by Lucia Vazquez
To bring attention to the suffering and struggles of undocumented Americans, I participated in a 12-hour fast along with 10 other folks from Spokane and Walla Walla on July 3rd in front of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers‘ office.
At first I was very optimistic of being able to do the full 12 hours with only water to drink yet as the day progressed I doubted being able to make it– my feet were sore, my head pounding, constant thoughts of food raced in my head.
My pain was nothing compared to the number of years families wait to see their loved ones, the deaths of innocent people attempting to seek a better future, the agony undocumented students experience knowing that tuition is due, the fear children face when their parents leave for work, the cruel reality that you’re one traffic stop from deportation–these are all real scenarios and being able to symbolized the suffering undocumented people face every day was my motivation.
My family is very important to me, growing up I witnessed my mother’s activism, but never fully understood why she was so involved with everything or why she had to drag us children to meetings and events. However, in recent years I finally understood the importance of her work, when I discovered that two of my siblings were undocumented. Like many undocumented students, after graduation my sisters will be lucky to find a job picking crops in the fields or cleaning houses despite their countless hours of community service, honor cords, and diplomas.
The truth is that I can no longer ignore the injustices my sisters and undocumented people face. They all deserve the same opportunities that I have been given because they have proven themselves part of this country.
In the meanwhile, I will continue to do my part in educating our public and politicians, making phone calls, and being present at actions and mobilizations around immigration reform, the dreams of 11 million undocumented Americas are counting on that. The time is now for Congress to do the right thing and pass a just and humane comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship and that keeps families together.
Lucia Vazquez was a Young Activist Leader and intern with PJALS 2012-2013. She now organizes for immigration reform as a staff person with OneAmerica. Please sign on to this petition to urge Rep. McMorris Rodgers to support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship!