Thursday, April 17, 2014

D.C. Hunger Striker (and UA Student) on the Strike and Missing Her Mother

Posted By on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Immigration reform activists Naira Zapata and Jose Valdez and UA student Cynthia Diaz were part of the first round of Washington, DC hunger strikers calling to end deportations and for immigration reform. They're part of the strike ended last weekend after fasting for five days, no food and drinking only water. However, the DRM Action Coalition and the National Day Labor Organizing Network announced today that the strike continues with new activists fasting in front of the White House.

From Diaz via MSN:

That’s why I came to Washington, DC with other families whose loved ones are in detention and seek their freedom, here in the United States. We began a hunger strike in front of the White House on April 5, sitting virtually on President Obama’s front steps to call for the president to take executive action, and to make our private suffering public. It’s sad to think that immigrant lives might matter so little that we have to endanger our health for people to recognize the problem.

Each night that I went to sleep here in front of the White House, I heard those same words we were told when we met a lawyer for the first time: you’re too old to need your mother. I wonder, as the president and First Lady Michelle Obama look in on their own kids—who are nearly the same age as my brother and I were when ICE raided our home—if they could ever imagine someone telling them they, as parents, aren’t needed any more. If it wasn’t clear enough to the courts, to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, or to the White House.

I’m like any other daughter. I need my mom. She’s a brave woman, and she deserves to be released to reunite with our family.

Want to help with the strike? National Day Labor Organizing Network's just released a list of five ideas to get you started:

1. Volunteer shifts: We are asking volunteers to support the hunger strikers by joining them at the White House (at Lafayette Park) in three hour shifts. Volunteers will keep the hunger strikers company, help ensure their needs are met, demonstrate solidarity, deal with passers-by when necessary, and help out with set up and clean up of the site. If you or your organization can take a shift or an entire day(s), that would be incredibly helpful.
Besides your time, we also need space near the White House, food, meal donations, and materials to continue the hunger-strike so please check out the link here and let us know if you can help us with anything.

2. E-action: The hunger strikers have family members who are detained and facing deportation. Sign the petition to ask the White House to meet with the hunger strikers and stop the deportations of their loved ones here.

3. Join in the events at the White House: If you are in the area, join us for a prayer vigil, happy hour, taller de son jarocho Cosita Seria, or congressional briefings. Check out our calendar of events to get involved.

4. Donations: You can contribute by hitting the donation button above or on this online donation page to help support the hunger strikers and cover logistical costs associated with the action.

5. Read and share the Not One More Blue Ribbon Commission report: Last week, a Blue Ribbon Commission of current and formerly undocumented leaders formed as an independent and parallel body to make recommendations for immediate implementation by the President as he instructs DHS to perform its own review of deportation policy. The report outlines 14 steps available under the legal authority of the President to reduce the harm caused by the status quo and expand affirmative relief to the undocumented.

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