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 expandedRead More →

Ivette Lorona, a second-year graduate student at San Diego State University studying Public Health and Latin American Studies, is the head intern coordinator for Detainee Allies, a grassroots organization that writes letters to detained migrants and asylum-seekers. Ivetteā€™s academic work focuses on health promotion and behavioral science, and she is particularly interested in the health outcomes of people who live in Tijuana and cross the U.S. border to work and/or go to school in San Diego. This interview covers a range of topics, such as: immigration, detention centers and the conditions of those inside, letter writing, and community. What I found most intriguing during thisRead More →

I have been to Chicano Park a few times. It’s one of those places that I learn or find something new every time I visit. Although I have lived in San Diego all my life, I regrettably don’t take trips down there very often. I love visiting this park because it’s so rich in history and resistance of the Chicanx community. In this trip I learned a little bit more of what gentrification means and what that looks like in this community. Chicano Park is wedged in between two freeways that ironically merge to meet one of the richest areas in all of San Diego.Read More →

Although I’ve only been to two meetings so far, I am really grateful be partnering with them for this project. This past week I was able to read some of the letters that had been sent in from the detention center. Even though I only read a couple of them, I still found myself being overcome with emotion at the fact that I could practically hear the sadness and desperation in their words. When we read them we had to be on the look out for certain things such as what is it they’re asking for. I wish I was able to attend the MondayRead More →