Lessons from My Fast With Dream 9

I’m grateful to those of you who prayed with me for the release of the Dream 9 during our fast. As of today, 40 members of Congress have signed on in support of the Dream 9. Thousands of people have called to voice their support.

But all nine young people who’ve committed no crime are still being held, two of them in solitary confinement.

The National Immigrant Youth Alliance is asking everyone who supports the Dream 9 to join a rolling fast, pledging one day to forgo food and petition for the release of these sisters and brothers. You can learn more and pledge to join us here.

I’ve been thinking about a few things I learned from the five days I fasted with my brother Marco, who has now been released from solitary.

1) Fasting has a way of simplifying the struggle for justice. After a day or so of not eating, the hunger pangs go away. Your stomach stops growling and the deep longing goes down into your bones. You slow down. And you can really only think of one thing. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice,” Jesus said. It is a gift to know one thing.

2) Fasting gave me a deep sense that my heart was beating with others. Without communicating with one another, two other friends of Marco decided to begin a solidarity fast at the same time. We also felt a release from the call to fast on the same day and ending up breaking the hunger strike with Marco. But through it all–and even now–I could feel a connection to Marco at my center.

It seems to me that the heart of our immigration crisis in America is a failure of compassion. Feeling with my undocumented brother was a gift.

3) Fasting reveals my limits. We cannot free the Dream 9 alone, nor can reform our broken immigration system without a broad network of people who are willing to sacrifice for the common good. But, as my daughter loves to sing, “the people united will never be defeated.” Uniting with so many in this struggle has given me great hope.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting the Dream 9. Here’s most recent update from my friend Isabel Castillo:

This Tuesday is the big day; the fate of the Dream 9 will finally be decided. For two-weeks now all 9 have been held at the Eloy immigration prison, in Arizona. This Tuesday they are set to finally get a response as to their request to stay in the United States. Just as with anyone else, ICE & DHS, and the President, have final discretionary power to keep anyone here, and we are hoping they’ll use that power to bring the Dream 9 home.

Sign the Petition: President Obama, Bring the Dream 9 Home

Since launching our petition we’ve already gathered nearly 27,000 signatures asking that the President do the right thing and bring the Dream 9 home. On Tuesday President Obama will be here in Arizona, less than an hour away from the detention center where the Dream 9 are being held. If we can reach 30,000 signatures we plan on delivering them to him at the event.

Join the 27,000 who have already signed asking that President Obama take action and bring the Dream 9 home!

In addition to signing the petition you can help us get the word out by changing your facebook cover to the one here.

Thanks for your support!

Isabel Castillo
DreamActivist VA


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