Things That Matter

While Trans Women Die In Detention Centers, Bamby Salcedo Fights For Her Community With A Determination We Rarely See These Days

@atribecalledqueer / Twitter

Prepare yourself to get familiar with an icon in the making. Bamby Salcedo was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico by a single working mother who tried to protect her daughter from hate. She couldn’t.

Salcedo doesn’t consider herself a victim. She is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, of drug addiction, of homelessness, of persecution for sex work, of the U.S. prison system. Salcedo has survived a transphobic society and considers it a privilege to work tirelessly for trans rights in an uphill battle with ICE.

Bamby Salcedo is leading the initiative to grant equal rights to detained trans women.

Untitled. Digital Image. Bamby Salcedo. 12 June 2019.

Yet, she tells Latina that she’s “just a pawn in the game.” It’s humbling to learn that Salcedo, often referred to as “La Bamby”, said, “I’m just a piece of the puzzle in the fight for trans rights, especially for trans Latina immigrants.”

La Bamby’s experience of overcoming homelessness, of being imprisoned and addiction has fueled her fire to help others.

@latinxbeauty_ / Twitter

“In my case, being homeless, having to participate in the street economy to survive, being imprisoned, being a drug addict, all of those things I faced,” were all drivers to her activism, she tells Latina. “Then, once I had the privilege and opportunity to change my life, it was me seeing my friends and those close to me that I love to continue to experience these things. A combination of both has driven me to stand up and do something about it.”

La Bamby has become an icon in her own right.

@atribecalledqueer / Twitter

This fan’s artwork depicts her as a blossoming flower, with a halo of tropical flowers. She maintains that while she knows she’s the most recognizable voice of trans Latina immigrants, she shouldn’t be.

“I am very privileged and lucky to be one of the people who gets highlighted often,” she tells Latina. “But more and more trans women immigrants, Latinas, are doing so, too, and I hope seeing me out there is encouraging for them. Sharing one’s story is a truth, and it’s impactful because it helps people understand our issues.”

Bamby’s activism led her to create the TransLatin@ Coalition in 2009.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

Bamby saw a gap in attention for the trans communities. National, trans-led organizations weren’t addressing the issues of Latina immigrants, so she did something about it.

Remember when this flag dropped at the 2018 World Series?

@labamby / Instagram

That was all TransLatin@ Coalition. “I felt my heart was dropping along with it,” she told Huffington Post. “I was kind of exploding because of the adrenaline. You don’t know what’s going to happen with the police and security and all of that.” FOX didn’t air the flag on national television, and the flag waved for a few minutes before they were escorted out.

Last year, TransLatin@ Coalition gifted LA this performance statement during the Pride parade.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

“PRIDE has historically been a protest, not a parade,” @translatinacoalition captions. “And it will continue to be a protest so long as our communities are still suffering from corrupt systems. Let us celebrate our beauty but also acknowledge there is work still to be done! There is no liberation without liberation for all. ‘HOW MANY OF US HAVE TO DIE FOR YOU TO GET INVOLVED?'”

This year, it was censored for calling out the abuse trans women face in ICE detention centers by name.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

“We marched in pride yesterday and brought attention to the state and governmental violence our community continues to face,” the organization posted. “We were censored by both LAPride and ABC7. We were told to put our signs away. Told that we should be celebrating. Pride reminded us that there is so much to be done, even within our own community. But we won’t stop bringing attention to the injustices our community is facing. Okay! #FREEALEJANDRA #JohanaMedina”

Currently, TransLatin@ Coalition is focused on freeing Alejandra Barrera, a trans woman held by ICE since November 2017.

@sonsandbros / Twitter

The campaign petition has received over 26,000 signatures, urging the U.S. government to release Barrera on parole until her next asylum court date. The longer she stays in the detention facility, the higher the risk for sexual abuse and negligent medical care.

TransLatin@ Coalition implements grassroots efforts to gain media coverage for the causes.

@translatinacoalition / Instagram

“Alejandra’s application for a stay of removal was denied for the 5th time with no valid arguments,” TransLatin@ Coalition writes on Instagram as an update to the #FreeAlejandra press conference post. “She can be deported anytime within the next couple of days. We need you all to help us to put pressure on Congress to intervene and stop ICE from potentially sending Alejandra to her death.”

We are in the midst of a week-long campaign to #FreeAlejandra.

@TransLatina_C / Twitter

If Alejandra is deported, she will inevitably be murdered. TransLatin@ Coalition describes Alejandra as “a transgender Latina immigrant who was forced to flee El Salvador due to discrimination and violence, her home country in which she has spent years fighting for respect and dignity of transgender people.”

Before founding TransLatin@ Coalition, she was the Health Education and HIV Prevention Services Coordinator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

@NationalNOW / Twitter

Needless to say, Bamby’s life mission has been to provide services to the trans community. She quit her job in 2015 to focus on trans immigrants full time.

Since then, she’s spoken at The White House and helped organize #FamiliesBelongTogether protests.

