Thank you for any and all attention towards the kids who are being held and interned! The more we can shine light on what is happening, the more we will be able to organize around these kids’ care and well being.
Sunday, July 1, 2018
For Immediate Release—
Two Arrested in Fairfield While Attempting to Deliver Toys to Kids Separated from Parents at the Border
Fairfield, CA – On Sunday, July 1st, 2018, two members of Solidaridad con los niños were arrested while peacefully attempting to deliver toys and books to the kids being held in Fairfield, CA, who were separated from their parents at the border. Others in the group sang kids songs while the arrest was happening.
UPDATE: the video footage of the arrests has gone viral on facebook and may be viewed here: oo.gl/bivEZ9)
The facility, which is called Baptist Child and Family Services, at Fairfield 2301 Pennsylvania Ave, Fairfield CA, was unobtrusive and had no identifying signage.
According to Channel 13 CBS Sacramento News, at least a dozen of the immigrant children who were recently torn from their families at the US-Mexico are still being held at this location away from their families. (source:goo.gl/G4yoAL)
Our group, consisting of mostly mothers and grandmothers and childcare providers, intended to deliver toys and books to the children, and also sing them lullabies in Spanish.
As we approached the facility, a uniformed man emerged and barred us from moving closer. Several police officers soon arrived and stood alongside the man. The man wore a beige uniform, typical of a prison guard.
Many in the group stepped back to the sidewalk. They began to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in Spanish with the hope that the children would hear them.
As the others sang, two members of the group, Elizabeth “Liz” DeCou, grandmother of six, and Jesse Ingbar, 27, continued to peacefully approach the facility with toys in their hands. “Why won’t you let us see these kids?” DeCou asked the uniformed man.
Liz, a registered nurse, has worked with new mothers in prenatal care. As part of her nursing work, Liz has gone to facilities near the border and helped mothers give birth while in chains. The police removed the toys from Liz’s hands and cuffed her.
Jesse Ingbar, a graduate of Haverford College, also attempted to walk towards the facility with a stuffed animal in his hands and was arrested.
In the days leading up to this incident, members of the group attempted to contact the facility to volunteer to visit the children and to coordinate the drop-off of the toys and books that had been collected for them. Our calls were unanswered, our voicemails unreturned.
The group included around 35 people. We gathered beforehand at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universals (BFUU) at 1924 Cedar Street and practiced singing in Spanish with members of the church choir before carpooling to the facility together.
The toys and books and hand-written notes were collected for the children in affiliation with the Golden Gate Chapter of Code Pink.
Baptist Child and Family Services , the group that runs the Fairfield facility where the arrests happened, is a private NGO that has received over $500 million since 2015 from the United States government to hold migrant children who have attempted to seek asylum at the US-Mexico border.
Many in the caravan group expressed surprise that immigrant children were being held so close by in the Bay Area. “I wanted to see it with my own eyes,” said Karma Bennett, “and we want them to know we have our eyes on them.”
Following her release, Liz said, “Why was I arrested for wanting to offer comfort to a child?”
Following his arrest Jesse had this to say, “I don’t think I’d be comfortable living with myself if dissent against this wasn’t on the record.”
Not a single toy was delivered to the children. But with hope, they heard us singing.
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Liz and Jesse stood up in solidarity with the kids who are being held and interned. You can too. Learn more here:
More photos and video footage of the arrests may be found here: goo.gl/bivEZ9)
Friday June 28, 2018
For Immediate Release—
Omni-Partisan Group to Travel to California Internment Camp Sunday July 1st
This Sunday, a caravan will be leaving from BFUU in Berkeley to go to kids internment camps and related sites. All are invited to join us at noon for a potluck and the caravan send off. Some plan to travel as far as Texas, but most folks in Sunday’s caravan will be headed to a location 1-2 hours away.
We will be holding peaceful vigil outside the child internment camps and related facilities, with the aim to bring comfort to the kids interned, shed light on what is happening, and to put pressure on the powers that be to put the internment to an end. We will sing songs together in Spanish and other Latin American languages. Interested participants should bring candles for a candlelight vigil, and also enough snacks and water for the full day. The caravans will leave at 1pm Sunday from BFUU, 1924 Cedar Street, Berkeley 94709. We are omni-partisan. Anyone can stand in solidarity with the kids interned.
Atrocities have been happening at the border for many years, but this year, a series of horrific new policies and legal changes have created a humanitarian crisis. Currently, over 10,000 immigrant children are still being held in US custody away from their families. Although the family separation policy ended on June 20th, whole families are now being detained at alarming rates. Presently, the administration is fighting to remove laws preventing children from being imprisoned for longer than 20 days, and also, a leaked memo shows their interest in turning the naval base in Concord, CA into a concentration camp holding 47,000 people, including children.
“We need to see what’s happening at these places. We need them to know the people are watching,” said Karma Bennett, one of the participants in the caravan. She added, “Every American should be watching these camps right now, no matter what their political affiliation. History has taught us bad things happen when Americans look away.”
We are not an official organization. We are women and women’s accomplices from all walks of life and backgrounds who have been meeting up in backyards, kitchen tables, and preschools in Berkeley. We are united by our desire to stand in solidarity with the kids who have been interned, some with their parents, and others without. Solidaridad con los niños!
Solidaridad con los niños. Solidarity with the kids.
Contact: Samara Hayley Steele, solidaridadconlosninos[at]gmail[dot]com, 213-663-0807