Fast for our Future- HUNGER STRIKE

posted on: Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Today, 21 days before the election a a group of over 100 people are congregating in La Placita Olvera (or Olvera Street Plaza), the historical heart of Los Angeles to begin the largest hunger strike in American history.

I have signed a pledge and today I will fast for the purpose of supporting immigrants' rights. I will fast because I care deeply for the rights of those who pick my food. I will fast because I am an immigrant in this country and at one point I too was an "illegal" and had the support of citizens and residents fighting for my cause.

I know we may not share similar values but I ask you to understand what this historical hunger strike is all about. As you prepare to vote in 21 days please learn a little bit more about immigrants who live in this country and the struggle they go through. You may be a strong advocate for militarizing the boarder. You may hold the opinion that illegals don't belong here. However, please learn about the repercussions of deportation and what it means when parents are deported and their U.S born children are left behind and put in the foster care system. PLEASE learn about this issue and think of it as a human rights issue not an "illegal alien" issue.

In a blog where I strive to take good food photography and make you hungry so that you'll keep coming back for more recipes I ask you to take a break from eating and participate in this event. If even for just one day you are willing to fast so that we can meet our goal of reaching 1,000,000 people before the elections we will have succeeded To sign a pledge go HERE

Please share this information on your own blogs and with your friends and family.

xoxo, Damaris

13 comments:

  1. I'll pass the information along. I like this idea. Especially since my husband is an immigrant and he has a lot of family in california that are "illegal". But they are doing everything they can to become legal. Of course I grew up in southern california. My father is somewhat not for this cause. I think some people just look at the negative. There were more mexicans than white people where I grew up. A lot of gangs, violence and also a lot of farms. Most of the srawberry farms in California. And a huge percentage of "illegal" immigrants. People in my family even and others just see them causing trouble and related to everything that goes bad for them. And that is probably because down there there are sooooo many of them. But you could say the same for black people in the gehtos and hicks in sacramento! When you have a lot of something in one area that makes people nervous and they connect it with what they don't like. I too am thankful for those that pick my food. I really miss those curb side markets in Ventura. It is hard to get your rights here. Any mistake in paperwork or spelling can delay your rights for a long time. It costs a ton of money and if you don't have someone who speakes english than your bound to make mistakes in your paperwork. I worked hard to get my husband here and so I feel what many immigrants have to go through. Good Luck may everyone research the issues well for this up comming election.

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  2. Já passei a mensagem a diante! :o)

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  3. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. First of all, you are completely misinformed about policy and procedure. Children of undocumented aliens are not automatically taken from their family. In most cases, even if the parents are to be deported they give the children the choice of staying in the US or leaving with their parents, and in most cases one of the parents is allowed to stay for a period of time to make arrangements if their children are staying. This way the children stay with family and friends. The US government has no desire to break up families or put them into an already over-crowded foster care system.

    I am all for human rights, but there is simply no human rights violation here. The simple fact is that the parents are breaking the law. If two random parents were to rob a bank, would you argue that they should not be put into prison because they would be separated from their children? Of course not, that is ridiculous. Bottom line, if you want to stay together as a family, don't break the law. Don't kill anyone, don't rob a bank, and don't move to another country and live there illegally. It's really very simple.

