Friday, July 31, 2015

Serenade to End Family Detention Centers

Left to Right: Leng Leng Chancey (NAPAWF Communications and Development Director),  Sameera Hafiz (We Belong Together Campaign Policy Director), Meghna Damani (Immigrant rights activist and maker of “HeartSuspended”), Miriam Yeung (NAPAWF Executive Director and Co-Chair of We Belong Together Campaign), and Representative Judy Chu (D-CA).

By Miriam Yeung (We Belong Together)  - There is a crisis of conscience in our country regarding our immigration system right now and I’m dropping a note to let you know how proud I am of the fierce Asian American and Pacific Islander women who are standing up to injustice.

NAPAWF held a first-ever Congressional briefing on Asian American women and immigration policy.

NAPAWF sisters Leng Leng Chancey and Meghna Damani bravely shared their own personal stories of how family visa backlogs and work prohibitions on immigrant women gravely affect our lives.

Following our briefing, the Congressional Progressive Caucus hosted an End Family Detention Congressional Forum.

Rep. Judy Chu spoke at both events, powerfully lifting up the history of injustice against AAPI women and girls and eloquently making the connections between the detention of immigrant families today to the internment of Japanese Americans in the past. We Belong Together, co-anchored by NAPAWF and National Domestic Workers Alliance, was able to bring two mothers to testify at this important forum. 


Last week, in an important lawsuit initiated by attorneys for detained migrant mothers, a federal judge ruled that the detention of children and their mothers is in breach of the law, and that the families should be released as soon as possible. 

Judge Dolly Gee, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, issued a ruling that affirms what detained mothers have been exposing since the Obama Administration reopened the practice of mass family detention last summer, but the fight to end this deplorable and unnecessary practice isn’t over yet.

Leng Leng Chancey, Meghna Damani, Rep. Chu, Judge Gee are standing on the side of justice this week.

Stand with us.

Judge Gee gave the administration until August 3rd to respond to her order. That means we only have a few days to make our voices heard and urge the Obama administration not to appeal Judge Gee’s decision. Join us in calling on the Department of Homeland Security to free all the families and shut down the detention centers, not draw this crisis out further.

The two moms who testified on Tuesday, Gladys and Sonia described how their children were denied appropriate medical care and left with a lifetime of trauma, as well as how they bravely protested their treatment and fought to be released. They were joined by Oliva López, a social worker who resigned from her position at the Karnes detention center after witnessing “frightening” and “abusive” institutional patterns that violated mothers’ rights and put children’s health and wellbeing at long-term risk.

The courage these women show inspires us to keep up the pressure until the day migrant families are welcomed and protected, not locked up in prisons. Thank you for taking action with us.

Community Concert Outside Immigrant Prison

What: Chant Down the Walls Concert with Los Jornaleros del Norte & Grammy Award-Winning Quetzal followed by Clitoral Mass Bike Ride

When: Saturday, August 1, 2015, 11:00am-1:00pm

Where: Metropolitan Detention Center, 535 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Who: National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Ovarian Psycos-Cycle Brigade, ICE Out of Los Angeles Coalition Members, and community members from across Los Angeles

Why: Current immigration policy would have us believe that our communities are divided between those that are deserving and those that are undeserving of relief. The current attacks on immigrants with criminal priors, whatever those may be, underscores the cloud of suspicion that exists for all immigrants and people of color in the US. Chant Down the Walls seeks to remind us that those in detention are our family members, loved ones, and are as deserving as anyone outside of relief, of equal protection, and of freedom from detention. That is why we reject the idea that we can be divided between felons and families. Felons are also family. And everyone deserves equality, no exceptions.

"Because we know that music occupies space, a sonic space that cannot be physically removed, we sing to those inside the detention centers. It is our way of touching one another when we are separated by these harsh and unjust laws that continue trying to divide us," says Xochi Flores, NDLON event organizer and member of Cambalache. "Music has become a vehicle by which we mobilize, cultivate community and tell our stories."

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