President and First Lady Visit "Fast for Families" on the National Mall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Published 4:05 PM Eastern - Friday, November 29, 2013

Beatriz Lopez, beatriz.lopez@seiu.org, 202-412-7396

For pictures of the visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fast4families/

WASHINGTON, DC - On day 18, "Fast for Families" welcomed the visit of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. SEIU's Eliseo Medina, NAKASEC's Dae Joong Yoon, DREAMer and Mi Familia Vota's Cristian Avila, 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 to pray 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."

For more information, please contact Beatriz Lopez at beatriz.lopez@seiu.org, 202-412-7396.

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