Saturday, March 25, 2006

Immigrant Rights are Human Rights: San Francisco hunger strike

From: Happening-Here?

Immigrants, members of numerous organized groups from many ethnic groups, are holding a week long fast in front of San Francisco's Federal Building. The main stream media isn't giving these outsiders much coverage, but you can read all about it at their excellent blog.

The hunger strikers want Senator Feinstein, long something of an immigration restrictionist, to come out against the horrible House-passed bill, HR 4437, which would make being undocumented a felony. They hope for an immigration reform that would provide amnesty to many of the 11 million people working in this country without papers, that would end exploitation and harassment, and that would enable families to reunite.


For more on the hunger strike, visit the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition. The hunger strikers will lead a march to Senator Feinstein's office (yes, the same one we visited during the anti-torture demo) at 11 am, Monday, March 27. I'll be there

Read full story at: Happening-Here?

From: SF Hunger Strike & Week of Actions

Day 3: Thurs, March 23

This was the most physically grueling day for the hunger strikers so far. Several experienced nausea, dizziness, and headaches; our eldest hunger striker – whom we affectionately call abuelita (grandma) – registered high on the blood pressure meter. Nurse Stephan Lynch and other medical volunteers will continue monitoring their vitals.

While physical ailments challenged the hunger strikers, the love and encouragement of supporters continue fueling hunger strikers’ calls for Senator Feinstein and other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to take leadership in opposing Chairman Arlen Specter’s bill. One hunger striker explains, “It’s the little things people do – cracking jokes, smiling, digging through boxes looking for earmuffs to keep us warm – that are so filled with love that make all the difference.”


After the candlelight vigil, we asked hunger striker Jay Pugao why he got involved in opposing Specter’s bill:

“This is something that breaks up families. It forces educators like me to turn in my undocumented immigrant students and call them ‘criminals’. We’re shaping young leaders and organizers. They are not criminals.

The same thing goes for the elderly in my community – the Filipino community. These bills would force me to turn in my titos and titas (uncles and aunts) who are working and paying taxes. They are the foundations of the workforce in this nation, although they don’t reap the benefits of it. These bills would further drive them underground and force them to hide.” – Jay

read more from: SF Hunger Strike & Week of Actions

In many ways this simple act says volumes about the sacrifices made by those who are forced to fight their way to become part of the American dream.

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