Things That Matter

For This Year’s July 4th Consider Volunteering Your Time With Organizations Meant To Help Migrants And Dreamers

Every 4th of July millions of Americans celebrate Independence Day. But besides enjoying a family meal and the night sky sprinkled with fireworks, and having a chela while brushing up on your US history, this holiday is also a good opportunity to remember and live by the American values of community, solidarity, and hospitality.

In these politically turbulent years there have been many recent attacks on people of color and refugees, brutal limitations to female reproductive rights, attacks against ethnic and religious minorities, and abusive treatment at detention centers that verge on the illegal, that perhaps the only way to celebrate to volunteer and help one of the many organizations that are fighting against injustice and for a fairer United States. As Barack Obama once said about community organizing and volunteerism: “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.” ¡Así que manos a la obra!

ProLiteracy (nationwide)

Credit: Instagram. @proliteracy

This is a pretty awesome organization that has a very clear and important goal: to increase literacy levels in the adult population, with the belief that every adult has the right to learn how to read and write. You can volunteer by teaching others to increase not only basic literacy but also maths and computer literacy, which can help others increase their employment prospects and play a larger role in their family and social lives. This organization has a volunteer workforce of 85%. This seems like an awesome and frankly very relevant place to start making a difference.

Learn more here.

Latinas Contra Cancer (California)

image. Latinas contra cancer

This organization provides counseling and help to Latinas who are undergoing the hard road of facing cancer. It was founded to “address the void in culturally and linguistically sensitive programs that meet the health care needs of Latinos around issues of cancer.” If you are bilingual and willing to help, and live in the Silicon Valley area, this might be the place for you. They are involved in detection and screening, patient support, research and many other activities.

Learn more here.

The Trevor Project

Credit: Instagram. @trevorproject

This organization offers help to LGBTQ youth that are in dire need of help. They rely on volunteer work, in a program that aims to “provide life-saving support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) youth, The Trevor Project recruits passionate volunteers to staff our crisis intervention services”. The organization was founded in 1998 by the directors of the short film “Trevor,” which won an Oscar (you can watch the movie here ).

Learn more here.

Angry Tias & Abuelas

Credit: Facebook. @AngryTiasAndAbuelas

This recently formed group’s mission is to “advocate for dignity and justice for individuals and families seeking asylum at our borders. As they embark on their journeys to destinations across the U.S., our aim is to assure their basic health and safety needs are met”. They provide basic needs such as water, food, toiletries and other items to those who are released by ICE in their centers near Brownsville, Texas. The best way to contact them and offer help is through Facebook.

Learn more here.

Border Angels (California)

Credit: Instagram. @borderangelsofficial

This organization operates at the epicenter of the migratory flow from Mexico into the United States. Border Angels “is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform, and social justice with a special focus on issues related to issues related to the US-Mexican border.” They organize events such as tours of the border that seek to raise awareness of the perilous journey taken by those who seek to call America home. Programs like Water Drops, for example, involve leaving water in the desert for migrants taking the journey.

Learn more here.

Raices (Texas)

Credit: Instagram. @raicestexas

This Texan organization is at the frontline of the many tribulations that migrants are facing at the Southern border. It is ” a frontline organization in the roiling debate about immigration and immigrants in the world.” They provide legal advocacy and representation to migrants and deal with as many as 50,000 cases a year. They certainly can always do with a little help, and they have Youth Volunteer, General Volunteer and a Pro Bono Program where you can offer your time and expertise.

Learn more here.

Casa Latina (Seattle)

Digital image. El Camino

This organization based in Seattle is an answer to the increasing influx of migrants into the city. Casa Latinas looks to be the following: “As a vibrant, immigrant worker rights organization, Casa Latina empowers low-wage Latino immigrants to move from economic insecurity to economic prosperity and to lift their voices to take action around public policy issues that affect them”. They have over 75 volunteers, and they are constantly opening new positions.

Learn more here.

Latin Women in Action

@latinwomeninact / Twitter

If you live in the Big Apple this might be the organization for you. The group seeks to be “a comprehensive community based social service agency. Its mission and goals are to provide essential services to not only Latinas but any family or individual seeking our help in New York City.” You can volunteer to offer legal, immigration or family services. After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, for example, they offered help to Boricuas arriving in the city feeling the devastation.

Learn more here.

Acción Latina

Credit: Instagram. @accionlatinasf

Your abuela would say that la ropa sucia se lava en casaand that you should never be farol de la calle, oscuridad de la casa. In short: offer your help to those closest to you. This organization’s mission is to “promote cultural arts, community media, and civic engagement as a way of building healthy and empowered Latino communities.” There is an open call for volunteers, which is of particular interest to those who wish to gain experience in media.

Learn more here.

Brown Girls Do Ballet

Credit: Instagram. @browngirlsdoballet

What an amazing initiative. One of the spaces where young girls of color feel most excluded is in the arts, particularly the ones that tend to be costly. Ballet is one of these, and this organization’s mission is to “help increase participation of underrepresented minority populations in ballet programs through organizing and arranging ballet performances, photo exhibitions, and providing resources and scholarships to assist young girls in their ballet development and training.” You can help out with community outreach or, if you are a ballet dancer yourself, by mentoring young students. This organization can really help the self-confidence of young Brown girls and make society at large a more equal field for nuestras muchachas.

Learn more here.

 

RAICES

raicestexas / Instagram

Raices is a community of allies working to fight today’s broken immigration system that tears families apart and left millions without pathways to legal status.

Learn more here.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Protests Against ICE Detention Centers Reached New Heights As Airplanes Typed Messages In The Sky Across The U.S.

Things That Matter

Protests Against ICE Detention Centers Reached New Heights As Airplanes Typed Messages In The Sky Across The U.S.

Dee Gonzalez / In Plain Sight

A global pandemic is still gripping the United States – along with much of the world. But still many Americans headed outside over the long holiday weekend and, before the evening fireworks, were greeted by powerful anti-ICE messages written in the skies.

The skywriting campaign comes as much of the world’s attention is focused on Covid-19 and organizers hope to redirect some attention on the thousands of migrants who remain locked up in detention centers across the country.

Activists took to the skies at more than 80 sites across the country with a powerful message against U.S. immigration policy.

Over the July 4th weekend, two fleets of skytyping airplanes created artist-generated messages across the U.S. The fleet of aircraft targeted 80 different ICE detention facilities, immigration court houses, processing centers, and former internment camps. Written with water vapor, the messages are designed to be seen and read for miles.

Each message ended with #XMAP, which, when plugged into social media, directs users to an online interactive map that offers a view of the closest ICE facilities to the user.

Visitors to the event’s website are encouraged to donate to local funds like the Black Immigrant Bail Fund and join the #FreeThemAll campaign, which advocates for the release of detainees from crowded facilities, where social distancing is often impossible right now.

The ambitious project took a year to plan, and is one component of an artist-led protest against immigrant detention and America’s mass incarceration problem. With “In Plain Sight,” organizers are hoping to educate viewers—and to encourage the abolition of facilities such as these.

“I think the public is somewhat aware of what’s happening in detention centers—they’ve seen the images of kids in cages—but they don’t know the full scale,” said Cassils, in an interview with Quartz.

The team aimed to set a national record with its #XMAP campaign.

Credit: In Plain Sight

The artists reached out to the only skywriting company in the country (which owns the patent on skywriting) and learned that the largest campaign executed over U.S. soil involved about 80 sites and three fleets of planes. That established the project’s framework, and from there they went about the task of bringing on collaborators, many of whom have experiences with immigration and the detainment of oppressed minority groups.

The artists they tapped vary in age, gender identity, and nationality; some are formerly incarcerated, or are descended from the descendants of Holocaust survivors. Black, Japanese-American, First Nations and Indigenous perspectives are present, speaking to the historical intersections of xenophobia, migration, and incarceration.

The protests were seen throughout Southern California – from LA to San Diego.

Credit: In Plain Sight

In Southern California, the demonstration kicked off on the 4th of July at 9:30 a.m. above the Adelanto Detention Center, before traveling to downtown L.A., where 15-character messages will be left in the late morning airspace above immigration facilities, county and federal lockups and courthouses. The planes then traveled to the Arcadia and Pomona locations of internment camps where Japanese Americans where held prisoner during World War II.

Later in the afternoon, planes were seeing typing messages in the sky above the Terminal Island detention center, before traveling further south to Orange County and San Diego, where messages were left above courts and immigration offices.

The campaign also popped up in El Paso, TX, where a massacre last year left many Latinos dead.

Credit: In Plain Sight

Binational, El Paso-based artist Margarita Cabrera activated the El Paso-Juárez portion of the performance with her message “UPLIFT: NI UNX MAS” at the Bridge of the Americas.

