State and local elected officials staged a day-long fast on Thursday in solidarity with the hunger strikers currently protesting massive budget cuts to Philadelphia public schools. The state district attorney, three members of the city council, six state representatives, four state senators and one U.S. congressman participated in the fast.
“As a society, if we can’t educate our children, we’re not worth anything,” said Congressman Bob Brady, D-Penn., explaining his reasons joining the fast. He told MSNBC that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) talked him into the fast. The Philadelphia hunger strike was organized by another union, Unite Here Local 634, which represents the 1,202 noontime aides that would be laid off under the Philadelphia school district budget plan.
Thursday marked the eleventh day of the hunger strike, though only one of the original strikers remains. On day seven, four of the original protesters were replaced by a new round of hunger strikers. On day nine, the remaining hunger striker was sent to the hospital and began drinking juice on the advice of a doctor. The five current hunger strikes include two parents of Philadelphia public school students and two city employees.