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Join the call to #FreeThemAll

We must work for a future without incarceration—and demand systems that promote healing, not punitive, justice.

#FreeThemAll May Day to Mother's Day Actions, May 2 – 22

Everyone deserves dignity and justice. But in the United States, 1.8 million people are locked away in prisons, jails, and detention centers because of racist law enforcement, and a legal system whose only solution is violence and confinement.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping the U.S. and disproportionately impacting incarcerated people, we mobilized under the banner of #FreeThemAll, working to get as many people out of prisons, jails, and immigration and juvenile detention centers as possible. Since then, we have made significant progress towards that goal.

In New Jersey, we helped pass legislation that made 2,000 people immediately eligible for release from state prison, and several months later helped pass another bill to phase out immigration detention in the state. In New York, we helped pass parole reform that led to the immediate release of 200 people and will keep many more out of prison. In Washington, we helped pass legislation banning private prisons and detention centers. 

But our work is not over as long as millions more remain behind bars. During the month of May, AFSC will join partners across the country to bring the force of love to the walls of jails, prisons, and detention centers. Join us in person or spirit as we lift the Light of those incarcerated. Together we’ll challenge systems that separate loved ones, harm communities, and diminish our shared well-being.

Get involved

1. Take action online. 

Tell your governor, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP): Protect incarcerated people from COVID-19 in prisons, jails, and detention centers!

2. Attend an event!

International Workers' Day Rally & Vigil for Citizenship

May 2, 6:00 p.m. MT
Aurora Detention Center (GEO)
3130 N Oakland St., Aurora, CO 80010

This International Workers' Day, we need to fight to stop family separation and uplift our essential workers through a pathway to citizenship. Join AFSC & Coloradans for Immigrant Rights, Colorado Jobs with Justice/Trabajos con Justicia, and Together Colorado as we gather outside the Aurora Detention Center (GEO) to highlight the experience of mothers in particular at this vigil. Help us uplift the message of our immigrant leaders that: “We won’t wait another second in the shadows. The moment for action is now to break our chains to claim our dignity and humanity.”

The action will call to #FreeThemAll with an emphasis on the women and mothers in detention right now as well as all mothers seeking freedom for their children behind bars. We’ll be signing Mother’s Day cards together that will be delivered to GEO and the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility on Thursday, May 5 (details below).

Love from the Walls: A #FreeThemAll Mother's Day Event

May 3, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET
4 Park St., Concord, NH 03301

Love transcends walls, bars and cages. Join AFSC's New Hampshire Program to write messages of care and resilience to and from incarcerated women in NH. We will have a potluck lunch, so please bring a dish to share and join us for free food and fellowship. All are welcome!

#FreeThemAll Tweetstorm

May 4, 12:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. MT / 9:00 a.m. PT

Take action with AFSC programs in California, Colorado, Florida and New Hampshire as we amplify the call to #FreeThemAll in a tweetstorm! Using messages and hashtags available in our toolkit, contact elected officials via Twitter to demand that they shut down prisons, jails and detention centers. Follow AFSC on Twitter here to join in!

Mother's Day Card Delivery to #FreeThemAll

May 5, 11:15 a.m. MT for people joining via car, 1:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. MT / 10:30 a.m. PT for livestream
Aurora Detention Center (GEO)
3130 N Oakland St., Aurora, CO 80010

Our call to #FreeThemAll is focused this month on the daughters and mothers* in detention right now as well as all mothers seeking freedom for their children trapped behind bars. AFSC & Coloradans for Immigrant Rights will be delivering Mother’s Day cards we signed together at our May Day Vigil to the Aurora Detention Center (GEO) and the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility.

If you would like to participate in the delivery and caravan from GEO Detention Center to the Women's Facility, meet at GEO: 3130 N Oakland St., Aurora, CO at 11:15 a.m.

