Dear Future HIUS/ETHN 120D Student, I am so glad you decided to take this class. Whether you are taking it as a major requirement, for general education, or just for fun, there is so much that this class will offer you! It’s up to you to make the most of what is in front of you and I would love to offer you my own experiences, as well as some suggestions as to how you might make the most of the class. Over the course of the class, I worked with the group Detainee Allies. Things were a bit messy at the beginning, as DetaineeRead More →

Working with Detainee Allies this quarter has been such an amazing opportunity. Eye-opening, difficult at times, inspiring, and fulfilling are just a few words that describe what it’s been like. Every Monday night, we joined the group at one of the member’s house, reading letters and sending them out. The first few gatherings we went to scared me because of how informal they were; they felt structureless, which is not something I’m used to. However, about a month and a half has passed and I realized that the informality of the work the group does is what makes it so amazing. Not only have manyRead More →

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 →

At the last Monday night meeting I attended, I had such a big learning experience. As usual, as we stuffed envelopes to send out to our detained friends at Otay Mesa and Etowah, we also got to read through the incoming letters. As I was going through the letters, I came across a thick stack of papers (roughly 15 pages), which was unusual because the letters I have read this far have only been about 1-2 pages. When I began to read the stack of papers, a ton of emotions hit me at once. One of our detained friends was writing to Detainee Allies toRead More →

Last Thursday, our class went on an excursion to Chicano Park. Though I have seen the park in passing from the freeway a handful of times, I never thought too much about its location — my thoughts mostly went something like “wow, that looks so colorful and pretty”. Looking at the park from ground level was such a contrasting experience. While the park was just as beautiful and colorful, it was impossible for me to ignore the big gray freeway cutting through the park. Based on the readings we did before our visit, I learned that when the freeway was first constructed, the area belowRead More →

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 byRead More →