I interviewed Rebecca Bartel who is currently a 40-year-old professor born in Freiburg, Germany and who is teaching religious studies and Latin American Studies at San Diego State University. Professor Bartel was inspired to pursue peacebuilding by her WWII veteran grandfather and her Anabaptist faith. She lived most of her childhood and adolescence in Canada where she got her undergraduate degree in theology. She attained her Master’s degree in Bogota, Columbia where she spent her 20s, and she returned to Canada to attain her PhD. She moved to San Diego to teach at SDSU and promote social justice in the US, and she joined AlliesRead More →

This interview is with Cristina Gonzalez, a member of Allies to End Detention. She was born in Utah and eventually moved to San Diego. She is now studying Religious Studies at Grossmont Community College, and before that worked in healthcare for over a decade. This interview discusses her experience being raised Mormon, her experience as a Mormon wife, as a single mother, and as an activist. It further discusses the foundation of Allies to End Detention, and their current adaptions to their process due to COVID-19. She finally explains how Allies to End Detention saved her, and how being an activist is about loving and caring about eachRead More →

I interviewed Raj Chetty on May 13, 2020. Raj Chetty is currently a professor at San Diego State University in the English and Comparative Literature Department. In the interview, we discussed his personal experience with having a family friend being detained by ICE which is what propelled him to get involved with Allies to End Detention. This interview was conducted through Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic which shifted the focus of this project from interviewing the detainees of Otay Mesa to interviewing the individuals within the organization. Chetty is motivated to end deportation and free as many detainees as possible. Chetty wanted to share pa’lanteRead More →

Luis, a queer-identified 19-year-old boy from El Salvador, is in Otay Mesa Detention Center and writes letters with Kate Swanson of Detainee Allies. Kate is born and raised in southern Ontario, Canada, and is a professor of urban geography with a focus on social and environmental issues. She is a core member of Detainee Allies and has been involved since the beginning of the organization. The interview cover topics such as discrimination, the process of writing letters, the conditions of the detention center, and family. I met Kate at a regular meeting for Detainee Allies volunteers. My name is Saul Miranda Cardenas, a senior atRead More →

This project was conducted for the Race and Oral History Course at UCSD in the Spring of 2019. This post is a reflection on the limits of oral history and ways to overcome them through an engagement with the letter. The letter I chose was written by a Mexican mother to Detainee Allies.. She is 37 years and had been living in San Diego for 19 years before being detained. In this post, you will find a reflection on how to rethink oral history thanks to an artifact. I will provide a personal analysis of the letter, highlighting sections that articulate the following themes: endless violence, militarized border, family, vulnerability and confinement. The goal of this project is to amplify the voice of one detainee confined at Otay Mesa Detention Center. Closed from the outside world and deprived of face-to-face interactions, detainees have resorted to letter writing to speak out and to convey their humanity. Reading their letters creates a form of encounter that approximates an oral history interview. Read More →

Kate Swanson, born and raised in southern Ontario, Canada, is a professor of urban geography with a focus on social and environmental issues. She is a core member of Detainee Allies, and has been involved since the beginning of the organization. The letters cover topics such as  discrimination, the journey to the United States, detention conditions, and family. I met Kate at a Detainee Allies Monday meeting. This audio recording was done on UCSD Campus. My name is Saul Miranda Cardenas, a senior at UCSD majoring in International Studies – Political Science. I am enrolled in Race & Oral History of San Diego.Read More →

Luis, a queer identified 19 year old boy from El Salvador, who came during the caravan of 2018. He is in Otay Mesa detention center and writes letters Detainee Allies. In the two letters I engage Luis  answers questions that he received from DetaineeAllies, I received these letters from Kate Swanson, who will be introduced in the second part of my project. Kate Swanson, born and raised in southern Ontario, Canada, is a professor of urban geography with a focus on social and environmental issues. She is a core member of Detainee Allies, and has been involved since the beginning of the organization. The interviewRead 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. These writers come from diverse backgrounds, but share similar experiences throughout their journey, fleeing from many called the worst humanitarian, economic, and political crisis in Venezuela. Due to the sensitivity of their detained situation, not much is known of them other than what is written. With rising corruption and resistanceRead More →