March 26th: Alina

I fasted today to honor Roxroy, his family, and the thousands of other families who today face the threat of being torn apart by the deportation system. Roxroy has humbled and inspired me by his amazing spirit and his deep faith that we can come together and change the system so that it respects family unity and human rights. I believe in him and the power of his dreams for all of us.

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March 25th: Manisha

I fasted on Wednesday this week! It was a busy day at Families for Freedom (FFF), which was nice because it kept my mind off of the hunger. This is the third week that FFF has fasted for Roxroy. It’s exciting to see so many people fasting for the cause! I have one small request to those of you who are fasting and checking the website regularly: please ask someone you know to sign up for the fast. We have many days in April and May to fill up. Share with them Roxroy’s story, why you got involved, and direct them to this blog!!

March 25th: Grania

I fasted today instead of Tuesday as I’ve been sick and thought not eating might not be such a great idea. We’ve welcomed 3 new members to First Pres’ New Sanctuary Committee since Christmas–all of them enthusiastic and knowledgeable and two of them young! Two things I’ve read lately I recommend to you: Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson, The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers (2007); and a new Amnesty International report on immigration detention called “Jailed Without Justice” which you can find here: www.amnestyusa.org/immigrant-detention/page.do?id=1641031. This is a timely report and I pray that this will at the very least lead to ending this horrendous system. I’ve only read the Executive Summary but plan to read the whole report.

March 24th: Geoffrey

Fasting for the principle of doing as one would be done by raises an alarming question. Does fasting for that principle really help reaffirm it as one still accorded general respect today, or is “reaffirm” the wrong word? Is there nothing left today to reaffirm? Must everyone with any conscience today witness and affirm certain basic decencies all over again? — decencies that have now become so old and battered they are now new — and too vulnerable to stand of themselves? Are we doomed in this young century to replay the last two hundred — or the last two thousand — years of history? Can only a fast, an organized protest, a sit-in — whatever — give strong witness and affirmation today to basic decencies of mutual respect we thought were already made sacred by so much blood and suffering generations before we were born? Can our given culture today no longer safeguard these decencies through the mere example of a past? Can only fasts and protests today establish these decencies today? Is a past rendered useless for our institutions now? Are those institutions only fashioned by the protests of today? — if we’re lucky? Can no past sacrifice or past protest or past principle or past law hold sway over the corrupt forgetful institutions of today? Will a culture we were fooled into viewing as a protector of human rights need new struggles all over again to be safe for the vulnerable? Have these uneasy years of the early twenty-first century chucked so many judicial and cultural decencies out the window that a fast for any assumed principle is really a fight from scratch? Is there nothing left that can be assumed? Are we back to the third millennium B.C.E.?

I fast today in solidarity for principles that many feel were already made solid untold generations ago.

Some of us feel that Adin Ballou, the Quaker activist at the turn of the 18th/19th century, successfully promulgated, once and for all, the freedom from slavery as a moral imperative. Yet what else is this Sword of Damocles now hanging over Roxroy Salmon but a threat to treat one human being as a mere thing, an object, not a human being of self-evident dignity at all? Where is there the due process befitting a human being who has harmed no one in any of this?

Some of us feel that John Locke established, once and for all, the rights of life, liberty and property, and Thomas Jefferson, once and for all, the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet show me where there is the strong assurance for each and every one of these rights in the threat now hanging over Roxroy Salmon? Has he deserved being deprived of those rights? Has he been deprived of them by due process?

Some of us feel that Ulpian, jurist of the Roman Empire, whose writings form the basis of the later Justinian code, established, once and for all, the principle of equality for all before the law, a principle without which the American experiment might never have gotten off the ground. Yet what pretense to equality is there in the threat hanging over Roxroy Salmon?

Some of us feel that 2000 years ago a carpenter from Nazareth established, once and for all, how ministering to others exalts us while lording it over others only debases us. Whom does it help to terrorize Roxroy Salmon?

Some of us feel that, along with Jesus, Confucius too introduced, once and for all, his own Golden Rule: Don’t do unto others what you don’t want them to do unto you. How are we following the Golden Rule in our treatment of Roxroy Salmon?

And some of us feel that, back in the third millennium B.C.E., Urukagina, the Sumerian reformer, established, once and for all, the right to protections for the treatment of the vulnerable, introducing too the concept of “freedom” [“amagi” in Sumerian] and of society’s obligation to “the widow and the orphan”. Why must we remove the protection of a father and a husband, Roxroy Salmon, from his children and from a beloved wife in poor health?

I fast today in solidarity with those who want to keep Roxroy Salmon’s family together. I fast with those who still respect the Golden Rule. I fast with those who will not abide the intimidation of a vulnerable and decent human being. I fast with those who remind us that all are equal before the law. I fast with those who still recall the rights advanced by Locke and Jefferson. And I fast with those ready to affirm the self-evident dignity of each and every human being.

March 23rd: Roxroy

I fasted last Sunday and this Sunday and Monday. It was very humbling. I
reflected on our families and the struggle they are going through. I prayed and I know there will be a way, so we are going to go on with faith, hope and love.

March 19th: Zach

For as long as I can remember I always fasted once a year. When the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur came around, I would look forward to the fast, solely because of the celebration that broke the fast. On that day each year I would contemplate my actions from the past year and think about what I would like to change for the coming year to ensure that I don’t have regrets. While there is certainly nothing wrong with considering oneself, I found that when I fasted last week, my thoughts went to a different place. Because I woke up at 6:45, with Roxroy on my mind, and was reminded each time my stomach growled why I was fasting.

 I thought a lot about what Roxroy and others in his situation are going through. I thought about how difficult it must be to be separated from those you love, people essential to your life, for something you did 20 years ago.I thought about the things I take for granted; my family and friends being present in my life, controlling where I will lay my head at night, how the feeling of hunger, which hit me hard around 2 pm is temporal, while the separation of families is not. But most of all I thought about my own childhood. I thought about my 12th year on earth and how important my father was to me. Then as the hunger came back, my thoughts again returned to Roxroy and his family, and I thought about Elijah and what his memories of his 12th year will be.

March 19th: Grania

I fasted today (Thursday) because I forgot on Tuesday—a sign that I need to simplify my life a little. I am not only spending more time babysitting for my grandson, but also trying to respond in many ways to Roxroy and his family, and to the volume of requests to support various initiatives about immigration reform. A little overwhelming with the physical pain I’m in. So it is time to give thanks for all those who give me hope and inspiration: Thank you to the Pastors and Deacons at First Presbyterian Church for their assistance to Roxroy’s family, to the Church & Society Committee for their continuing support of the New York New Sanctuary Coalition, to the members of the First Pres New Sanctuary Committee who have planned and implemented several educational and advocacy efforts at First Pres and serve on Roxroy’s defense committee, to Families for Freedom for their never-ending work to give voices to the voiceless and their inspiration to all of us, to those many members at First Pres who have signed petitions, supported the Child Citizen Protection Act (H.R. 182) and the Haitian Protection Act (H.R. 144), and contributed in countless ways to the fight for Roxroy’s freedom and the unity of his family. And to the faith communities, faith leaders, and staff who make the New York New Sanctuary Coalition a beacon of light. Especially, a big thank you to Roxroy for his constant courage and inspiring work on his own behalf.