President Obama visits reform activists in fasting

On day 18, “Fast for Families” welcomed the visit of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. SEIU’s Eliseo Medina, from National Korean American Service and Education
Consortium (NAKASEC) Dae Joong Yoon and the DREAMer and Mi Familia Vota’s Cristian Avila as well as FIRM‘s Rudy Lopez and Sojourner‘s Lisa Sharon Harper along with 22 other advocates fasting in solidarity, met with the President and First Lady in a private session at the “Fast for Families” tent where both listened closely to the fasters’ personal stories.

The President said that this fast and their sacrifice are receiving immense attention. He expressed great concern over their health, urging them as well to continue praying over their decision on the time they intend to fast.

During their meeting, the President also held the shoe of an immigrant who perished in the desert trying to seek a better life, which the fasters hold in reverence as a symbol of why they are fasting to underscore the plight and suffering of immigrants.

The President reassured the fasters that he truly believed Speaker John Boehner is sincere in wanting to get immigration reform done. The fasters were uplifted and encouraged by the President and First Lady’s words. Avila, a DACA recipient from Arizona, thanked the President for his support and decision to institute deferred action for millions of DREAMers.

“The President and First Lady’s visit has reignited our spirits,” stated 67 year old Medina who has abstained from all food for 18 days. “Their encouraging words reconfirm their commitment to immigration reform and the countless aspiring Americans who seek to come out of the shadows of fear and repression.”

Adding, “We appreciate the President’s words and concern over our health. We connected on a human level, discussing the moral crisis impacting our country and our immigrant communities. We are moved by their visit and hope to continue efforts in making immigration reform and citizenship a reality.”

The three immigrant advocates got end the fast three weeks this Tuesday in the National Mall, while a new group of fasters, including U.S. Representative Joseph Kennedy III took their place.
Organizers said Dae Joong Yoon, Cristian Avila and Eliseo Medina ended their fast for recommendation of the doctors who examined them. The three had camped since November 12 in cold temperatures. They received a lot of visitors during those weeks.
Hola Arkansas Staff

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