Why We Fast Today in North Carolina

Stories from Leaders of the March 17 ACT. FAST. Women's Fast for Families in North Carolina

Twelve women from various walks of life across North Carolina are fasting today, March 17th, for commonsense immigration reform. Here are a few of those women's stories. If you would like to share your story, or join the fast, RSVP and comment here with your reasons for participating:  http://on.fb.me/1fqkeaj 


Photo of EmmaBook of IsaiahMy name is Emma Akpan, and I am fasting as a minister and a daughter.

Isaiah 58:6 states that: "is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen to loose the chains of injustice." I want to live out that Scripture and fast in solidarity with women I know and countless women I don't who are threatened with being separated from their children. As a person of faith, I believe that all people should live in dignity and without fear. 

No child should live in fear that their mother will have to be taken from them. It is an utter injustice to deny a child the comfort of knowing their mother will return home from work every day to kiss them goodnight. We need immigration reform to ensure that children don't have to live in fear. Women come to the United States for a better opportunity for their families, and cannot see these opportunities if they are going to be separated from their children.

I imagine these women to be a lot like my mother, working hard to provide for her family. She can't provide if she'll be separated from them. I am calling for immigration reform now so families can stay together.

For comments or an interview, contact Emma Akpan at akpan.emma@gmail.com or via 919.533.9203.

Photo of IreneMy name is Irene Godínez and I am fasting as a daughter, cousin, and North Carolinian. Many of my family members are still living in the shadows, and until President Obama or Congress take action on halting deportations, they risk being separated from their family every time that they get in their vehicle or run errands that you and I may take for granted.

As the daughter of immigrants, I have witnessed the struggle and tenacity of my parents striving to give us opportunities that they did not have. Some of my cousins have been separated from their parents and have only seen them through photographs and videos for the last 15 years.

My parents were able to eventually earn U.S Citizenship and I would like that opportunity to be extended to the rest of my family and to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our nation.

I spent nearly a decade working in the immigrant rights movement in North Carolina, and met countless families who are working hard for a better life. Many of the people I met are still very involved in advocating for common sense immigration reform because their lives depend on it.

Congressional action is long overdue and today I'm fasting and participating in social media activities to raise awareness on this issue because it is unconscionable that forced family separations are happening in my community and because embraces through a border gate are not the place for families to be reunited in these United States.

For comments or an interview, contact Irene Godinez at irene.godinez@pphs.org or via 919.533.9203.

Photo of CatMy name is Cat Bao Le and I’m fasting for the millions of families torn apart by deportation – many of whom have already experienced family separation because of displacement, poverty and war. I’m fasting for a more humane solution to this cycle we see in many communities, including the Southeast Asian community in North Carolina.

Cat Bao Le, who is fluent in Vietnamese and Spanish, is the Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Coalition in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was born in London, raised in London and Sacramento, California, and graduated from UC Berkeley.

For comments or an interview, contact Cat Bao Le catbaole@gmail.com or 704.941.6732.

Photo of BethMy name is Beth Messersmith, and I’m fasting both as the NC Campaign Director for MomsRising, a grassroots organization with more than 28,000 NC members and more than a million members nationwide, and as a NC mom myself.

As mothers, we are calling for inclusive immigration reform that strengthens families, and aligns with our nation’s values.

Immigration reform is especially critical for immigrant mothers who work hard to contribute to our communities and care for their families, but who live in fear that any day they could be separated from their children. An estimated five million children live with this fear every day, and currently more than 5,100 children are in foster care after having been being separated from their parents.

Photo Don't Deport My Mom

An immigration policy that makes children afraid of being separated from their parents is not reflective of our shared values as a people. Congress must come together to develop policies that are good for all our families, and recognize the damaging effects of separating American children from their parents or forcing them to start over in a country that is not their own.

Families belong together.  And parents in our country should be able to work hard and be able to provide for the well-being of their families.

Together we can build a fair, effective and commonsense immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of immigrants. Now is the time for comprehensive, and inclusive, immigration reform that strengthens our families, unifies our communities, supports our national economy, and includes a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring citizens. We cannot allow immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate.  Now is the time.

For comments or an interview, contact Beth Messersmith at beth@momsrising.org or via 919.533.9203.

My name is Dani Moore, and I’m fasting today as a mother, a granddaughter, and as someone active in North Carolina’s immigrants’ rights movement. Photo of Dani

It is fitting that we are fasting on a holiday celebrating Irish culture and history, since we often do not realize the migration stories of today are not so different than those of past generations. Both of my grandmothers had roots in Ireland and England, and I celebrate their lives on this St. Patrick's Day. As we work for common sense immigration reform in 2014, let us remember our history as a nation of immigrants. It is a story that included Irish immigrants, many of whom spoke Gaelic and learned English, coming to the American continent seeking a better life. There are echoes of those past generations in today's immigrant stories.

No Irish Need ApplyYet today, the United States is deporting record numbers of immigrants. I cannot imagine what it would be like to face years of separation from my 11-year-old son. To have missed his first words, or his first day of Kindergarten. I know it is a privilege to be able to live with him every day, with a roof over our head, clean clothes, plenty to eat, and to be able to watch him grow and build our lives together.

There are too many families that I know in North Carolina who don’t have this opportunity. Mothers and daughters who are separated by a broken immigration system, or a border fence that has become overly militarized. Parents who are living with the fear of deportation every time they leave the house to pick up their children from school. We urge Congress to act. We urge President Obama to use his discretion to slow the deportation machinery.

For comments or an interview, contact Dani Moore at dani@ncjustice.org or 919.533.9203.