“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 the way I think about the detention centers. The way I think about community organizing, grass-root organizations; community as a whole. Even under horrific circumstances, referencing to the detention centers, people are still able to organize and help each other. For example, the LGBT community inside the Otay Mesa Detention Center is resilient, and they help one another whether it is with mental health, money, food, or personal items. They understand, like many other groups of people, by organizing they have a higher chance of surviving through the hostile political climate. It is dehumanizing. People are organizing, but they do it to survive. The environment/situation they are in opens a market for community building within each cell. We are social beings, so of course, given the circumstances in detention center, there will be formations of communities that helps one another with language, translations, writing, reading, communicating, and so on, because they acknowledge their humanity when the oppressive government around them does not. Referencing James Baldwin, this is the fire next time. Those who read this, take away this: Otay Mesa Detention Center is 45mins away from San Diego, 40 miles away. The U.S.-Mexico Border is 30mins away from San Diego, 30 miles away. For those who are unfamiliar with the geography around San Diego, this is taking place in your area. This is not hundreds of miles away where it can be disregarded. I encourage everyone to explore the uncomfortable space the U.S. established to control the fate of people, to understand what is happening. Take action by organizing or joining an organization that trying to make an impact, learn about the immigration law system; it’s history to see the road blocks that our government has presented various times, read some letters or listen to personal stories about people who immigrate to seek a better life, because their home has no opportunities for success or due to the violence, then reach out to your county, state, congressional representatives. Letter writing is a great form to express your ideas and holds them accountable, because you are signaling that you’re watching. Ultimately, voting in your state election is valuable, because your vote will give that person a job. And we all know how important a job is. Organize, educate yourself, and vote consciously. “Refuse your fire to be dampen by overwhelming bleakness and darkness” (Cornel West). Be a force for good. Don’t wait for the hope to come knocking on your door, Be the Hope.
May 23, 2019
Why Organizing is Important. Detainee Allies.
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