Grassroots Leadership In The News

Dec 15, 2017
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Downtown Austin Patch

International Day Of Migrants Celebration Takes Place Dec. 18

"Hermanos en el Camino, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin Inside Amigos, The Foundation for Sustainability and Peacemaking in Mesoamerica, Austin Sanctuary Network & Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera will organize Dia Internacional del Migrante to celebrate immigrants in the greater Austin area, who migrated here in a variety of ways from many countries. The event will be held on International Migrants Day, Dec. 18 from 6 PM - 8 PM.

The event will feature guitarist Ángel Ibañez performing in between speeches and himself an immigrant of Mexico City. Speakers for the evening will include Sulma Franco, Activist and Organizer with Austin Sanctuary Network, who in 2014 took sanctuary at First Unitarian Universalist Church to prevent her deportation and who now holds a U.S. resident card. Additional speakers include, Chencho Alas, the Executive Director and Founder of the Foundation for Sustainability and Peacemaking in Mesoamerica; Banafsheh Madaninejad, Professor of Religious Studies at Southwester University; Deborah Alemu, an immigrant activist from Ethiopia/Sweden; Antonio Herrera, Director and Founder of El Centro Comunitario Monseñor Romero, and Edwin Murillo, Salvadoran activist for the TPS Campaign, Dallas; and Claudia Muños, Immigration Program Director for Grassroots Leadership." Read more about International Day Of Migrants Celebration Takes Place Dec. 18

Dec 14, 2017
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Austin American-Statesman

Austin council votes to send police contract back to negotiating table

'"We have to have something different in place in this town. The time is now,' local activist Chris Harris said. 'This is only once every five years. If we don’t do it now, many of you won’t have another opportunity. So this is your chance, and I really implore you to take it.'

Harris called on the council to recognize that those who spoke against the contract included not just criminal justice advocates, but people who work in public health, mental health, academia, environmental issues and more who came to the council with the message: 'We must vote down this contract. We must begin to rethink public safety in this town in a new way,' he said." Read more about Austin council votes to send police contract back to negotiating table

Dec 14, 2017
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Texas Monthly

Disturbing Allegations

"A month after a woman detained in the T. Don Hutto immigration detention center in Williamson County alleged that a guard sexually assaulted her, the FBI is officially investigating the complaint, according to the Associated Press. According to immigrant advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, Laura Monterrosa said a guard repeatedly touched her breasts and legs without consent at the women’s federal detention facility. The group says Monterrosa’s complaints were ignored by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and by facility operator CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America. After Monterrosa first alleged the sexual assault in November, two more women said they were sexually assaulted by guards at the facility. As of last week, Monterrosa was still being held at the detention center." Read more about Disturbing Allegations

Dec 13, 2017
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AP

FBI examinará presunto abuso sexual a inmigrante

El FBI investigará las acusaciones de una inmigrante detenida en Texas que dice que un guardia abusó sexualmente de ella, informó la agencia el martes.

El FBI dijo que abrió una investigación de derechos civiles con relación al caso de Laura Monterrosa, detenida en el Centro Residencial T. Don Hutto.

Según el grupo activista Grassroots Leadership, Monterrosa dijo que un guardia tocó varias veces sus senos y sus piernas sin su consentimiento. El grupo dice que el Servicio de Control de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés) y el operador de las instalaciones, CoreCivic, no respondieron a las quejas que presentó Monterrosa. Read more about FBI examinará presunto abuso sexual a inmigrante

Dec 13, 2017
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Washington Post

FBI to examine alleged sexual abuse of detained immigrant

"SAN ANTONIO — The FBI says it will investigate allegations from a woman held in a Central Texas immigrant detention center who says a guard sexually assaulted her.

The bureau said Tuesday that it opened a civil rights investigation regarding the case of Laura Monterrosa, a detainee at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center.

According to advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, Monterrosa said a guard repeatedly touched her breasts and legs without consent. The group says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and facility operator CoreCivic didn’t respond to her complaints." Read more about FBI to examine alleged sexual abuse of detained immigrant

Dec 13, 2017
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KXAN

Big crowd expected as Austin city council debates APD contract

"Austin police could find out as early as Wednesday if they will have a new contract to work under. A big crowd is expected at City Hall in the afternoon — to call on city council to scrap the entire contract all together.

