#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.
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!
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).
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!
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!
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Banan Abdelrahman at email@example.com.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.