NATIONAL ACTION ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17
Rallies are planned all across the country at 5:30 p.m. local time to declare that nobody is above the law — especially the president.
If you can be there physically, grab a couple of friends and go.
FIND A LOCAL RALLY HERE.
Tuesday’s #JewsAgainstIce protest at the for-profit Wyatt ICE Detention Center in Central Falls, R.I., was powerful. A couple of hundred activists and allies from Never Again Action, AMOR RI, and Movimiento Cosecha — standing outside in the rain for hours — were loud enough for the 130 or so immigrant inmates to hear us and signal back to us by banging on the windows.
I’d never seen a building surrounded by so much razor wire. It is truly a blight upon the neighborhood, whose residents — many below the poverty line — had been offered a choice between a prison and a garbage dump as a way to bring revenue in. That’s how Wyatt become the nation’s first publicly owned and privately operated prison in 1993. Wyatt now gets almost $115 a day per detainee from the federal government for holding people taken in at our southern border.
Fortunately, there was no violence at this Wyatt action, unlike in August when a guard deliberately hit protestors with his truck.
There were two other Never Again Actions the same day. Seven activists were arrested while protesting outside a UMB Bank building in in Kansas City, Mo. UMB bank represents bondholders of Wyatt and has sued the mayor and city council of Central Falls, R.I., as well as the Wyatt’s corporation, for $130 million, after pressure from grassroots groups like ours pushed officials to try to get out of the federal contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The bondholders that UMB represents want the contract to stay in place in order to protect their investment.
The other protest was in Chula Vista, Calif., where six people — including two doctors — were arrested while blocking an entrance to the Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector headquarters. This was a follow-up to an action on Monday, when a group of doctors gathered outside a detention center in San Ysidro prepared to give free flu vaccines to detained immigrant children, only to be turned away. The doctors were spurred on by ProPublica’s recent release of video from May showing Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy, dying alone of the flu. This was a preventable death: In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that U.S. Customs and Border Protection vaccinate detained people against the flu last winter, but Border Patrol refused to do so. This is concentration-camp stuff, as I’ve explained before, meaning this is not a time to sit on the sidelines. If you ever wondered what you would have done in the years before the Holocaust — you’re doing it (or about to do it) now. So here are some options! If you’re a doctor, I urge you to join Doctors for Camp Closure. If you’re Jewish — whether you’re a rabbi or totally secular like me — or just someone who wants to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, sign up at Never Again Action to get involved. Among the many other worthy organizations who are fighting the good fight are:
- Movimiento Cosecha, a national, nonviolent movement fighting for the rights of immigrants;
- Families Belong Together, which targets the inhumane separation of minor children from their families;
- AMOR RI, providing support for immigrants in Rhode Island and Southern New England;
- Jewish Action San Diego, for those near the southern border camps.
If you can’t physically take part in the actions of the groups above, you can always donate! But, really, Never Again Action is everywhere ICE is — which is EVERYWHERE in this country — so I urge you to sign up there in order to find out about actions near you.
Anyway, the title of this post promised you the possibility of a laugh, which comes from the fact that somehow I agreed to be on the Facebook livestream team for the Rhode Island action. Now, I’ve done some short Instagram live stuff, but I stay away from SpaceNook as much as I can. More significantly, I have no experience ad libbing my way through two hours of live visuals. My peeps, I was shaking like a leaf! Luckily for all involved, I was paired with a wonderful woman named Ali who has theater training, radio experience, and other performance skills that made her perfect for the job. I cannot bear to watch the video myself, plus I know that the Never Again Action social-media people wove together clips from the three different actions from the individual livestreams, so I don’t know if you will get to hear me narrating myself stumbling into a ditch behind the crowd and getting blinded by the lights of the police car. Nor do I know if my cheerful commentary about trolling your Jewish parents by showing your previously over-assimilated self hanging out with Conservative rabbis is there. You’ll have to watch and tell me!
I do hope Rabbi Goldwasser’s stirring Hanukkah-inspired speech is in there in full. I found it very inspiring, and it did raise and answer a good question about why we start celebrating Hanukkah on the first day as opposed to the second day. Here’s a tiny bit of the Rabbi’s sermon from Twitter.
"As Jews we have seen this darkness before and we have prevailed. And we will do so again." – Rabbi Goldwasser#JewsAgainstICE#NeverAgainIsNow pic.twitter.com/bFYGrPKS7w
— ✡️ Never Again Action ✡️ (@NeverAgainActn) December 10, 2019
Please do share the videos on your SpaceNook pages to raise awareness. You can also share the information about the “Nobody Is Above the Law” national day of action that is at the top of this post too. Thanks in advance!