New Jersey Sens Robert Menendez and Cory Booker will join activists in Washington, D.C., for a 24-hour fast in support of immigration reform.
"I'm sure that there are those who said, when Dr. King led marches and boycotts, that that was extreme and not herding the cause of movement to civil rights. I'm sure that there are those who considered Rosa Parks' defiance in sitting in the front of the bus and not the back of the bus not productive," Menendez said in a video posted Wednesday from the fast. "So history teaches us that while we would love to have a government that is responsive to us in the normal course of events, that sometimes a normal course of events isn't enough to accomplish the goal."
The Fast for Families activists began a sit-in on the National Mall last month in hopes to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the new year.
Menendez and Booker are not the first D.C. leaders to join the group of fasters. Freshman Congressman Joe Kennedy III joined Medina and the activists last week, and President Obama and the first lady visited the tent the day after Thanksgiving.
"When we began this fast on Nov. 12, we did it because we wanted to call attention to a moral crisis that is facing this country," said Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of four activists who participated in a 22-day long water-only fast, during a conference call last week. "This broken immigration system is more than a debate about numbers... At its core, it's about human beings."
Medina added that House Speaker John Boehner has "the unique power to put an end to this suffering by calling a vote," but said Boehner has refused to respond to the fasters' attempts to reach out. On Thursday, Medina tweeted the fast will move soon from D.C. to Boehner's district in Ohio. "We'll never stop til CIR passes," he wrote.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and members of the Chicago City Council's Latino Caucus began their own 24-hour fast Wednesday evening in support of the activists in D.C.