@labamby / Instagram

Bamby sees her activism as a privilege. She sees her shift in circumstances from homelessness and sex work as a privilege. That’s because, for trans women, it is a privilege when it should be an inherent right.

The issues facing trans women are nuanced and debilitating.

@prideportraits / Instagram

Trans women who flee their countries for fear of violence come to the U.S. for safety. “But things are bad here, too,” she tells Latina. “And we have to resort to the street economy, whether drugs or prostitution, to survive. Then we risk being arrested and turned into ICE, where we are detained and possibly deported. Immigration is one of the main issues impacting us, but it’s also not the only one, and I don’t want to forget that.”

La Bamby is here to fight for all women.

@labamby / Instagram

She celebrated Latina Equal Pay Day like most of our favorite feministas–with a solidarity post that read, “Today is #LatinaEqualPayDay, marking the 10 extra months Latinas must work to make the same amount white men earned last year. The gender pay gap is greatest for Latinas, who get only 54 cents for every $1 a white man makes. This is an injustice. Soy una mujer fenomenal — and I deserve the entire dollar! We’re not 54% phenomenal. We bring 100% every day & it’s time we make 100%.”

She just might be the Selfie Queen.

@labamby / Instagram

Her personal Instagram feed is a fabulous stream of selfies. Most of the captions describe what event she is going to, like this one: “On my way to bring my #TransLatinaPower to #northcarolina#deepsouth I’m going deep!! #freealejandra”

She also seems to have a healthy sense of humor.

@labamby / Instagram

This classic Strategy Selfie is captioned, “Que disque high class … #transocupayingspace con @life_as_a_queen” 😂

And she’ll take every single opportunity to talk about the cause.

@labamby / Instagram

La Bamby ran into John Legend and California’s Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris and took the opportunity to “bring your #TransLatinaPower to highlight #transissues.” 👑👑👑

Unsurprisingly, her story has been captured in documentary format for your leisurely viewing.

@NewVoicesPgh / Twitter

Peruvian Director Dante Alencastre gifted the world “TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo’s Story” and the world noticed. The film has received Long Beach’s QFilm Festival “Best Documentary” award.

There’s no question: Bamby Salcedo is the revolutionary that will push trans rights to the next level.

@TransEquality / Twitter

To do that, she’s going deep into the murky systems of ICE and making sure to keep every detained trans woman accountable. Nobody else is doing it.

READ: Check Out These 9 Trans Activists On Instagram As They Fight For Justice And Equality

Fear And Anxiety Grip Undocumented Community Nationwide As Walmart Arrests Escalate

Things That Matter

Fear And Anxiety Grip Undocumented Community Nationwide As Walmart Arrests Escalate

icegov / Instagram

As our country protests what is happening on the southern border–children in cages without enough food, water or even a bed to sleep on, separated from their family–fear of ICE reaches nationwide. In a Vermont town, undocumented immigrants and allies rallied outside Burlington Church on July 2nd, demanding an end to those very child internment camps. While showing solidarity for migrants at the border, they took the opportunity to speak up for the undocumented members of their community recently arrested while shopping at Walmart.

Three Vermont dairy workers were arrested within a single month. All arrests were made while grocery shopping at Walmart.

Undocumented organizer, Zully Palacios carried a sign with all three of their faces.

Credit: @farmworkerjustice / Twitter

Palacios herself is risking her status by speaking out, and still, she is a spokesperson for Migrant Justice. She told Vermont’s Seven Days, “As we read about what’s happening on the southern border, we must not forget what’s happening here, on the northern border.”

Federal data proves that ICE arrests have escalated under Trump’s administration.

Credit: icegov / Instagram

“These three members of our community were going about their lives, fulfilling their daily needs, shopping for food, sending money to their families in Mexico,” she told the outlet. “For that, they were detained and now find themselves behind bars.”

Ismael Mendez-Lopez, Mario Diaz-Aguilar, and Ubertoni Aguilar-Montero were stopped in the parking lot.

Credit: @TheBaxterBean / Twitter

The three went to Walmart both to buy groceries and to wire money to their families back in Mexico. Before they did that, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in an unmarked car stopped them in the parking lot. They spoke briefly and went on their way. The agent followed them. After they finished shopping at Walmart, they were arrested for not having paperwork on them. 

They’re currently being held in a New Hampshire county jail pending ICE deportation proceedings.

Credit: @Articleableinfo / Twitter

A spokesperson for Border Patrol confirmed that they were arrested “based on the information from a concerned citizen.” This was the same reason for seven undocumented farmworker arrests outside that same Walmart Supercenter since February 2018. Matt Cameron, an immigration attorney, believes that these “concerned citizens” are actually informants.

Migrant workers in Vermont are struggling to feed themselves for fear of arrest.

Credit: walmart / Instagram

A newly published research study shows that each ICE raid or arrest creates an environment of fear that tangibly affects the rest of the roughly 1,500 migrant farmworkers in Vermont. They’re afraid that every trip to go get groceries might be one they never come home from.

All it takes is one racist shopper calling ICE because they saw a brown person.

