A student-centered collaborative initiative at UC San Diego
June 7, 2019
Detainee Allies Videos
Detainee Allies is a grassroots organization created by neighbors who felt the need to take action on the injustices they were seeing being done to people trying to immigrate to the U.S. They began locally, realizing that they were only twenty miles away from one of the most controversial borders, the San Diego and Tijuana border. Near the border was the Otay Mesa Detention Center. They chose to write letters to people being detained in Otay Mesa and received responses from people who were grateful to hear that someone outside the detention center was thinking about them. The letters quickly started flooding in and expanded to other detention centers. The content in these letters encouraged them to take a stance against the inhuman treatment of people in detention centers. They denounce the criminalization of asylum seekers and refugees that are put behind bars once they arrived in the United States and the disrespect of basic human rights. This non-profit uses letters to reach out to people in detention centers. They communicate directly with them and allow them to share their story in order to create accurate narratives available for the public. They are putting the human at the center of their mission.
We have been working with them for ten weeks now. We decided to help them to communicate their message through our project to raise awareness and bring more people onboard. We wanted to highlight the refugee voices but before doing that we needed to present the organization for our audience to understand their actions and values. Thus, for our project, we created two videos. The first one is presenting this grassroot organization through images of monday meetings, letters and an interview with Joanna. The second video is aimed to be the first one of a series. It is a poetic reading of one letter. We picked a letter written by a Mexican mother detained. These videos are made for Detainee Allies’ social media. We really wanted to promote their actions through a video as it is the medium we found the more compelling.