Jessica Caldas writes:
This is the piece I completed this past weekend for Forward Warrior 2018.
Originally, I had planned to do another piece, one about local unsung heroes doing important work in our community, but in the end this piece won out. It is, of course, about the separation of families at the border-something horrifying and terrible and something I found myself struggling to understand the best ways to help. As a person without much means, I can’t give much financially. Right now, time is my most valuable asset (and even this is limited) but I know, because my family does and has been doing this work for some time, that the most valuable volunteers are lawyers and fluent Spanish speakers (I’m a bad Puerto Rican and speak only a little Spanish). So the last major resource I have is some talent and I felt that giving my Forward Warrior weekend to this issue was the least I could do.
Like I did over the weekend, I will share resources and ways you can help:
-Call your congressperson and Senator – writing is fine but calling is even better:
Georgia Senator Isakson: 202.224.3642
Georgia Senator Perdue: 202.224.3521
-If you feel up to it, contact your local Legislators as well-I know my State Rep (House Representative Bee Nguyen) is fighting hard in this battle and has written all 13 Georgia Congressional members and 2 State Senators. She is fighting for this cause and you can ask your rep and Senator to as well. Find them here: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
-Volunteer with local organizations doing the groundwork-
Each of these organizations does varying work with immigration in Georgia, and can use different kinds of volunteers or have different kinds of program for getting involved: El Refugio, which serves immigrants detained at the Stewart Detention Center, Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative which serves immigrants detained at the Irwin County Detention Center, Southern Poverty Law Center, Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network, and KIND.
-Give money – IF you have the ability and means any of the organizations listed above can use financial support. Additionally, the following organizations offer phone and bond funds, reunification programs, and more to serve immigrants in Texas, Nevada, Colorado, etc: RAICES, Casa De Paz, The Florence Project, Al Otro Lado, and Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
-For Atlantans, there is a march on the 30th. For those elsewhere, find the marches and protests in your area.
-And finally, remember that there are many immigration issues that exist outside of family separation that can use our attention and support. Human trafficking (which includes Labor and sex trafficking), the system for Asylum cases in general, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Renewal, and more. We do not have a great history of treatment towards immigrants, and we should not forget that in the face of this current crisis. Many of these organizations also care for these issues and are valuable resources to learn and educate yourself.
Finally, I plan to clean up the borders of this pieces this coming Friday morning (with my mom and child watching). Friday will also be the day I start an addition to the piece: Daisies. Every day, starting Friday, I will add 250 daisies to the piece to represent and honor the 250 children being taken from their families daily. I’ll be using a stencil to do the adding, and so it will be quick. I commit to doing this (or someone else doing this) everyday until the end of the summer or until the policy on family separation changes. It’s not much, and I plan to use my time elsewhere as well, but my talent, like I said, is one of the few resources I can give to this, so it’s what I will do.
Also-I could not have completed this work without Angela Bortone and Krista M Jones. They were a spectacular team.