Working with Detainee Allies for the last few weeks has been a great learning experience. It was a little unclear as to what kind of work I would be doing at first, but after attending their Monday nights organizing meeting last week, I got a better idea of how I would be working with the group. At the Monday night meeting, we got to talk to some of the folks who do the behind the scenes work for the group, which included processing letters (receiving /sending) and sending money to our detained friends. I also got to hear more about how the group started by supporting their detained friends at the Otay Mesa Detention Center, but as their friends moved to Otawa Detention Center in Michigan, they continued to support them and the people their friends met along the way.
It was eye opening being able to see the amount of background work that goes into what the group does. I noticed how there was only a small group of folks at the meeting tackling such large amount of work and I think my group and I’s labor power can be a great help to Detainee Allies. After doing the more technical stuff, we actually got a chance to look at the letters. Reading some of the letters was a pretty emotional experience for me because many of our detained friends expressed that they were detained and criminalized for nothing and the conditions they face on a daily basis are very inhumane. I think reading and having a human connection to the letters re-enforced the importance of the work Detainee Allies does and I look forward to being a part of that work and supporting our detained friends.