On Saturday, January 11, 2020, members from over 25 social justice, community, labor and faith organizations converged 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 was 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 — led 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.
From Japanese Americans for Justice: On January 11, 2020, our voices, our drums, and our demands were heard as we chanted and spoke out against the racist policies that continue to target immigrants and asylum seeking people and families. We had a powerful protest with Tsuru for Solidarity and many other allied organizations at the Yuba City ICE detention center. Japanese American World War II survivors of US concentration camps shared why they were there, our partner and allied organizations also spoke about the parallels and connections between our communities, and the beating of the taiko drums breached the walls of the jail.
There was one intense moment when people who are being incarcerated at the Yuba City ICE detention center were able to get outside on the roof and shout out their encouragement, their appreciations, and their names— telling us not to forget them.
Our hearts are full and our spirits are resolute as we continue to organize for an even bigger mobilization to Washington DC this June, where we will continue to fight to close all the US concentration camps.
All of these amazing photos were taken by Japanese Americans for Justice member, @kristenmurakoshiphotography. Please give photo credit when reposting and sharing, thank you.
Image descriptions: [Garlands of paper cranes adorn the fences outside of the Yuba City ICE detention center where survivors are photographed speaking, protest members are holding signs, and in the last photo people being imprisoned by ICE were able to reach the rooftop and shout out their names and their encouragement.]
Additional endorsing organizations: Abuelas Responden/Grannies Respond; Alianza Sacramento; Amnesty International Sacramento; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance-Alameda Chapter; Buddhist Peace Fellowship; Buena Vista United Methodist Church; California Nevada United Methodist Church Advocacy & Justice Committee; Davis Phoenix Coalition; Florin Japanese American Citizens League-Sacramento Valley; Freedom for Immigrants Bay Area; Indivisible Sacramento; Japanese Americans for Justice; Jewish Voice for Peace Sacramento; Lodi Japanese American Citizens League; National Lawyers Guild Sacramento Chapter; NorCal RESIST; Sacramento Immigration Coalition; San Jose Nikkei Resisters; Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN); Uniting for Racial Justice.