SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – Gathering near the Otay Mesa Detention Center, where a 37-year-old detainee died suspiciously just last week and sexual assault complaints have increased by 158 percent in the past year, hundreds of activists are rallying today with the National Organization for Women and our Unlock the Future partners for the humane treatment of immigrant women and girls.
“Brave women make the difficult, wrenching choice to uproot their families, abandon their homes and risk a dangerous journey north seeking a life free from violence and assault,” said NOW President Toni Van Pelt. “Yet when they get here they find themselves in places such as Otay Mesa, where they may face sexual assault and harassment, lack of proper reproductive health care, nutrition and feminine hygiene resources, are cruelly separated from their children and suffer an increased risk of miscarriage.”
In response to these horrid conditions, the Unlock the Future campaign issued a Bill of Rights for immigrant women and girls, which is supported by hundreds of partners and calls for basic human needs and dignities for detained people. Additionally, NOW is submitting a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security against the astonishingly poor health care services being provided to lesbian, gay and transgender migrants and those living with HIV in detention prisons.
The campaign is also partnering with organizations like the Dolores Huerta Foundation to amplify the grassroots voice to Congress and the administration and Huerta is a featured speaker at the rally.
“Today we rally for all of the women and girls locked away unjustly as they sought freedom from violence and oppression,” said Dolores Huerta. “We must continue to raise their voices and stories until these detention prisons are nothing but a painful memory.”
NOW and our Unlock the Future partners will next hold rallies in Houston on Nov 17, and Phoenix on Dec. 8 and will be taking the Bill of Rights to Capitol Hill and top administration officials.
“The women and children whose rights we are here to defend have been stripped of their dignity, safety, their visibility as human beings. Their voices aren’t being heard. Their stories aren’t being told,” said NOW Vice President Christian F. Nunes. “But we are here for them and standing for them, and we are taking their cause to the highest levels of government. “
Unlock the Future Co-Sponsors:
Dolores Huerta Foundation
Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)
Feminist Majority Political Action Committee
Catholics for Choice
Immigrant Families Together
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
African Communities Public Health Coalition
Black Women’s Blueprint
The Global Women’s Institute
PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement
Local and State Partners
San Diego Area NOW
Senator Pro Temp Toni Atkins
Heart of LA Democratic Club
Field Team 6
Stonewall Democratic Club
Women’s March California
Women’s March San Diego
The Strategic Insights Group
Go With The Flow
S K Burt Law
Direct Support for Immigrants
And additional sponsors to be announced
For a full list of Unlock the Future Partners, please see our Bill of Rights.