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Join fast for immigration reform on March 31

dodson-lynne-13By LYNNE DODSON

(Mar. 24, 2014) — 177 people an hour.

That’s the number of people being deported every working hour of the week based on then number of deportations in 2013 — 10% fewer than the year before.

Millions of families in the United States face the fear of being deported every day. Our current non-system of immigration tears families apart, creates a logjam for those trying to become citizens, and creates a climate for work that is rife with exploitation and abuse. It is possible to fix our current system. But the political will is still lacking.

That’s why we must continue to act. It’s why the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is participating in ACT.FAST: Women’s Fast for Families to call attention to the continuing lack of progress on comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, D.C. We are joining with our community allies for a day at the Tacoma Detention Center — raising money for the families of detainees, and calling attention to the crisis.

Are you willing to join with the WSLC for a day of fasting to raise money for the families of detainees in our own area?

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Washington CAN; El Centro De La Raza; AFT Washington; and Casa Latina have scheduled fasting days from March 31 to April 7. We need your help and participation!

dodson-bellevue-arrestThis is also a follow-up to an action we participated in last November. I joined with 31 other women, labor leaders, community leaders, activists, students, parents, workers, who were arrested at the state Republican Party Headquarters while demanding our lawmakers sign on to a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Our sentence includes 60 hours of community service.

We still do not have comprehensive immigration reform. Tens of thousands of people are still being deported every month.

dodson-bellevue-arrest-groupOur “crime” was part of a larger effort to call attention to the particularly damning effects of our current system on women and families. ACT.FAST is a continuation of those efforts coordinated by the national organization — We Belong Together. A series of rolling fasts around the country this month is calling attention to the crisis.

March 31 is the kickoff of our week. The WSLC will be leading that day and we plan to use the opportunity to call attention to the continuing crisis of deportation. We will be raising money for the families of those who are detained in the Tacoma Detention Center.

We’ll start early (6:30 a.m.) at the Detention Center and will be visually marking the number of deportations occurring nationwide. We’ll be fasting for 24 hours and ask that our labor sisters and brothers join us in the fast and in keeping vigil for the day at the Detention Center. We’ll also be collecting donations for the families. All fasters will be asked to give $40 (or the per diem rate for Tacoma: $61) to go directly to the families.

We will be demanding that our lawmakers support Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation NOW.

We will also be calling on the President to put an end to deportations NOW.

The other organizations in the fast will continue the countdown throughout the Seattle area during the week. We’ll culminate the week with an event held at Casa Latina.

What can you do?

1. Sign up with the WSLC for the March 31 fast day.
2. Volunteer an hour or two to participate in the vigil on March 31 at the Detention Center, 1623 East J Street in Tacoma.
3. Donate! We’ll be accepting contributions at the vigil or online here to help fund basic necessities for the families of detainees, such as phone calls, gas money for family to be able to visit, and commissary funds.

Please call Kamaria Hightower at 206.254.4913 or email if you can participate.

Lynne Dodson is Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.


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