“Uplift” refers to uplifting immigrant communities, as well as the border fence and other immigration detention facilities. “Ni unx más” was inspired by Mexican poet and activist Susana Chávez’s 1995 phrase “ni una muerta más,” or “not one more [woman] dead.” The phrase protests femicides in Mexico, particularly in Juárez. Cabrera used X to be gender-neutral. 

“This is a call to abolish this systematic violence and the incarceration and detention of our immigrants,” Cabrera told the El Paso Times. “We’re creating a sky activation, but we’re also grounding it with local events.”

Across the border in New Mexico, “ESTOY AQUI” and “SOBREVIVIRE” were respectively written over the Otero County Processing Center and Otero County Prison Facility. The messages draw from songs respectively by Shakira and Mexican pop star Monica Naranjo. Designed by artists Carlos Motta and Felipe Baeza, the full message, “I am here, I will survive,” is intended for both detainees and outside onlookers.

“We wanted to address those in the detention sites and acknowledge the fact that they are there, that we know they are there, and that they will be fine eventually even if their conditions are precarious and they are going through a difficult time right now,” Motta told the El Paso Times.

And in New York City, several major monuments became canvases for the activists’ message.

Credit: In Plain Sight

In New York City, the words “My pain is so big” were written over a detention center in downtown Brooklyn.

“To be human,” wappeared over Rikers Island and “Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia,” the name of the first immigrant to die from Covid-19 in detention was projected at the Statue of Liberty monument in Ellis Island.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

These Twins Had A Quarantine Birthday Party Designed To Ease Their Fears of COVID-19

Fierce

These Twins Had A Quarantine Birthday Party Designed To Ease Their Fears of COVID-19

Karo Zoto / Facebook

We’re all facing a world very different than the one we were so familiar with just a few months ago. Still, Karo Arana Soto wanted to make sure that the second birthday of her two twins Mateo and Matías was just as special as it was last year when they had it. While unable to throw a big bash for her twins Zoto was still able to put on a party that was pretty memorable and impressive.

It also had a theme was pretty apt for the current times.

For her sons’ big birthday, Zoto threw a COVID-19- themed party.

Image provided by Karo Arana Soto

To celebrate their big day, Zoto threw a smaller scale party complete with bouncers, music, games, gifts, piñata, sweets, cake, and pizza.”

Image provided by Karo Arana Soto

“Every birthday of José Ramon [the 4-year-old brother of Mateo and Matías] and the twins celebrate with a small party with family and close friends, this year for obvious reasons we could not all be together, so we decided to make their party with the COVID theme,” Zoto explained in an interview with mitú. “So when they get older see the photos and know why we were alone on his 2nd birthday, also this pandemic only talks about the bad things that happen and what can happen, so we try to ‘disguise fears’ and turn them into a piñata and a cake, my children had a lot of fun.”

Image provided by Karo Arana Soto

Speaking about the current situation and how her children are affecting it, Zoto says that she’s spending her days trying to make her kids feel safe.

Image provided by Karo Arana Soto

“It’s a situation that is forcing us as parents to be more creative and patient with children, in a normal situation, the twins go to a kindergarten, José Ramon to school and parents to work, we are altogether only in the afternoon and weekends, my husband continues to work normally. I’m an independent professional, so I was able to work the home office to be able to attend to my children, it is beautiful to be with them,” Zoto told us. “I never get bored but I never rest, we had a lot of fun but also we get stressed and we all get mad at everyone, there are toys all over the house, there is never silence and twins are in the process of leaving the diaper, imagine it … hahaha, it’s crazy! My 3 children are at a very demanding age of time and attention, so it has not been easy at all.”

So far, Zoto says that her kids are actually enjoying their time in quarantine.

Image provided by Karo Arana Soto

After all, their days are filled with a similar structure they had at school but with a lot more playtime.

Image provided by Karo Arana Soto

I think it is wonderful for them, even when they’re so young, to get up early, go to school, and kindergarten to follow a discipline and routine are part of some of their ‘authorities’ but in quarantine,” she explained. “They get up at home a little later, they play all day, school classes and homework are only for a while and the rest of the day we play, make camps, bathe in the pool, make movies, paint and whoever we can think of, sometimes we The ideas to entertain them end and the stress begins, I think that for them the real problem will be when the quarantine ends.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com