Grassroots Leadership Blog

Things are just as bad as we feared at a “civil commitment center” in Texas

This private prison facility in West Texas once incarcerated prisoners from Idaho. Ever since Idaho canceled the contract with GEO Group in 2008, the county has been desperate to fill the facility that had become a money pit for local taxpayers.

I hate to say we told you so. In this case, I really, really hate it.

An exposé in the Texas Observer this month confirmed everything we feared about the Treatment Industrial Complex (TIC), a term we use to describe private prison companies’ scheme to expand their revenue by exploiting new markets in healthcare, treatment, and re-entry. Read more about Things are just as bad as we feared at a “civil commitment center” in Texas

Miembros de la comunidad luchan por la liberación inmediata de Laura Monterrosa / Community members rally for Laura Monterrosa's immediate release

El domingo 25 de febrero, miembros de la comunidad se reunieron frente al Centro de Detención T. Don Hutto para mostrar su apoyo por Laura Monterrosa, una mujer inmigrante que ha estado hablando sobre el abuso sexual que sufrió a manos de una guardia en el centro de detención. Read more about Miembros de la comunidad luchan por la liberación inmediata de Laura Monterrosa / Community members rally for Laura Monterrosa's immediate release

Welcoming Sulma Franco to the immigration team // Bienvenida a Sulma Franco al equipo de inmigración

Grassroots Leadership is pleased to welcome Sulma Franco as our new Sanctuary Organizer! Grassroots Leadership was invited by Sulma to help with her sanctuary campaign in 2015 when she was at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Austin.

¡Grassroots Leadership se enorgullece en darle la bienvenida a nuestra nueva Organizadora de Santuario, Sulma Franco! Sulma invitó a Grassroots Leadership a apoyar su campaña de santuario en el 2015 mientras estaba en santuario en la iglesia First Unitarian Universalist en Austin. Read more about Welcoming Sulma Franco to the immigration team // Bienvenida a Sulma Franco al equipo de inmigración

Welcoming Development Coordinator Natalia Thompson

Grassroots Leadership is proud to welcome Natalia Thompson as our new Development Coordinator. 

Natalia has been organizing and fundraising for migrant, economic, and racial justice for over a decade. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Natalia holds a B.A. in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration and in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Yale, where she organized with MEChA de Yale.  Read more about Welcoming Development Coordinator Natalia Thompson

Welcoming Josue Damian-Martinez to the Immigration Team

Join me in welcoming Josue Damian-Martinez as the new Immigrant Rights Advocate Intern. Josue will be leading groups during visitations at the Hutto Detention Center. Visitors will also hear from Josue often, as he will be sending out Friday resources and support visitation volunteers in organizing for real change at the Hutto Detention Center. 

Welcoming Alex Cogan as Criminal Justice Intern

Grassroots Leadership is excited to welcome Alex Cogan as a Criminal Justice Intern for the 2018 spring semester. Alex is earning her Master of Science in Social Work with a concentration in administration and policy practice at The University of Texas at Austin. She has focused much of her graduate school research on criminal justice reform, having interned at the Travis County Correctional Complex. As a social work intern at the jail, she had the opportunity to work closely and build relationships with incarcerated individuals. Read more about Welcoming Alex Cogan as Criminal Justice Intern

La historia de Guadalupe: la detención y la deportación son fuerzas mortales

Altar de la conmemoración en el ayuntamiento de Austin construido para el Día de Muertos

En el Día de Muertos de este año, nos unimos a los miembros de Detention Watch Network para recordar a las víctimas de los sistemas de detención y deportación de los EE. UU. Te invitamos a leer esta historia de Guadalupe, una inmigrante cuya historia se compone de experiencias de la vida real, la mayoría de ellas vividas por inmigrantes en Austin. Mientras lees, te invitamos a recordar a las personas que pierden sus vidas todos los días a manos de nuestro cruel sistema. Read more about La historia de Guadalupe: la detención y la deportación son fuerzas mortales

We demand the immediate release of Laura Monterrosa, victim of sexual abuse at the Hutto Detention Center

**Español abajo**

Yesterday, two women joined Laura Monterrosa in speaking out about sexual abuse at the Don T. Hutto Detention Center.  One of the women, Ana*,  said that she filed a report against the guard who harassed and in return, she was moved to Laredo as an act of retaliation.  Both, Laura and Ana’s abusers are still employed at Hutto and as a result, Laura is facing increased retaliation and alienation from CoreCivic officials. Laura’s decision to speak out could have a major impact for all women detained at Hutto, but for that to happen she needs your help.

TAKE ACTION: “I demand that Laura is released immediately, she is a victim and should not be punished for speaking out!”


Ayer, dos mujeres se unieron a Laura Monterrosa para hablar sobre el abuso sexual en el Centro de Detención Don T. Hutto. Una de las mujeres, Ana *, dijo que presentó un informe contra el guardia que hostigaba y, a cambio, la trasladaron a Laredo como un acto de represalia. Ambos, los abusadores de Laura y Ana todavía están empleados en Hutto y como resultado, Laura enfrenta una mayor represalia y alienación por parte de los funcionarios de CoreCivic. La decisión de Laura de hablar abiertamente podría tener un gran impacto para todas las mujeres detenidas en Hutto, pero para que eso suceda necesita su ayuda.

ACTÚE: "Exijo que Laura sea liberada inmediatamente, ¡ella es una víctima y no debería ser castigada por hablar!" Read more about We demand the immediate release of Laura Monterrosa, victim of sexual abuse at the Hutto Detention Center

Guadalupe's Story: Detention and Deportation are Deadly Systems

Altar of remembrance in the amphitheater of Austin City Hall built for Día de Muertos

On this year's Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), we joined with members of the Detention Watch Network remembering the victims of the U.S. detention and deportation systems. We invite you to read this story of Guadalupe, an immigrant whose story is made up of different real life experiences, most of them lived by immigrants in Austin.  As you read, we invite you to remember the people who lose their lives everyday at the hands of our cruel system. Read more about Guadalupe's Story: Detention and Deportation are Deadly Systems

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