Grassroots Leadership Blog

Hilda and Ivan are free at last!

Hilda Ramirez is finally able to leave St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church after she and her son Ivan spent the past 8 months in sanctuary there. Hilda and Ivan were granted deferred action of one year by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which means they are not at risk of deportation for the next year. [node:read-more:link]

Dr. Satsuki Ina: Licensing family detention as "childcare" harkens back to WWII-era euphisms

The following is an excerpt of Dr. Satsuki Ina's letter to top officials at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services last December as the agency moved forward a proposal to license controversial family detention centers in an effort to keep them open.  We thought this was timely to repost because litigation brought by detained moms and Grassroots Leadership to prohibit the state from licensing family detention centers as childcare facilities may be decided later this month. [node:read-more:link]

EXPOSED: 6 types of abuse reported by women from inside for-profit Laredo detention center, DHS still reviewing ties to private prisons

As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigates its use of private prisons, women currently and formerly detained in two CCA-operated immigrant detention centers in Texas are speaking out against abuses in the facilities. 

Their letters from inside are exposing grossly inadequate medical care and health conditions; unsanitary facilities; sickening food; verbal abuse & harsh, punitive treatment; re-traumatization of survivors of violence; interference with phone conversations. 

Translation: “Just like you want to support us, we too are willing to support ourselves and will not stay quiet about the abuse of our rights that we have been victims of.” [node:read-more:link]

Police Chief Acevedo, join us in calling for an end to private immigrant prisons

Private immigrant detention facilities are notorious for their long list of abuses: inedible food, inadequate medical treatment, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, lack of due process, death due to denied medical treatment, poor hygiene, unsafe living conditions, etc. Last month the Bureau of Prisons announced they will be phasing out private prisons within their department. [node:read-more:link]

Watch our new film, (In)Securus Technology: An Assault on Prisoner Rights

One year ago today we celebrated the announced return of in-person visitation to the Travis County Jail here in Texas. The news came after a nearly 2-year fight led by those who had experienced video jail visits first-hand, and not only brought in-person visits back to Travis County, but also passed state legislation that will prevent other counties from replacing in-person visits with video chats.  

Though we are happy that we could celebrate a victory in Travis County and Texas, we know this company continues to reap massive profits while countless individuals across the country are denied access to see their incarcerated loved one face-to-face. [node:read-more:link]

Congrats and good luck, Cate!

Cate Graziani, our mental health campaigns coordinator, will be completing a Fulbright fellowship in Portugal from September 2016 to May 2017. Though we will miss her over the next eight months, we are excited to see what she uncovers! Here is a brief description of her project: [node:read-more:link]

Welcome our new Hutto Visitation Intern, Victoria Jara!

Victoria comes to Grassroots Leadership with a passion for social, economic, and racial justice. Originally from Miami with family from Peru, she studied Biological Psychology at New College of Florida, where she was the President of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and organized around impacts of the war on drugs. [node:read-more:link]

Welcome Our New Young Adult Volunteer!

Jake comes to us as a Young Adult Volunteer. Originally from Clemson South Carolina, Jake studied Spanish and International Health at Clemson University. During this time, he gained a great appreciation for community development, and the desire to work with individuals who have been marginalized by our society. While at Clemson, he began to explore and learn more of the pain and issues that U.S. policy had caused both in Latin America and among Latino communities in the U.S. [node:read-more:link]