Washington (CNN) – Several leaders of progressive organizations announced Friday they will join a group of 6,000 participants in fasting to protest budget cuts that would affect those living in poverty in the U.S. and abroad.
Executives of MoveOn.org, Service Employees International Union, the Center for Community Change, and ColorOfChange.org are among those that have jumped onboard. They will protest the proposed cuts with fasting, advocacy, and prayer, Tony Hall, former Ambassador to the United Nation Agencies for Food and Agriculture, told CNN.
The group said in a statement that their protest focuses on the proposed budget cuts that would eliminate $7.6 billion from domestic programs that impact low-income women and children. Other cuts would potentially eliminate feeding programs for 18 million of the poorest and hungriest around the world, and could cause low-income seniors to lose their monthly nutrition assistance, the group stated.
Hall and Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, announced the fast Monday with support from a broad coalition of religious leaders.
"Everybody who is fasting believes in fiscal responsibility but not in making cuts that will hurt the poorest of the poor," Ambassador Hall said, adding that he advises people to contact their representatives and pressure them not to cut funding for the poor and hungry.
"At a time when billionaires are getting massive tax cuts and Wall Street profits are sky high, balancing the budget on the back of the most vulnerable in America is simply immoral," Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org said in a statement. "I am fasting because this budget will leave pregnant women and children hungry, sick people without healthcare, children without pre-school and students without teachers-while giving tax breaks to those who caused this crises."
Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union, Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, Ritu Sharma, president of Women Thrive Worldwide, Rick Jacobs, Chair and Founder of Courage Campaign; Joaquin Guerra, Executive Director of Presente.org will be among the participants.
As the situation progresses into next week, Hall will call on members of Congress to join in the fast.