More than 15 activist groups are asking council to not vote on this deal and rethink it.

'So we want to invest more in the root causes of public safety and that includes things like  mental health services, treatment centers, counseling, youth programs, all up and down the chain and right now we feel we are over allocating to the police,' says Chris Harris, campaign coordinator with Grassroots Leadership." Read more about Big crowd expected as Austin city council debates APD contract

Dec 13, 2017
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Univision 45 Houston

FBI investigará denuncias de acoso sexual a indocumentada en un centro de detención de ICE

El testimonio de Laura Monterrosa, una salvadoreña recluida en un centro penitenciario para mujeres inmigrantes en Texas, se conoció en octubre. Hasta ahora, según una organización de derechos civiles, ni las autoridades locales ni ICE han intervenido y la presunta agresora sigue en su cargo. Read more about FBI investigará denuncias de acoso sexual a indocumentada en un centro de detención de ICE

Dec 13, 2017
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Spectrum

FBI INVESTIGATING AFTER DETAINEE CLAIMS GUARD SEXUALLY ASSAULTED HER

"TAYLOR, Texas – The FBI is now stepping into investigate the case of woman who reported being sexually assaulted at a Central Texas immigrant detention center.

According to the advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, the woman claims a female guard at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center repeatedly touched her breasts and legs without consent.

The FBI said they are opening a civil rights investigation into the case of Laura Monterrosa. While victims of sexual assault are usually not named, Monterrosa is publicly sharing her story to encourage other victims to speak out.

'I was harassed every time I was around her, but I was scared of saying anything for fear that doing so may negatively impact my case,' the inmate told Claudia Muñoz of the immigration rights group, Grassroots Leadership. 'After other guards noticed the harassment, they encouraged me to file a report, but nothing happened to the guard and I was transferred in retaliation."' Read more about FBI INVESTIGATING AFTER DETAINEE CLAIMS GUARD SEXUALLY ASSAULTED HER

Dec 12, 2017
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Rewire

FBI Intervenes After Sexual Assault Allegations at Texas Immigrant Detention Center

“Laura wants justice and so far, it’s been delayed and denied,” Carson said. “What is happening to Laura is endemic of detention centers and almost impossible to completely eliminate unless we eliminate detention centers. A woman who spoke at Laura’s press conference was detained at Hutto seven years ago and said she saw inappropriate behavior from guards that was sexual in nature. There has been a trail of these incidents and most of them go unreported and this is why: they don’t get investigated and the women who come forward are shamed or transferred or otherwise punished. This is an extremely pervasive problem.” Read more about FBI Intervenes After Sexual Assault Allegations at Texas Immigrant Detention Center

Dec 8, 2017
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Austin Chronicle

T. Don Hutto Abuse Case Goes to FBI

"Outside the Williamson County Sheriff's Officeon Monday, Dec. 4, a group of activists held signs and criticized the department for its failure to transparently investigate alleged sexual abuse at T. Don Hutto immigration detention facility in Taylor. Last month, Laura Monterrosa accused a guard employed by private, for-profit detention operators CoreCivic of sexual abuse, and since then an outpouring of other women have stepped forward. And last weekend, according to Bethany Carson at Grassroots Leadership, a whistleblower inspired by Monterrosa confirmed pervasive issues of sexual abuse at Hutto and named two guards who have abused their power to the nonprofit, which has led the charge for justice for Monterrosa. 'This has been going on for a long time, since I was detained in 2009,' said Sulma Franco, a former detainee who's now an organizer with the Austin Sanctuary Network. 'The only thing that has changed is Laura's courage to speak up while she is still detained.'" Read more about T. Don Hutto Abuse Case Goes to FBI

Dec 7, 2017
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Latina

Two More Women Come Forward About Sexual Harassment in Detention Center

"In the Williamson County federal immigration detention center, a privately owned facility, two more women have accused guards of sexually harassing them. Grassroots Leadership, an organization that works with communities across the nation to abolish for-profit private prisons, jails, and detention centers, spoke to a woman, identified only as Ana, about a female guard who repeatedly asked her about her sexuality, told her they were going to be together one day, and stared at her inappropriately in the facility’s recreational area.

