SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A couple dozen women in San Francisco’s Mission District participating in a national month-long hunger strike began fasting Thursday to push lawmakers to act on comprehensive U.S. immigration reform and to stop deportations, activists said.
As part of a national hunger strike, Women’s Fast for Families, organized by the group We Belong Together, groups of women in more than 30 U.S. cities as well as Mexico City are taking turns holding one-day hunger strikes in their respective cities, according to the group’s website.
The San Francisco hunger strike began at 9 a.m. Thursday, according to Claudia Reyes, a workers’ rights organizer at the non-profit group Mujeres Unidas Y Activas.
At least 35 women gathered at the Women’s Building on 18th Street this afternoon and are planning to spend tonight learning about immigration reform and doing activities together, Reyes said.
More women in San Francisco are participating in the hunger strike and are expected to join the group at the Women’s Building after leaving work Thursday evening.
Reyes said she is participating in the hunger strike because she wants to stop the deportation of immigrants and is tired of seeing families separated. She said she wants to ensure that lawmakers hear her support of immigration reform.
Among the women fasting in San Francisco Thursday is 27-year-old Nancy Arroyo a member of La Colectiva, a women’s collective and house cleaning business in San Francisco.
Arroyo’s reason for participating in the hunger strike is to unite her own family.
“My husband was deported and we haven’t seen him in five years,” Arroyo said, adding that her daughter is about to turn 8 years old and has not been able to see her father since she was 2.
The fast will come to an end at 9 a.m. on Friday, followed by a rally at 1 Post St. in San Francisco at 11 a.m.
A group of Bay Area women, including Reyes, also plan to attend the culmination of the national initiative in Washington D.C. with a 48-hour hunger strike April 7-9 beginning at 11 a.m. on the National Mall.
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