March 11th: Manisha, Families for Freedom

Families for Freedom as an organization will be fasting every Wednesday until June 2nd, 2009. Families for Freedom is a multi-ethnic immigrant defense network by and for immigrants who are facing and fighting deportation. We are immigrant families with mixed status, detainees, former detainees, and deportees already in home countries around the world. We fight for the survival of our families and for the health and prosperity of our loved ones.

I’m fasting today from sun up to sun down. I haven’t broken fast yet, but I’ve known all day what my finish line is: 6:58pm. I was hungry, but unlike yesterday when I was just too busy to eat lunch on time, my stomach has not once called out to me begging for food. I’ve been able to ease the tension of the knots slowly building in my belly just by knowing I will eat tonight when I get home. I know tomorrow I will eat what I normally eat, and life will continue as per usual.

Today, going without food is just a symbol of what it is like for families who go without seeing each other for days, months, years, decades, lifetimes. But of course, unlike my experience today, there is no clear finish line for families like Roxroy’s. Their struggles started many, many years ago. They continue fighting, even as the knots continue growing, and as their body cries out, gives in, and presses on in search of hope and finally, freedom.

At Families for Freedom, Roxroy brings that hope to every event he is a part of. Although he doesn’t know it, I sometimes think of Roxroy as my personal motivator. He speaks of truth. He speaks of justice. He inspires me everyday to keep working towards the goal of stopping deportation.

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