L.A. Teens Fast For Central American Immigrants
Updated at the bottom with an L.A. city councilman joining in. Bet you can guess which one ...
When you were a teenager you hung out at the mall, made mixtapes and ate McNuggets. These here L.A. kids are going without food this week to support the children coming to the United States illegally from Central America.
The young people "will be drinking water only" through Friday, a rep tells us. The group of seven includes two 15-year-olds. The rest are 18 to 22. They started fasting on Monday.
According to a statement from organizers, the young people want their peers from down south to receive refugee status in the United States:
Fasters are calling for the children and their families to be treated with compassion and are asking Congress and the President to grant them refugee status.
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Many of the thousands of Central America children who have crossed the border this summer are fleeing the violence of gangs that, ironically or not, were born and bred right here in Los Angeles.
Honduras appears to be the man source of many of these juveniles, and in that country 18th Street and Mara Salvatrucha are in a war that has seen many children slaughtered.
In Los Angeles those two mega-gangs have lived side-by-side in relative peace in recent years — in Pico-Union and in Koreatown.
In the meantime some Republicans, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, want to deal with the matter by so-called militarizing the U.S.-Mexico border to ensure that these undocumented youths don't step across the line and receive an opportunity to argue their cases for refugee status.
Yamilex Rustrian is described by fast organizers as "a recent high school graduate who left Guatemala at age seven with her younger sister after their father was shot by gang-members." Here's her take on the crisis:
My heart broke hearing stories on the news of all the children forced to leave their country because they did not feel safe. I understand how scared they must be because 12 years ago, I was one of them.
Fasters have been gathering for late-morning appearances at Father Serra Park, 125 Paseo De La Plaza, downtown.
Maybe Perry will send them a care package filled with bullets.
[Update at 4:02 p.m.]: If you guessed that the L.A. city councilman who says he's joining the fast is Gil Cedillo, you are correct.
Cedillo was known during his time in Sacramento as "One Bill Gil" for his repeated efforts to get legislation passed that would allow the undocumented to obtain drivers licenses. That dream ultimately happened, and the DMV is currently trying to work out what such a drivers license would look like.
In the meantime, the councilman says he'll dive into this fast at 1 p.m. tomorrow.