The “Fasting for Families Across America” campaign bus made a brief stop at Service Employees International Union (SEIU) office in San Bernardino on Thursday February 27 and was followed by a visit to Rep. Gary Miller’s office in Rancho Cucamonga in support of immigration reform.
With two designated busses, one heading north and the other south, community organizers and residents plan to make stops in seventy-five congressional districts across the nation, holding press conferences and prayer vigils in attempt to persuade constituents to persuade congress to pass immigration reform legislation.
Wendy Duchen, an SEIU organizer based in Los Angeles asked those who were present a question. “How many of you know a person that in this moment can benefit from immigration reform,” with many raising their hand in agreement. She also thanked those who put in the effort to make phone calls and attended rallies to make immigration reform advocacy possible.
Pointing at an empty chair, she expressed her disappointment at Rep. Miller. “Unfortunately, we have an empty chair,” she said. “Everyone has a choice, there is something called free will,” she continued. “You choose to do something because it inspires, moves you, and you believe it. We will continue to try and invite him. It wasn’t an invitation to yell at him or throw our plates at him, but to get him to look at the community. These are the people you represent.”
Christian Avila from Mi Familia Vota (My Family Votes) said he believes it is time for congress to take action. “We need to have a conversation with our people about this moral crisis and the cost of an action,” he said.
Avila then picked up a shoe, displayed it to the crowd, and said,” This is the price of an action. This was the shoe of someone that had an American dream,” he said. “This was someone’s child and they have died alone in the desert. There are four hundred people just like this that die in the desert every year and eleven hundred who get separated from their families every year. These are not just numbers but these are real people with real dreams and families.”
Teresa Alvarez, a resident of Los Angeles, said she is taking part in the trip because she believes her husband who is undocumented deserves the right to live in the U.S. and be a father to his children. “He needs to be there to make them into respectable men,” she said. “My children know that if their father is deported, there is a chance that they will never see him again. They are hoping that the reform will be passed for our family could live in peace.”
Anthony Victoria is a contributing writer for Inland Empire Community newspapers and can be reached at email address…… firstname.lastname@example.org