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  4. What about a family who the government brought over to help their dying daughter on a medical visa. They don't speak verygood english and don't really read it either. Their daughter died and didn't have money to go back to thier island in the south pacific. No family to help them or translate for them. So thier visa's expired. But over the last years since they have managed to get english skills have applied for permanat residency since they had other children here. But right now they are illegal. Should they be deported and have that against thier record? They make it sound so easy like there is always help. I agree that a lot of illegal immigrants don't live the law. Some should be deported. However. I think again, that Education is the Key. It is sooooooooooooooo hard to get to the usa and to obtain a visa here if you don't have family. and there isn't as much help as people think there is. especially if you don't speak spanish or russian! There is a middle ground here. People usually come to america seeking a better life to help thier family. Go try to live in another country and you'll quickly understand that! Its very hard to make it here. And it's not so easy to just pack up and go home to a failed dream either. The laws should be followed but we should also help those families that are trying to do thier best and don't break the law to thier knowlegde. If they don't know the laws then it is hard to follow them. If they don't have someone to teach it to them then how are they supposed to know. And don't tell me there is enough education out there cause there isn't. try living in southern california. and move outside your comfort zone. Live in the ghetto and experience it first hand before you make assumptions! Not all illegal immigrants should be deported. Obviously killing is a worldly known as against the law. But as far as taxes go and fair pay etc... Unless your going to teach it to them, then don't expect them to know! This is America. We are founded apon the dream of a better life. I would want to move here too. Remember we are all a heritage of immigrants unless you are american indian and then again, we even seem to push them out! That is what this country is founded on. A better life, the big melting pot! We have just become lazy and don't want to teach anymore. And I don't think anyone really understands that untill they have family here that is illegal.
    OK I got out my ranting! I agree with the don't kill anyone, rob a bank, and inflict injustic apon eachother. But I don't know any illegal immigrant that obeys the laws here any better or worse than American Citizens! And I know ALOT of Illegal Immigrants! There would be just as much crime and pain with out them here! Its not all really very simple. America is never very simple. Its very complex and complicated. Just follow the elections! Proof right there!

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  5. Sorry Damaris. I ranted again. You can delete my post if I'm craming up your space. I stick to what I said. But maybe your blog was not the place to rant it. Still luv your blog though. I'm thinking those cookies are awsome!

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  6. That's an awful lot of assumptions you made about me in just one post. Just for the record, I have lived many years in other countries, I grew up in southern california, and my "comfort zone" also includes "ALOT" of illegal immigrants. If you expect me to believe that the illegal immigrants simply do not know that they are breaking the law, I'm afraid that I have to laugh. I know that there are a small percentage of people trying to become legal who are duped by unscrupulous individuals that lie to them and steal their money under the false pretense of legalization, but this is comparatively rare. The vast majority know full well what they are doing. If they arrived in the country through legal channels, they knew exactly how long their visa was good for and chose to stay beyond that limit. If they paid a coyote to help them sneak across the border, they knew full well that it was against the law. Even if they have every intention of eventually becoming legal, it does not justify breaking the law to begin with. I know exactly how difficult it is to come to the US having been through the process with a close family member. People need to accept more responsibility for their choices. If you choose to come here illegally, you have to face the punishment if you are caught.

    Also, I never claimed that America is simple, but some things are in fact simple. Break the law = face the consequences. If you can divorce your personal feelings about immigration from the matter you will see that this is obvious. You cannot break the laws with impunity and expect that nothing bad will ever come of it.

    I love it when people try to point out that "we are all immigrants" but leave out the fact that my ancestors came here legally. I am not against immigration by any means - I believe that everyone who wants to come here should be allowed to do so. However, I cannot support the idea that the ends justify the means and that it is OK to break the law to come here. If you want to come to the US, you are more than welcome, just do it legally.

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  7. it it was so simple "break the laws and suffer the consequences" wouldn't you agree that those who hire undocumented immigrants should also be punished? So should the government put the owners of large agricultural corporations in jail because they are hiring undocumented immigrants? The law has to be applied to all? then lets not be selective.

    When we begin to admit that whether we like it or not the U.S economy functions in large part because of undocumented immigrants who are willing to work for very low pay then we will be able to understand how complex it is. If we didn't need undocumented immigrants I guarantee that the government would make sure that people didn't cross the boarder. But while undocumented immigrants are the ones picking the food that you eat that won't change.

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  8. Hi Damaris. I like your blog.

    Like LV Family, I might have to rant a little. I know I'm not a regular commenter, so I'll try to keep it to a minimum.

