Posted In: Immigration

NEA staff fast in solidarity with DREAMer students, children & their families

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Image above: Eliseo Medina, in his 15th day of fasting, goes to House Speaker John Boehner’s office

At the time this story was published, at least 19 staff members of the National Education Association were fasting at least one day to show their support for immigration reform for DREAMer students, their families and other aspiring Americans. To learn how you can support the “Fast for Families,” go to www.fast4families.org.

by Rocio Inclan

I am fasting for 24 hours in solidarity with the inspiring and courageous Fast for Families moral leaders, families across the country, and my great NEA family. Together we are fasting in support of comprehensive immigration reform.

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I grew up in Mexico along the Mexico/USA border. With the hope of attaining the American Dream burning fervently in our hearts, our family crossed the border daily to attend schools in the United States.

The steel and concrete border marked the separation of where we came from and where we were going.

Eventually, I became a teacher in Arizona to help others achieve their American dream, and my immigrant students became “my kids.” Their families had risked and sacrificed everything seeking the American dream — for their children, for their loved ones.

I remember the first conversation I had with my second grade kids about immigration. It was a solemn, quiet conversation.  Many shared their family’s struggles, the sacrifices they made, and the fear that was part of their everyday lives. They also shared their American hopes and dreams.

Francisco had listened intently — his eyes were filled with tears. “I have no one, Miss Inclan. If they come for my parents, I have no one else,” he stated.

I told him that he has me and that I will be there for him.

I am fasting for Francisco because I am still here for him. I am fasting for all kids who are living in fear, for their families, and for the educators who are there for all students every day. I fast for a better America— for where we can go as a nation. I fast because there is room in America’s heart for ALL to fulfill our American dreams and make our nation better, stronger.

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Fast4Families cross

by Delia García

I dedicate my fast to my AMAZING students and their families that I’ve worked with over the years and continue to work with today. Just last week I ran into my former student Monica, who was so proud to tell me that she is working for a hospice and wants to be a good role model for her two kids.  We cried out of happiness, but she still is in limbo because of her citizenship status.  She thanked me for the letter of recommendation I gave her to include with her application for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave her the ability to get a two-year workers permit and a driver’s license so she doesn’t have to fear being separated from her children while driving to work.

As Monica shrugged her shoulders and smiled, she told me that she has not lost hope and that she will continue fighting with me for immigration reform.  I have witnessed her determination and am inspired by her passion to keep going no matter what the obstacles.

Monica and others like her remind me of my grandparents’ struggles and stories of their fight to make sure my parents, sisters and I had a better life.  That kind of strength serves as my foundation to continue the present fight for the prosperity of our future.

I join the other fasters who are putting their health on the line to show that comprehensive immigration reform cannot wait, and I am calling on the Republican House leadership to stop delaying and call for a simple vote on comprehensive immigration reform.

I ask all who are willing and able to join me in fasting for one day in solidarity with these courageous leaders. One family separated is one too many.

I send positive energy and pray for the well-being of our fasters in the tent on the mall, and for the courage to address this moral crisis created by a broken immigration system that is separating families and shattering dreams of aspiring Americans who contribute so much to our country we all love.

I am blessed but sad that some of my friends and family are not so blessed to have the same freedoms I do. One of those persons includes my brother-in-law who has served in the U.S. Army and fought for my freedoms as he was deployed for more than a year in Afghanistan.  He deserves to spend the holidays with our family without fear of being separated from us, as others do with their families. Keeping families united is why I am fasting.

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