Sunday, March 26, 2006

Day 4: Friday, March 24

This morning over 20,000 Arizonans marched on the streets of Phoenix to Senator Jon Kyl’s office, hundreds of Atlanta residents converged on the steps of the State Capitol and over 2,000 Los Angeles students walked out of school – all demonstrating against the Specter and Sensenbrenner bills. Read about it in this New York Times article. The groundswell of pro-immigrant activism nationwide increasingly gives strength to our hunger strikers and Bay Area communities at large. We are not alone.

The hunger strikers continue feeling physically weak, but the worst of the nausea has passed for most. Nurse volunteers explained that hunger strikers’ bodies have released most of the nausea-inducing toxins and, in the absence of food, now turn to their bodies’ natural fat and muscle. We will continue monitoring the hunger strikers’ health as the days wear on.

This afternoon, hunger strikers Wayne Yang, Maria Reyes, and Bruce Allison joined allies from Services, Immigrant Rights, Education Network (SIREN) to deliver 10,000 postcards from South Bay residents to Senator Dianne Feinstein calling on the Senator to oppose the Specter bill and support immigration reform that creates more paths to legal permanent residency, reunifies families, and protects workplace and civil rights. Senator Feinstein’s staff thanked the delegation for the postcards, but said no word of the Senator’s stance on the Specter bill, nor did they make any public statement to members of the press waiting just outside the office building.

Hunger strikers will bring thousands more postcards to Senator Feinstein’s office on Monday, March 27 during their massive 11am march. If you haven’t already done so, PLEASE fill out a postcard at the SF Federal Building, or (better yet) download them from BAIRC’s website, get friends to sign them, and bring them to the SF Federal Building by Monday morning.

Tonight’s candlelight vigil was especially moving. Aztec dancers initiated the evening’s program with deep, rhythmic drumming, homage to the four directions, and a friendship dance that drew out people of all backgrounds to dance. Fei Yi Chen from Chinese Progressive Association, Richmond High School student Melissa Gutierrez, hunger striker Jackie Mendez, and Colin Rajah of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights spoke words of hope in Chinese, English and Spanish. Jackie called on Bay Area communities to unite and join us at tomorrow’s noontime rally at the SF Federal Building. A Mayan healer blessed the hunger strikers and Aztec dancers sang an eagle song to close the day. Everyone eagerly awaits tomorrow’s rally.

Around 9pm guitarist and singer graced our campsite with beautiful Latin American ballads. Supporters danced and sang late into the night, despite the drizzling rain.


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