Growing caravans of refugees, fleeing government-induced poverty, threats by drug cartels, and sexual and domestic violence, are building momentum, headed north by the thousands toward the U.S. border. Elders, women, and children are expected to arrive within weeks. Otay Mesa Detention Resistance Committee (OMDR) https://www.facebook.com/DetentionResistance/ and the American Friends Service Commitee (AFSC) are collaborating with other organizations to prepare for their arrival. For this reason, this plea is highly time-sensitive. We ask for your support today. We ask you to give generously to assist Otay Mesa Detention Resistance in assisting this rising movement of refugees.
As some of you may know, on September 15 and 16 of this year, some forty mujeres coming from the four directions and across four generations, participated in “Un Llanto Colectivo,” a public outcry of theatrical and ceremonial resistance against ICE and in support of refugees detained along the Tijuana-San Diego border. https://www.facebook.com/unLlantoColectivo/
As artists, actors, writers, danzantes & sahumadoras, teachers & activists, we were utterly changed by our experience, in San Diego, working collectively with one another and the organizers of the Otay Mesa Detention Resistance Committee.* Observing OMDR’s dedication, commitment, and tireless efforts to meet the ever-growing needs of detainees and their families, required us to look at our own lives — its privileges and our respons(e)abilities toward nuestros pueblos del sur.
Weeks before the protest, some of us — joined OMDR to meet with young people who had traveled “la bestia” and “las caravanas,” but were forced to remain in Tijuana, unable to qualify for asylum on the U.S. side of the border. We saw that they were no more than the age of many of our undergrads; some already mothers. They were single young men (some two-spirit) and fathers forced to leave their children. Everyone had stories much older than their years.
PERFORMA-PROTESTA – September 13-16.
Most of us had arrived late Thursday night. We spent one 12-hour day on Friday in training (rehearsal) and on Saturday in protest at the Downtown ICE Detention Center. But Sunday, Mexican Independence Day (9/16), was especially impactful, when we took our “Llanto” to Otay Mesa Detention Center, a desolate location 25 miles southeast of San Diego.
We entered the surrounding area ceremonially, carrying the sacred fire, with warrior drums holding down the pace of the procession. We followed the staffs of our female elders, Elvira Colorado and Hortencia Colorado, and the footsteps and birdsongs of Stan Rodríguez of the local Kumeyaay. Refugee testimonios were then rendered theatrically by our cadre of teatristas, accompanied by a coro of students and community, culminating in our collective outcry with every hope that the detainees inside the Center could hear us. Then the call finally came in, where we were able to hear the smuggled voices of detainees (reverberating through huge speaker system) thanking us for our offering. “Compañeras,” one man called us and the word resounded in each of us with new and resolute meaning.
“You are not alone,” we promised back. “No están solos.”
And so, in keeping with that promise, we have initiated this fundraising campaign to show these detainees and the entire refugee movement that we walk in solidarity with them.
As the ICE grows detention centers, we need to meet the growing needs of refugees.
Funds are needed to locate space and facilities to house and serve elders, women and children first, and all those that follow. Familias need diapers, food, clothing, fuel, drinkable water, sanitation facilities. Escalating legal and parole fees need to be paid, as OMDR helps detainees navigate a ruthless and profiteering incarceration system. Once released, families need support to transition into some kind of livable life here in the U.S.
Please pass the word to your list-servs and compatriots of like-and-open mind.
52 is a sacred number in the MesoAmerican calendrical system. It is the time of completion (the binding of the years) and great transition.
Might these times of chaos come to an end.
Might we light a New Fire for a new beginning.
It seemed a fitting amount to strive for.
gracias/thank you/ tlazohcamati
Cherríe Moraga & Celia Herrera Rodríguez (Las Maestras Center for Xicana Indigenous Thought and Art Practice -UC Santa Barbara); Roberto Hernández (Chicano & Chicana Studies, CSU San Diego); Ymoat Luna and Jeff Valenzuela (OMDR); and, El Llanto Colectivo:
Angelica Rodríguez, Jade Power Sotomayor, Felicia Montes; Elvira Colorado, Hortensia Colorado; Maya Gómez, Irene Lara, Jennie Luna; Nancy Morales, Mariela Aguilar, Diana Pérez, Patricia Ramírez, Angie García, Lexxus Edison, Cristina Frías, Vickie Grise, Estela Jiménez, Doris Difarnecio, Elvia Rubalcava, Mari Infante, Andrea Thom, Alice Joanou, Cetanzi Montes, Marlene Beltrán Cuzuhtin, Karina Muniz, Angelina Borbón, Alondra Sierra, Chil, Vicky Vértiz, Vreni Michelini Castillo, María Figueroa, Fedra Ramírez Olivares, Stephany Rubio and others.
* OMDR https://www.facebook.com/DetentionResistance/ is a member of Pueblo sin Fronteras, San Diego. https://www.facebook.com/PuebloSF
For further information, please contact OMDR: firstname.lastname@example.org
or Las Maestras Center: email@example.com