September 01, 2012
“Until The Lion doesn’t say his side of the story, his murderer The Hunter will always get away with the Glory” African Proverb
The No papers No Fear Journey for Justice made its arrival to Atlanta, Georgia on August 22nd, and started the visit with a protest outside the Atlanta City Detention Center. This is where victims of the collaboration between local law enforcement and immigration agents, through programs like Secure Communities, are held, sometimes for long periods of time. Here, immigrants without papers, are held in detention even after they paid their time for what ever "crime" they were accused of - often non-violent- and then turned over to immigration authorities.
We met with several local organizations, including the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) and Southerners On New Ground (SONG) to hold the protest outside the detention center, we had banners with messages such as “Immigrants are not for $ale” And of course “Sin Papeles Y Sin Miedo” (no papers no fear). At the press conference, both people from the local community, community organizers, and No Papers No Fear riders, were able to speak to the protesters and the press, including myself.
Since we had got there I started reflecting about the detention center. You could hear the voices of the people locked up from across the street. It made me remember my own experience last year when I spent a month in a detention center in Florence, Arizona.For example, the way they are located, built and disguised so people passing by would never notice what's going on inside these buildings.
It is depressing to think about how many fathers, mothers, honest workers, students and people in general that have no reason to be there are incarcerated, and all the profit that is being made on the daily thanks to the oppression through racist, targeting, hateful laws like Alabama's HB 56, Georgia's HB 87. These these detention centers are private signing millionaire contracts with the Department Of Homeland Security, charging for detainees “housing."
I believe it is very important to expose these private prisons and invite the community to step up, and speak out about the injustices, the abuses and the hate going on inside of these detention centers. The families that have been ripped apart because of the deportations, is time to speak, to rice our voices and not only that but take action, take the wheel of our own destiny and rebuild it our way, in a just, dignified and equal way.