*We honor all mothers and daughters—cisgendered or transgendered, biological or chosen

Mothers of the Border Rally

May 9, 11:00 a.m. ET
Rally route: Senator Cory Booker's Newark office to ICE's Newark HQ

Join mother's impacted by immigration policies and detention to demand policymakers and ICE to #FreeThemAll and #BringThemHome. For questions or to co-sponsor, please contact Chia-Chia Wang at or Banan Abdelrahman at

Welcome Moms with Dignity: Mother’s Day #FreeThemAll Celebration

May 11, 9:30 a.m. ET
Miramar ICE Processing Center
2805 SW 145th Ave., Miramar, FL 33027

AFSC Florida and the Miramar Circle of Protection celebrate all immigrants, refugees and asylum-seeking mothers from around the world reporting to the ICE Miramar Facility. Honor them on Mother's Day by ensuring these courageous women have a lovely day when they check in at the Miramar ICE office.

#FreeThemAll Card Workshop in Resistance

May 22, 12:00 p.m. PT
Centro Cultural de la Raza
2004 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101

Join AFSC's U.S.-México Border Program and Detention Resistance as we write letters to our compas detained at the Otay Mesa Detention Center. Let's write in solidarity and resistance so that they are not alone!

Letters of Love!

May 22, 12:00 2:00 p.m. ET
Miami Friends Meeting
1185 Sunset Dr., Coral Gables, FL 33143

Immigration detention is a lonely experience. A kind word in the form of a letter can make a huge difference in reminding those in immigration detention that they are not alone or forgotten. Join American Friends Service Committee Florida, the Miramar Circle of Protection and the Immigrant Action Alliance as we send letters of love! We will provide all materials and snacks. Hope to see you there!

3. Learn more about the call to #FreeThemAll. 

Explore our resources below, including highlights from our "From Attica to Abolition" webinar, recommended readings, and more. 

Learn more


Why we work to Free Them All

AFSC staff members Jordan Garcia, Grace Kindeke, Lewis Webb, and Ophelia Burnett share their perspectives on structural harms, and how we must also free ourselves of the desire to punish.

How to talk about ending incarceration and detention

Use these tips from our recent messaging study to shape your conversations with others as well as your advocacy and outreach.


A history of the Attica uprising

In popular culture, the legacy of Attica is invoked by a chant (“Attica! Attica!”) to signal that excessive force and brutalization by police is imminent. The uprising ignited a new awareness around prison conditions.


#FreeThemAll campaign gains momentum

On the anniversary of Attica uprising, thousands participate in national days of action.


Why #FreeThemAll

Instead of trying to “fix” the systems of incarceration we have, it is time for us to build something new.


Highlights: "From Attica to Abolition" webinar

Hear from Attica organizer Tyrone Larkins, environmental and racial justice organizer Siwatu Salama-Ra, immigrant rights and reproductive justice organizers, and AFSC staff Laura Magnani and Debbie Southorn. Plus, get our learning resource toolkit.

Love to Black Immigrants Video Cover

Love to Black Immigrants Teach-In & Letter Writing (Video)

 On International Migrants Day the AFSC, ABISA, the Black LGBTQIA Migrant Project, Haitian...

Compounding Suffering During a Pandemic: A Case Study in ICE's Detention Failures

AFSC, Detention Resistance, and Pueblo Sin Fronteras provide an overview of the immigration detention system, and analyze the impact of COVID-19 on individuals in ICE detention at the Otay Mesa Detention Center, and the government’s failure at providing the necessary protections.


Why we support the call to #FreeThemAll

No one is served by keeping millions in cages—not in pandemic, not ever.


Attica Prison Uprising 101

Learn more about the Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 using this primer for educators and organizers, created by By Mariame Kaba of Project NIA.



Protecting people in prison during COVID-19

AFSC's Jacqueline Williams discusses why we must free people from incarceration now while continuing our work to abolish prisons.


I'm an immigration attorney ill with COVID-19. But it's my detained clients' lives I fear for the most

As we jump through bureaucratic hoops and submit motion after appeal after petition, people are getting sicker and more scared, writes AFSC's Joelle Lingat.


COVID-19 cases are rising in U.S. prisons. I’m worried my father might be affected

Government officials must work to protect incarcerated people during this pandemic, writes Kharon Benson.


Call to reflection and worship to #FreeThemAll

See excerpts from the closing event of National Days of Action to #FreeThemAll