    Anonymous, you seem to have some knowledge of the system, but there are some gaps in your experience. You said:

    "The US government has no desire to break up families or put them into an already over-crowded foster care system."

    I'm an immigration attorney, so I can tell you directly from experience that the government doesn't care at all about breaking up families and dropping kids into foster care. They do it every. single. day. In every part of the country. They are doing it to families right now as I'm typing.

    "I am all for human rights, but there is simply no human rights violation here."

    That depends what you are talking about. Dumping unaccompanied minors at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the U.S. government often does instead of repatriating them, is a violation of human rights. Splitting up families that have lived here for decades is a violation of human rights--the ICCPR, for instance. Dying in immigration prison for a civil immigration violation because the guards said you were faking your medical condition is a violation of human rights. Bombing Iraq and Afghanistan to create millions of refugees, then making sure almost none of them can seek refuge in the U.S., is a violation of human rights.

    You talk about your ancestors. When they came here, whenever it was, the legal landscape would have been drastically different for unskilled workers. Poor immigrants of the kind who come across the border from Mexico had little trouble getting in through Ellis Island. Rich ones didn't even have to go to Ellis Island--if you were rich, there was no such thing as "illegal" immigration. It's pretty much the same today for the wealthy--you can buy a green card if you have a million bucks to invest in real estate in Florida. On the other hand, it's almost impossible to come to the U.S. from anywhere in Latin America except Cuba if you are poor.

    If you really felt you had a solid argument, why not put your name out there? Even a pseudonym, something to differentiate you from all the other anti-immigrant anonymouses out there. I'm not going to hold my breath, though.

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  9. "Anonymous" is coming from a personal standpoint that many would agree with, and many, such as myself would not. This is not the first comment in this vein that I have read, and certainly wont be the last, that is what this country provides, freedom of speech?
    Anonymous is heavily steeped in meritocracy and the "american dream" believing that if one were to just "work hard enough" they can achieve anything in this land of "freedom", that is not always the case, deeming human beings the term "illegal aliens" is inappropriate in its etymological context, think on that a bit, reflect on labeling, read some Focault... Furthermore,there are many individuals who work seven days a week,and cannot advance anywhere because of a lack of documentation in this land of freedom where they are deemed as "illegal aliens", but I come from a place of privilege in my voice, I have escaped the conveyor belt of NYC public education that was going to lead me nowhere and landed in an ivy league education where I saw the stark contrast from the education i had previously received to the one i was receiving, and still now I am privileged in my voice as a third world feminist in academia, but I use my privilege to make others aware of the tacit oppression they face in their everyday living..which is what Damaris is peacefully doing, she is also using her privileged positionality to make others aware of things they chose not to see, such as the glass ceiling, or no ceiling at all for others who cant even permeate certain social spaces because of the economic caste system we live in. Colorblind ideology does not beget social freedom or equal power...to struggle is to resist the paradigm we live under, some work from the margins and create the change we want to see, as the hunger strikers are doing,others work from the center, as we hope our future politician will do from his position of hegemonic power...I pray that heuristic of peace and equality will prevail

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  10. namaste, thank you Damaris for allowing me to place my words on your blog, it is definitely tiring, and i hope to not have to constantly educate, it takes a lot of energy to do that, I just accept the fact that certain individuals are misguided by feelings unknown, but know that those of us who starve for a peaceful revolution, will receive what our hearts desire.

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  11. OK, one last response to clear up further assumptions people keep making about me. Wow, that seems to happen a lot. Anyway.

    "it it was so simple "break the laws and suffer the consequences" wouldn't you agree that those who hire undocumented immigrants should also be punished?"

    Yes, absolutely. I never said that those hiring undocumented immigrants shouldn't be punished - of course they should. What in my posts led you to believe that I was against applying the law to Americans as well?

    "the U.S economy functions in large part because of undocumented immigrants who are willing to work for very low pay... But while undocumented immigrants are the ones picking the food that you eat that won't change."

