform. In a story that mirrored the lives of many of our youth, he explained that he struggled with anger about his “undocumented” status, but then he found ways to channel his frustration, such as activism with Fast for Families and Mi Familia Vota.
His story was really a good inspiration for everyone, young and old.
Later, in a show of solidarity, we invited Fast for Families to pray and dine with us. We gathered outside on the lawn to pray for victims of the current U.S. immigration situation (those who lost their lives, separated families and others who are suffering). Then, back inside, members of our community mingled with the activists, getting to know each other and sharing stories.
The visit was energizing and motivating experience for the local immigrant community and supporters.