Credit: icegov / Instagram

Just like how all it took was one customer complaint to report to Dunkin’ Donuts that they suspect undocumented workers. Now, Dunkin’ is suing its own franchise owners in a massive company crackdown on hiring undocumented workers.

Trump has confirmed that ICE raids will result in thousands of arrests Sunday.

Credit: realdonaldtrump / Instagram

Roberto Suro, a public policy professor at the University of Southern California suspects that, while Sunday will deport .2 percent of those with deportation orders, the true attack is “purely psychological.” He told the Los Angeles Times, “This is yet one more example of how the Trump administration is trying to use fear as an instrument of immigration control. It generates a lot of fear and anxiety but not a lot of control. This has nothing to do with actual enforcement.”

The ICE raids are designed to cause fear for immigrants and to appease Trump’s right-wing base.

Credit: realdonaldtrump / Instagram

After news surfaced that a raid was on its way, Trump revealed to reporters on Friday that it would be a “major operation.” “One audience is supposed to feel like something is happening,” Suro said, “and the other is supposed to be scared to death.”

Since then, immigrants across the country have called out of work, further destabilizing the community.

Credit: @CosechaMovement / Twitter

Activist tip hotlines have received an influx of calls, and an advocacy group in New York has already submitted a preemptive lawsuit. The more fear he creates, the more satisfied his base will be after his failure to deliver “The Wall.”

READ: If ICE Raids Dairy Farms, It Could Make Your Gallon Of Milk $8

The Trump Administration Is Targeting Thousands Of People This Sunday In Immigration Raids

Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Is Targeting Thousands Of People This Sunday In Immigration Raids

icegov / Instagram

Since mid-June, President Donald Trump has threatened that mass raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be taking place nationwide. He said the raids would take place in 10 major cities, which included Miami, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Chicago.  He delayed those raids for two weeks and said that if the Democrats couldn’t fix the asylum laws that he would go forward. After the initial threat, people on social media were on high alert using the hashtags #ProtectOurCommunities, #ProtectMyNeighbor, and #AbolishICE. It looks like people will have to rev up those hashtags again because Trump has issued a new threat against undocumented immigrants.

ICE raids against undocumented people are supposed to take place starting this Sunday.

Credit: @mkcheok / Twitter

A New York Times report states that “two current and one former homeland security officials” said raids would be happening on Sunday and that the immigration officials already had the deportation orders for 2,000 immigrants. It’s unclear what cities ICE would target, but the article stated that ten significant cities would be on their list, which indicates that aside from Miami, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, other cities including Houston, San Francisco, and New York could also be included. Most of those cities are Sanctuary Cities, which intends to protect undocumented people.

Furthermore, undocumented immigrants that are “on the scene” while others are being detained will also get detained even if there isn’t an order for their deportation.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

The article goes on to say that ICE will go to great length to arrest as many people as they can by detaining others who happened to be around while people are being detained, that includes children. They also report that when families get arrested as a unit, they may get taken to a hotel because of crowding issues at detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. They will be held in a hotel room until their travel arrangements are made to either go a detention center or possibly be deported to their native country.

While the report does not include confirmation from ICE officials, CNN reports that acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli said the raids are indeed happening.

“They’re absolutely going to happen,” he said during a press conference. There are approximately a million people in this country with removal orders. And of course that isn’t what ICE will go after in this, but that’s the pool of people who have been all the way through the due process chain.”

There’s one city that won’t be a target, and that’s New Orleans because the state is under a state of emergency due to tropical storm Barry.

“The City of NOLA has confirmed with ICE in NOLA that immigration enforcement will be temporarily suspended through the weekend in the Barry impacted areas of Louisiana & Mississippi,” the city tweeted. “Make all storm preparations to stay safe regardless of your immigration status.”

People on social media, including several politicians, are once again campaigning efforts to help undocumented immigrants stay safe during this terrifying time of uncertainty.

Credit: @UNITEDWEDREAM / Twitter

United We Dream ‏ tweeted, “Together, we can fight back against #ICEraids, white supremacy, and scare tactics from a monstrous government. We have tools. We have power. We have community. Please share these resources widely.”

Local police in some of these cities also informed the public, via social media that they would not be assisting ICE in giving them any kind of information. The New York Police Department said that they don’t “ask about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or other people who ask for help.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also assured undocumented people that if ICE “comes knocking, you do NOT have to open your door unless there is a signed judicial warrant.”

Trump has not commented on the raids that are scheduled to begin Sunday.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has provided a handy sheet for undocumented immigrants in the case that ICE comes to their home.

Credit: @RyanValencia / Twitter
  • You have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents, or other officials. Anything you tell an officer can later be used against you in immigration court.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them if you have them with you.
  • If an immigration agent asks if they can search you, you have the right to say no. Agents do not have the right to search you or your belongings without your consent or probable cause.
  • If you’re over 18, carry your papers with you at all times. If you don’t have them, tell the officer that you want to remain silent, or that you want to consult a lawyer before answering any questions.

For more information about your rights, click here.

READ: ICE Raids Ordered To Begin On Sunday In Major Cities

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