On Thursday, April 17 supporters of TUFF and the Hutto Visitation Program came together at El Sol y La Luna for our 4th annual Dancing Away Detention benefit show. We got to hear the music of Kiko Villamizar as we munched on delicious appetizers, and Queer Qumbia kept folks dancing until the end of the evening.
The event is organized to raise funds to sustain the work of the Hutto Visitation Program, and this year, we were also able to share a large portion of the money with a family whose resources have been severely strained by the detention of their father, Jose Jiménez Cortez. We received donations for our silent auction from local businesses and artists who gave us a variety of gift certificates, tickets and works of art.
The generosity of these donors and of the people who bid in the silent auction provided the support that sustains our visitation program throughout the year and alleviated some of the financial difficulty that the detention system has created for Jose’s family. We are so grateful for this outpouring!
We also had the opportunity to recognize two local organizations for their outstanding work with the immigrant community in Austin. Byron Castillo and executive director Alejandro Caceres accepted one of the awards on behalf of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition. The group is constantly engaged in efforts to transform the injustice that faces the local immigrant community. The past year has seen a series of actions, forums and visits to political representatives that the group has collaborated with other local groups to organize, most recently through their involvement in the campaign to get the destructive policy S-Comm out of Austin.
Our stalwart Hutto visitor, Elaine Cohen, presented the other award to Casa Marianella. The organization provides a safe shelter for immigrants as well as educational, legal and health services. Casa Marianella has been a vital part of the transition out of detention for many of the women that the Hutto visitors have come to know.
Dancing Away Detention was an energizing evening, and we look forward to another year of continued work in solidarity with the women who are detained at Hutto.