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West Region News December 2020

Highlights of work from around the region

Colorado FTA virtual concert
Photo: Colorado / AFSC

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Immigrant Rights Program, Denver 
Virtual concert aspires for a world where all people are free
Join AFSC in Colorado for Imagining a World Without Cages, a virtual concert set for Thursday, Dec. 17 at 6:30 pm MT (5:30 pm PT). “We've heard from you, our community, a yearning to be invited into believing and imagining the next level of being human - a world we can touch and live into, one without jails, prisons and detention,” organizers write. “There'll be creative calls to action throughout the night, so be ready to participate!” The event is part of AFSC’s national #FreeThemAll Days of Action from December 10-18.

US-Mexico Border Program, San Diego
New report looks at community resilience to ICE practices
The current administration’s relentless efforts to attack migrant and border communities has resulted in the further militarization of border communities, contributing to an increase in the number of migrants detained at ports of entry, on public streets and highways, at court, and while working. AFSC has compiled a new report that analyzes the way in which ICE officers identify, arrest, and detain migrants in San Diego County.

The report also discusses the resiliency of migrant workers and looks at how community organizing and advocacy can be cathartic and provide relief from the trauma of having gone through a violent immigration enforcement experience. The recommendations in the report provide guidance on how to move away from an enforcement-only approach to migration and migrant workers.

A new in-depth guide from WITNESS, Video as Evidence: U.S. Immigration, is designed for immigration attorneys and community members looking to better utilize video as a tool in their legal cases. A recent launch event featured Benjamin Prado of AFSC, who also shares this video from community partner Unión del Barrio, which organizes community patrols in San Diego. The video portrays successful work to save a family from the grips of Border Patrol and ICE agents.

67 Sueños, Oakland
New staffer joins organizing work against state and police violence
Ericson “E” Amaya Bonilla recently joined the 67 Sueños team as a lead organizer. Born in El Salvador, he was raised in Deep East Oakland and joined 67 Sueños as a high school intern in 2013. During his time at 67, “E” discovered poetry as a tool that allowed him to express himself and take control of his life. While getting himself through college, he has continued to mentor and organize over 100 Oakland youth each year. Learn more on Instagram about the dynamic young people involved with 67 Sueños.

                                       Art: @67 Sueños

Healing Justice Program, Oakland
Webinar looks at student safety and police-free schools
The safety of students of color is jeopardized by use of police in schools—and across the country, students and allies are working for police-free schools. In this recent AFSC webinar, we heard from young organizers in Oakland, St. Louis and Chicago about both successful strategies and stumbling blocks in their work. Whether you are already engaged in a campaign locally or just want to learn more, please listen as young people envision a future that invests in school safety through student wellbeing, not policing.

A shed converted to a walk-in cooler (photo: Patrick Jaramillo)

People of the Land Program, Albuquerque
Building very cool infrastructure in New Mexico
“One of the ways AFSC works in New Mexico is by helping to develop needed infrastructure on farms and in communities,” writes Patrick Jaramillo of AFSC. “We work with small scale farmers, community members and organizations who grow food to increase access to healthy, local food by those who need it in our communities.” Patrick explains how innovative cold storage is a viable, low-cost option for small-scale farmers. Join AFSC-NM’s year-end celebration on December 17.

Pan Valley Institute (PVI), Fresno
Webinar to look at Social change in the Central Valley
“Noteworthy changes have swept across the Central Valley's political landscape over the past 10 years as an increasing number of women, younger Latinx and people of color run for public office,” writes Myrna Martinez Nateras of AFSC. The ArteVism Fellows have been busy organizing a webinar on December 14 to dialogue with some of the poeple shaping the new political fabric and what role young adults can play in increasing their active citizenship.

Roots for Peace (R4P) Program, Los Angeles
Tending to what matters the most
Roots for Peace people are “tending after the land, our communities, and ourselves. Thank you to the little critters and all other life forms who have blessed us with their medicine. Honoring the grief, uncertainty, joy, and everything else in between that folks have been experiencing. Transformative shifts are coming in the garden and beyond.” Visit R4P on Instagram for more beautiful photos and videos about their work.

Economic Activism Program, Oakland
Turning up the heat for Palestinian rights
Can what you bake make a difference? AFSC encourages you to join our No Dough for the Occupation campaign to hold Pillsbury and its parent company, General Mills, accountable for manufacturing products on occupied Palestinian land. We ask that you post a picture of a baked good on social media using this caption: “I made this without any @Pillsbury products. #BoycottPillsbury.” If you want, add more information about why you’re boycotting Pillsbury and tag AFSC’s social media accounts.

Project Voice Immigrant Rights Program, Oregon-Washington
Webinar looks at migration in Central and North America
Pedro Sosa of AFSC recently participated as a panelist in a webinar entitled “Migrations in the Central-North America Circuit,” organized by the Central American Institute for Social Studies and Development, part of the Group for the Promotion of Applied Research in Human Rights (PIADH). The webinar looked at many topics, including how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting migration. Follow Pedro’s work on Facebook.

Arizona Program, Tucson
AFSC urges action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives
In light of the largest known outbreak of COVID-19 inside Arizona state prisons, AFSC-AZ is renewing its call for immediate action to protect incarcerated people. On December 8, under pressure from families across the state who have demanded truth and transparency, Arizona’s prison authorities revealed that, of 1,066 people incarcerated inside the Yuma state prison complex’s La Paz Unit, 655 tested positive for COVID-19. It is the largest outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic. With additional upticks at other facilities, we fear that, without immediate intervention, this trend will continue. Read more about the measures AFSC is urging to save lives.

María Jiménez, Rest in Power
María Jiménez, a former AFSC staff member and human rights trailblazer for border communities, passed away recently. She directed AFSC’s Immigration Law Enforcement Monitoring Project (ILEMP) from 1987 until 2003. To learn more about María's life, read this article from 2015.

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