    I love this argument! It makes me laugh that those defending illegal immigration love to unintentionally imply that the only benefit that immigrants can bring to this country is cheap agricultural labor. Shouldn't you be arguing the opposite, that they bring so much to our culture that it is an outrage that they are confined to the fields? I would personally argue that the system needs to change to eliminate this need. This, coupled with reforms in the immigration system will allow them to pursue real careers and make a real contribution to society.

    "the government doesn't care at all about breaking up families and dropping kids into foster care. They do it every. single. day."

    You seem to be confusing government policy with its application by local law enforcement. I know it's easy to ascribe all wrong doing to a nebulous, all-powerful government, but in reality the abuses you describe come from the individuals involved. Now, if you want to argue that the system should change and there should be more accountability, I would absolutely agree with you.

    "Bombing Iraq and Afghanistan to create millions of refugees..."

    THAT's a separate issue that I'm really not going to go in to.

    "...the legal landscape would have been drastically different for unskilled workers."

    Precisely my point. The legal landscape has changed and is continuing to change. Illegal immigration cannot be defended on the grounds that "it used to be legal". Just as my ancestors obeyed the law when they came here, current immigrants need to obey the current law. I know firsthand that it is much more difficult now, but you have to play the hand that you are dealt. Trying to avoid the system by sneaking across the border is not the solution.

    "On the other hand, it's almost impossible to come to the U.S. from anywhere in Latin America except Cuba if you are poor."

    Really? That's strange, I know quite a few legal immigrants that are poor. Sure, maybe they had to fill out the paperwork themselves instead of paying a fancy immigration lawyer, but they pulled it off.

    "If you really felt you had a solid argument, why not put your name out there?"

    I have my reasons, but frankly it doesn't matter. All that matters is that I choose not to. Ah, freedom.

    "deeming human beings the term "illegal aliens" is inappropriate in its etymological context"

    OK, let's look at the etymology -

    Illegal - from the latin illegalis, in- "not" and legalis (legal)
    Definition: 1. forbidden by law or statute. 2. contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.

    Check.

    Alien - from the latin alienus, "of or belonging to another"
    Definition: 1. a resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization (distinguished from citizen). 2. a foreigner.

    Check.

    What was the problem again? I know that people do not like this term, but it certainly seems accurate. As long as people keep squabbling over terminology, no real change can take place.

    As for "read some Focault", assuming you mean Michel Foucault, I think he had a few interesting ideas, but overall I find his early works too Marxist and feel that his later works went off the deep end once he started dropping acid in the 70's. But maybe that's just me.

    The rest of your post goes into a completely different discussion which might be interesting in some other venue, but which I don't find worthwhile to pursue here.

    "i hope to not have to constantly educate, it takes a lot of energy to do that"

    Amen.

    "those of us who starve for a peaceful revolution, will receive what our hearts desire."

    Taking the long view, I suppose you will receive your heart's desire in heaven, but in the mean time there needs to be action taken. Peaceful revolution only implies the lack of violence, it does not mean staging elaborate farces that can easily be ignored by those in power. I'm sorry, but this hunger strike will prove nothing and change even less.

    I find it interesting that the posts opposing my viewpoint chose to attack minor points instead of responding to the thesis of my argument - that breaking the law is wrong. I suspect that this is because they fundamentally agree with this point, but think that the subject of immigration somehow changes the nature of the argument. I'm sorry, but it doesn't. The law is the law, whether we agree with it or not. If you want to make any headway in your arguments, you have to stop defending illegal immigration and start arguing for increased legal immigration. If you could do this, I would support you 100%. Reform the system - of course. Make it easier to come here legally - absolutely. But as long as you continue defending the breaking of laws as some sort of human right, you will never have my support, the support of the US government, or the support of the majority of Americans.

    In any case, that is my last, albeit lengthy word on the matter. I won't bother reading any more of these silly posts, so please don't bother posting them. Thanks.

