Day 14 and I am on the verges of desperation.
I have gone again to the elementary school to prepare for a meeting we are having with the parents but I am very weak. I feel dizzy and can’t concentrate.
There is a group of 5th and 6th graders who come at lunchtime when I am there. We usually talk and interact with each other. Today, they came with their trays carrying potatoes, pizza and kiwi. The smells intensify when you are fasting, making my stomach recognize every single thing they were eating. I had to go home soon after that.
I have lost 12 pounds in two weeks and am starting to worry about my health. I keep thinking that this might be taking a toll on my body that might be irreversible. After getting up from a nap, I get a cup of tea and sit in the couch wondering what I should do.
Later, I join other members of the Latino Youth Coalition for a meeting at 360, a youth program sponsored by Indianapolis Black Expo. They have different locations and get to teach young Indianapolis youth how to film, interview, edit and do all the post production work involved in video.
Three other participants in the Hunger Strke go as well. After the meeting, we start talking about our health. We share how we have lost the equilibrium and fallen, how we cannot do our jobs efficiently, how LBJ’s chest the night before felt as if the blood flow was dancing all across his body in very unnatural ways.
Marco says it best when he says “the physical pain of not eating, cannot be compared to the pain of what it is to be undocumented.” That is when we all look at each other in agreement, that is why we have been 14 days without food.
After the meeting and talking with my fellow strikers, I realize that after 14 days of not eating, there is still much work to be done and if this is the right way to go about doing it. We have been fasting alongside others in 26 other states. In Indiana, I am starting to wonder if educating the broader community about how oppressions intersect might not be a better course of action for me and other undocumented immigrants.
I’m hungry. And I’m starting to feel ill. Even if I stop striking and eat again soon, there is still much work to be done.
I am beginning to see my efforts transform into a life mission of dialogue between unlikely allies. Working to help others understand how regular people like you and me can and will make a difference if we turn of our televisions, log off of Facebook, and begin to interact face-to-face with our neighbors. Making small efforts to understand the humanity of others and what makes them cry, laugh and what pain we have inside that makes us who we are.
Only then can we understand what the forces behind institutions, governments and NGOs that are either perpetuating or obstructing cycles of oppression. And, as a result, continuing further harm to our souls, families, our communities and our world.
The US Senate is expected to re-address the DREAM Act this week, possibly holding a vote before Friday. Contact Indiana Senators Bayh and Lugar to express your support or opposition to the bill:
Sen. Evan Bayh: 131 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510; phone, (202) 224-5623; fax, (202) 228-1377; www.bayh.senate.gov.
Sen. Richard Lugar: 306 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510-1401; phone, (202) 224-4814; fax, (202) 228-0360; www.lugar.senate.gov.