News & Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 9, 2021

CONTACT: 

Alexa Lamanna, West End Strategy Team | alamanna@westendstrategy.com | 202-320-2766

WASHINGTON – Beginning this afternoon, faith leaders, directly impacted immigrants and immigration advocates will begin a three-week long solidarity fast to shine a spotlight on our nation’s moral obligation to fully and finally include our immigrant siblings as part of the American family. 

The nationwide #WeAreEssential Faith Fast for Freedom, led by Faith in Action and partners within the We Are Home campaign, including CASA, The Congregation Action Network, FIRM Action, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), will organize dozens of fasters from around the country to gather in stages for at least three weeks to encourage Congress to utilize the jobs and infrastructure package and budget reconciliation to codify a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented community members – many of whom have kept our families and our economy functioning as essential workers during the pandemic.

The D.C.-area fast will take place at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation at 212 E. Capitol St. NE, Washington D.C., just two blocks from the Capitol and the Supreme Court. The fast will kick-off at 3 p.m. EDT with a musical appearance from Son Cosita Seria and opening remarks from local faith leaders and impacted fasters. Fasters will participate in faith tradition ceremonies and the decoration of stoles. At 4 p.m. EDT, fasters will march to the Supreme Court and Congressional office buildings. Further event details for the D.C. launch event can be found in this media advisory.

“As a Latina who has been fighting on the front lines of change for my entire adult life, I am grateful that our efforts to tell the story of the love and transformation of Faith in Action have been recognized,” said Denise Collazo, senior advisor for external affairs. ” Our family members who are fasting today to urge Congress to create a pathway for citizenship for essential workers are the true sheroes of this story. They deserve all our love and support.”

“It is up to Congress to ensure a pathway to citizenship is included in the final 2022 budget in order to provide critical protections for America’s farm workers, TPS holders, my fellow DREAMers and undocumented essential workers, who have carried our country and economy through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nanci Palacios, LA RED Chair and deputy director, Faith in Florida (DACA recipient). “The time for Congressional Leaders to act is now. Both the House and Senate have the ability and the votes to include a pathway to citizenship in their budget resolutions. They must act before this opportunity is lost. If our elected officials truly want to protect America’s immigrant communities that have been waiting years, and in many cases decades, for relief, they must not miss the window of opportunity this summer.” 

“Over and over again, President Biden has acknowledged the sacrifices made by essential workers and stated his commitment to alleviate the suffering they are experiencing since the pandemic started. Yet, many of these essential immigrant workers who have supported America’s economy and its citizens throughout the pandemic continue to be denied dignity, protection, and freedoms by Congress and our unjust and inhumane immigration system,” said Bridgette Gomez, director of the We Are Home campaign. “We are proud to stand alongside our coalition partners to amplify the need to provide a pathway to citizenship for our essential workers, our DREAMers, our TPS holders and all 11 million undocumented immigrants. The We Are Home campaign is committed to holding the Biden administration and Congress accountable to deliver real change for those who call this country home.”

As the Biden administration and Congress negotiate what will be included in the jobs and infrastructure package of the president’s Build Back Better plan, faith leaders and organizers participating in the fast and echo actions around the country are advocating for a pathway to citizenship for immigrant essential workers through the budget reconciliation process.

“Given the political calendar in Washington, this summer is the season when justice will either be delivered or denied for 11 million undocumented immigrants,” said Padre Vidal Rivas of the Episcopalian Catholic Church in the San Mateo parish, Hyattsville, Maryland. “Clergy and immigrant leaders in the Washington area decided to organize the fast because it will be both a prayer to our Creator for the justice that has eluded us, and a claim on the consciences of Congressional leaders, the Administration, and every American to finally provide immigrants with the love, respect, and compassion we all deserve as children of God.”

“For generations, immigrants have kept this country running – providing food for our families, caring for our loved ones and they have kept us safe during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic,” said SEIU International Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz. “Through this fast, we are honoring the work of our fellow immigrants, and sending a clear message to Congress: it’s time for them to do the same. Congress needs to pass fair and humane immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million immigrants. We cannot wait any longer.”

Press is encouraged to attend. Interviews with organizers, faith leaders, and fasters are available for both English- and Spanish-language media. Attendees are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing. 

If you would like to attend the fast, or speak to lead organizers and participating fasters, please contact Heather Cabral at hcabral@faithinaction.org or (202) 550-6880 or Alexa Lamanna at alamanna@westendstrategy.com or (202) 320-2766.

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Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit www.faithinaction.org.

Faith in Action is a 501c(3). Faith in Action and its affiliates are non-partisan and are not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office.

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