Grassroots also said another woman identified as Esmeralda, currently at T. Don Hutto, claimed she no longer goes to the recreational area to avoid that same guard." Read more about Two More Women Come Forward About Sexual Harassment in Detention Center

Dec 6, 2017
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News 4 San Antonio

Group caravans to San Antonio to support asylum seeker facing deportation

"A group of immigration supporters are on their way home after trying to stop the deportation of a man seeking asylum.

They came to San Antonio on Wednesday to plead his case.

Around a couple dozen supporters braved the cold and the rain to voice their support for Alirio Gamez.

'As a community we should get to decide who is a part of our communities,' said Claudia Munoz, a supporter who traveled from Austin to San Antonio. 'That's the message we're bringing to ICE.'" Read more about Group caravans to San Antonio to support asylum seeker facing deportation

Dec 6, 2017
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Univison 41 San Antonio

Decenas de personas se reúnen en San Antonio para luchar contra la deportación de un inmigrante salvadoreño

"Los manifestantes llegaron a la oficina de ICE en San Antonio para pedir a los agentes de inmigración que frenen la deportación de Alirio Gámez, un inmigrante salvadoreño que está asilado en una iglesia de Austin desde el 5 de septiembre." Read more about Decenas de personas se reúnen en San Antonio para luchar contra la deportación de un inmigrante salvadoreño

Dec 6, 2017
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¡Ahora Sí!

Decenas de personas presentarán una petición para detener deportación

"Con mantas a ambos lados que decían 'compasión audaz y amor valeroso' y 'mantén Alirio a salvo', miembros religiosos y activistas anunciaron que irían en caravana para presentar una petición ante las autoridades de inmigración a favor de Alirio Gámez, quien pidió santuario en una de las iglesias de Austin.

'Le vamos a demostrar a ICE que hay una comunidad que me quiere y vamos a seguir en la lucha', dijo Gámez, oriundo de El Salvador, ante decenas de personas en la audiencia. 'Y sé que estoy donde van a seguir apoyándome'". Read more about Decenas de personas presentarán una petición para detener deportación

Dec 6, 2017
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Telemundo Austin

Piden detener la deportación de hombre que buscó santuario en iglesia de Austin

"El miércoles, cerca de 50 manifestantes de diferentes grupos cívicos del centro de Texas se reunieron en las oficinas de la Agencia de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE) en San Antonio para pedir un alto a la deportación de Alirio Gámez, un inmigrante salvadoreño refugiado en una iglesia de Austin.

'Ellos tienen todo el poder para parar la deportación de esta persona para que no sea deportado', dijo Alejandro Cáceres, representante de la organización Grassroots Leadership.

Según Alirio Gámez, huyó de su natal El Salvador porque su vida corría peligro: 'Esa es la razón por la que yo tomé santuario porque yo tengo derecho a seguir viviendo y para que nadie me pueda quitar la vida'. Read more about Piden detener la deportación de hombre que buscó santuario en iglesia de Austin

Dec 6, 2017
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Telemundo Austin

Inmigrante salvadoreño se refugia en una iglesia de Austin para no ser deportado

"Le estamos diciendo a ICE que respete mi derecho a la seguridad. El miércoles, le mostraremos a ICE nuestra fuerza en la unidad y esperamos tener una victoria en nuestras manos", dijo Alirio.

Una petición para detener su deportación ahora tiene más de 2,000 firmas. La Red de Sanctuary de Austin, Grassroots Leadership, y los legisladores estatales y municipales también han abogado por él. Read more about Inmigrante salvadoreño se refugia en una iglesia de Austin para no ser deportado

Dec 5, 2017
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Remezcla

Immigration Advocates Demand Answers After Sex Abuse Claims Surface Out of Texas Detention Center

"As people in different industries courageously share their stories, three women are drawing attention to the sexual abuse they have faced at an immigrant detention center in Texas. In a letter to immigration advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, Laura Monterrosa, a 23-year-old from El Salvador, detailed the abuse she endured at T. Don Hutto Residential Center. Immigration advocates in Austin are demanding answers from law enforcement about the allegations." Read more about Immigration Advocates Demand Answers After Sex Abuse Claims Surface Out of Texas Detention Center

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