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  12. I wonder if Anonymous has lead such a perfect life and never broke the law in anyway. hmmmmm. I don't think we were making acusations againt anonymous but rather defending what we believe is right. I think it was our origional "in agreement" to the cause that is being attacked apon. Its a lost argument against those that really feel for the subject. She/he is not changing my out look on it. Once told I should divorce my personal feelings about it, I wondered if their parents were "illegal" if thier personal feelings could be easily divorced! Who doesn't bring thier personal feelings into thier judgment when voting and making laws? Thats what we do every time we vote! And so what if nothing comes from this hunger strike. Voiceing our opinion is our right and obligation! And I'm so proud of those that do it. I don't think sneaking into the country is necessarily right and those that do should pay a price for it depending apon how they are trying to live thier lives. But like everyone who breaks the law. Their should be some judgment apon them. If they are killing people, robbing banks, or promoting gangs, then maybe they should go back to their own countries. But if they are trying to provide for thier families in a way that is pleasing unto the people of the USA and want to be good law abiding citizens, then they should be helped to obtain that goal. Thats just my opinion. And yay for Damaris for voicing hers. You go right a head and keep posting those "silly" posts. I'll still keep reading them.

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  13. Since anonymous won't be around to rebut anything else we discuss here, I'll set the record straight on a few of his (fairly confident he's a dude) points.

    as long as you continue defending the breaking of laws as some sort of human right, you will never have my support, the support of the US government, or the support of the majority of Americans.

    The same arguments were used to justify slavery and then American apartheid. For instance, the newspaper editorial board that condemned Thurgood Marshall for publicly supporting MLK's tactics of nonviolent resistance. There were plenty of anonymouses around to defend the unjust laws of yesteryear--there will always be people proud to defend injustice on the ground that the majority supports it and has codified it into law.

    You seem to be confusing government policy with its application by local law enforcement. I know it's easy to ascribe all wrong doing to a nebulous, all-powerful government, but in reality the abuses you describe come from the individuals involved.

    ?? Local law enforcement is not conducting massive raids on meatpacking plants and poultry factories throughout the country. Raids break up families. Parents are deported, US citizen children end up in the care of relatives or in foster care. That is the FEDERAL government, because the FEDERAL government enforces FEDERAL immigration law.

    The abuses I describe come from a calculated, very public effort to "secure the border," direct from George Bush's mouth to Julie Myers' ear. Anonymous seems to have trouble understanding basic government processes.

    I know quite a few legal immigrants that are poor. Sure, maybe they had to fill out the paperwork themselves instead of paying a fancy immigration lawyer, but they pulled it off.

    As a general rule, you can't enter without inspection, as most poor immigrants from Latin America do, and obtain legal status. Some occasional exceptions apply (asylum, usually tough to get from Latin America, some victims of serious crimes in the U.S. who cooperate with law enforcement, some victims of domestic violence, some who stay at least 10 years and build extensive equities and have sick immediate family members. That may sound like a lot of people, but it's not.). It's not a matter of "bothering to fill out the paperwork" instead of paying a fancy immigration lawyer (though anonymous may have mistaken me for a "fancy" immigration lawyer, I work at a nonprofit where all my clients are at the lower end of the income scale). Doesn't it stand to reason that if it were as easy as filling out some forms, more people would do that instead of crossing desert and mountain, risking death at the hands of unscrupulous coyotes, to live a life in the shadows in a country that wishes you would leave? No, I guess they are just too lazy to fill out forms, or too disrespectful of legal process, or whatever. This is surely the simpler and more reasonable explanation.

    In short, the more we've heard from anonymous, the more it's become clear how little he knows about the law, the workings of government, or the facts of immigrant life. Hopefully, he'll educate himself a bit by continuing to visit pro-migrant sites like this one, but I'm afraid that may not be the reason he stopped by to share his thoughts ...

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