The following post comes from Hyacinth Alvaran, HRC Diversity Program Manager
Every Wednesday for Lent, I've been fasting in solidarity with Fast for Families and contacted my member of Congress to express support for comprehensive & inclusive immigration reform. As both a lesbian and an immigrant, I know what it’s like to live in fear of families being broken apart, so this is an issue that I care deeply about.
I was inspired to fast a few weeks ago when I heard Eliseo Medina speak at the LULAC Legislative Gala. He helped found the Fast for Families campaign to call attention to the urgent need to pass immigration reform, and himself fasted for 22 days in November 2013 alongside other leaders on the National Mall. He continues this struggle today.
I had heard so much about Eliseo. He organized migrant farm workers alongside Cesar Chavez in the 1960’s and 70’s, and is an inspiring and powerful organizer in his own right, especially over his three decades at SEIU, the fastest-growing union in the country with 2.1 million members. He recently retired from his most recent post as SEIU’s International Secretary-Treasurer, and has since devoted himself full-time to the passage of comprehensive, inclusive, and humane immigration reform policies.
He is also one of the kindest and most compassionate people I could ever meet. As a lesbian, I am especially touched that Eliseo is a vocal supporter of LGBT rights.
So I was troubled when I learned earlier today that he got arrested in Miami today for civil disobedience while trying to meet with Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. This emboldens me even more to stand up for immigration reform, including around the following principles, all of which HRC supports:
- Pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, including DREAMers
- Equal treatment of LGBT families, including the right of Americans to sponsor their same-sex spouses who are living overseas
- Reduce backlogs that impose decades-long waits for families to be reunited with their loved ones
- Access to healthcare for individuals who are legalizing their status, including individuals with HIV / AIDS
I encourage you to stand up with me and Eliseo and contact your members of Congress today. The time is NOW to pass comprehensive and inclusive immigration reform. We can’t afford to wait.