On Saturday, January 11, members from over 25 social justice, community, labor and faith organizations will converge on the Yuba County Jail in Marysville, CA as part of a New Year’s “Close the Camps” action. The jail is the only remaining ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detention center in northern California.
The action is being organized by groups from the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area. Tsuru for Solidarity — a nonviolent, direct action project of Japanese American social justice advocates working to end detention sites and support front-line immigrant and refugee communities — is leading the planning.
For Japanese Americans, Oshogatsu, the New Year is a time for reflection, renewal and for taking care of home and those we love. It is a time of making things right with our neighbors and community members. In this spirit, we want to “Clean House.” The protest seeks to end Yuba County’s contract allowing ICE to use the Yuba County Jail for immigrant detention, and also to end the inhumane conditions at the jail that have sparked multiple hunger strikes and suicide attempts by people held in the jail.
Last June, Tsuru for Solidarity, including six Japanese Americans who were incarcerated by the U.S. during World War II when they were children, risked arrest at the front gate of Fort Sill, OK, to protest plans to build a prison camp for immigrant children at the base, which in the past has been used to incarcerate both Japanese immigrants and indigenous leaders. In July, Tsuru for Solidarity returned to join local and national partners in a much larger protest led by United We Dream. The U.S. government announced shortly afterwards that it was no longer moving forward with plans to detain children at Fort Sill.
Former Japanese American child incarcerees will speak at the January 11 protest, along with representatives from groups including Estamos Unidos; Centro del Pueblo-Humboldt; Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity; Campaign for Immigrant Detention Reform; Jewish Action, NorCal; Council on American Islamic Relations, Sacramento Valley; Asian Prisoner Support; and Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Sacramento AFL-CIO.
Hundreds of colorful folded paper cranes (“tsuru”) — expressions of Japanese American solidarity with the communities that are under attack today — will be on display. Drumming group Bakuhatsu Taiko Don will perform.