transcript here Kate Swanson, originally from Canada, is a professor of human geography at San Diego State University. Her work specifically focuses on youth migration in Latin American and at the U.S.-Mexico Border. As a member of Detainee Allies, Kate works firsthand with letters the group receives from detained refugees from the Otay Mesa detention center and Etowah County Jail. In this interview, Kate talks about the work Detainee Allies does, the conditions refugees face in detention centers, and the importance of community organizing. I am currently a second year undergraduate at  the University of California, San Diego, majoring in Ethnic Studies and History. ThisRead More →

A collection of letters written by Venezuelan detained migrants covering the topics of their life in Venezuela, conflict, their detained experience, and their collaboration with Detainee Allies. These letters were written by six people whose identities are kept anonymous, known only by their initials: E. L., S. G., A. R., M. W., and M. R. With rising corruption and resistance throughout Venezuela caused by various political and economic factors, these letters portray the injustices they fled, only to be met by another at the US-MX border. Many recall what is considered the ‘worst humanitarian crisis in the history of Venezuela,’ telling of physical abuse, foodRead More →

Ramla Sahid did not consent to have the audio recording of the interview uploaded. However, she did consent and approve the use of the interview transcript. Ramla Sahid was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1986 and is the founder and executive director of the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA). The interview discusses her early childhood leaving the war with her family; the resettlement of some of her family members in Ethiopia; the year she spent with her family in a Kenyan refugee camp; her experience with dual-language immersion in Dallas, Texas; and her experience growing up with, and the subsequent importance of,Read More →

This interview with Noun Abdelaziz was facilitated by Reem Zubaidi at the Refugee Health Center. Noun and I met at the Refugee Health Center and conducted the interview in the conference room. We discussed Noun’s background, including where she grew up, what her family was like, and her experiences in grade school. Noun moved to City Heights when she was 10 years old after moving with her family from Egypt. She started work at the Youth Advisory Council in her second year of high school and is continuing to work to correct food and health disparities 3 years later. Noun was a key member inRead More →

Salma Parra is an incoming freshman (2019-20) at University of California, San Diego with the major Public Health. She is interested in the intersections of healthcare and Latinx community as she is planning on pursuing a double major in Chican@ Studies. She identifies as an upcoming first-generation, working-class college student. This interview covers a range of topics surrounding identity, family, higher education, community, and being Mexican-American. These specific topics covered all factor into how she navigates the world and guided her endeavor in pursuing higher education. I met Salma after reading her scholarship application at the Barrio Logan College Institute and I was so inspiredRead More →

This trip was my first time going to Chicano Park, a place I have always wanted to visit due to how rich and bountiful its history is, and the significance it holds for the primarily Latinx residents of Barrio Logan. It was very humbling to be able to visit, and feel the monumentality that comes with decades of art, activism and community building. Throughout my the trip I found myself very fixated on the year 1970, the year the park was established. I was asking myself the question: What was it like at that time? Which administration was in power? What was the dominant narrativeRead More →

On Thursday, May 3, 2019, our Race & Oral History class took a trip to Chicano Park in Barrio Logan, San Diego. Beneath the on-ramp to the Coronado Bridge, Chicano Park is a hidden gem of San Diego with a rich history intertwined with the Mexican-American and Chicano communities of the barrio. This was my fourth time to Chicano Park, but every single time I return, I find even more beautiful murals, hear new stories, and see the developing impacts of gentrification. Prof. Luis Alvarez from the UCSD History Department gave us a brief lecture on the history of Chicano Park. The land that ChicanoRead More →

The past two Monday’s at BLCI have been dedicated to Financial Literacy workshops ran by a University of San Diego graduate student. The information she provided was not only relevant to the 9th grade students but relevant to me as well. The first Monday of the Financial Literacy workshop the students were able to fill out a worksheet to provide the presenter with some basic information about them. They seemed a little less engage with this part of the workshop however when they were given play-doh and legos as a creative way to answer questions they became more engaged. The second part of the workshopRead More →

The further I dive into the work that Detainee Allies does, I realize how much time, energy, and passion go into humanitarian projects such as theirs. It began as letter writing but has since evolved into a greater organization consisting of newsletters, informative videos, community organizing, and hosting numerous fundraisers to donate to migrants. Also, projects like these that expose the harsh reality of detained migrants in the united states, along with their stories of life back home can take really impact one emotionally. Reading of one’s abuse and denial of medical treatment make me wish that there was more I could do. At timesRead More →

“Use your imagination; Organize, organize, organize; consistency.” We write letters to share a piece of ourselves with others. Depending on the information, we are able to share with people a side of ourselves that no one knew. Language is important. When you speak the common language, you are communicating to people. When you speak the language they were raised in, you are speaking to their heart. As Detainee Allies receives more than 80 letters on a weekly basis, each letter is a connection to a human being. Each human being is sharing who they are with us. My experience with Detainee Allies has changed theRead More →