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Afro-Descendant & Indigenous: "Please don't forget me." Public safety is only public safety if it includes Black men and boys.

We are OUTRAGED at the way police continue to treat the lives of Black people as expendable. Our tax dollars allow them to actively harm our communities, unless and until we make them stop. 

We are also MOTIVATED to make change. 

Please join us in supporting the installation of the Rice Butterfly Garden, in honor of Tamir Rice and his sister Tajai. When Tamir was shot by police, Tajai ran to her brother’s side. Police pushed her to the ground, handcuffed her, and threw her into a police car, where she watched her brother die and could not comfort him. The Butterfly Garden will “honor the life of Tamir Rice for his 20th birthday, and the sacrifices of his sister Tajai who survived police brutality,” according to the Tamir Rice Foundation. The installation is July 16.

Ohio Immigrant Alliance also joins Jayland Walker’s family and the greater Akron community in demanding answers, accountability, and prevention of future incidents like this latest police murder. As Madhu Sharma with the International Institute of Akron said, “There is work to do.” That work starts with education.

White people and others, listen to this podcast about the origins of incarceration in the U.S. Now you understand why the carceral system exists and why police have been able to kill Black people relentlessly, without consequence. Listen, and then tell three people what you learned. 

Speaking of incarceration...

"Take this address down, take this address down. This is where they are taking me. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. Please don’t forget me. Please don’t forget me."—Ohio man in a phone call to a friend during the Corso’s raid.

The latest edition of SEVEN DOORS, a long-term documentary project by photographer Greg Constantine, features Ohioans and other Midwesterners who have been thrown into the ICE’s “American Gulag” and spit out through the deportation machine, including the man quoted above. Constantine writes: “The project explores how governments are increasingly using detention as a significant component of immigration and asylum policy and exposes the impact, trauma and human cost detention has on asylum seekers, refugees, stateless people and migrants around the world.” 

View Chapter 3 here, and check out the entire project. Constantine says: “SEVEN DOORS aims to look beyond the physical architecture of immigration detention. It aims to share not only the darker personal stories of struggle but also the inspiring stories of survival from detention and the efforts being made to find alternatives and combat these unjust policies.”

Speaking of American gulags...

Freedom For Immigrants, Ohio Immigrant Alliance, IRTF, and others continue to raise concerns about the mistreatment of immigrants inside the Seneca County Jail. We have filed three civil rights complaints, on behalf of a dozen people, outlining gross medical neglect as well as other violations. Read the backstory here, and the complaints here. Watch this IRTF webinar.

***Sheriff Stevens fired off a testy email response to these complaints and additional feedback received from Ohioans, linking to an ICE inspection from 2021 that was conducted remotely and did not address any of the medical problems. He accused us of “spamming” his inbox and essentially called the people who filed these complaints “liars.” 

Also read and share this article from the ACLU about how ICE uses the detention system—including the Seneca County Jail, specifically—to prevent immigrants from contracting with attorneys (or communicating with attorneys they have managed to retain). The report features Gabino Medina, who had been detained in Seneca and subjected to gross medical neglect in addition to denial of his right to access counsel. According to the ACLU: “Gabino had a variety of viable legal defenses to removal, all of which were frustrated by his inability to access counsel. Had Gabino not been denied his legal right to speak with his attorneys, he could still be in the United States.”

Ohioans with cases in immigration court are 10 times more likely to succeed if they have a lawyer. That’s all the information you need to see why ICE uses detention so wantonly, and invents new ways to keep detained people from accessing lawyers. If you want to learn more about immigration system injustices and their racist roots, see this statement we put out on Juneteenth and World Refugee Day, and our testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration.

What can you do? Support the work of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Brian Hoffman’s Ohio Center for Strategic Immigration Litigation & Outreach ("OCSILiO"), and International Institute of Akron. These organizations are among the very few in Ohio that provide pro bono legal services to immigrants. Their lawyers are also among the best in the state. And both ABLE and IIA are currently hiring. If you know someone who might be interested in a legal job serving immigrants, send them their way! 

To support the Ohio Immigrant Alliance, make a tax-deductible donation here!