A rally organized by Black Live Matter LGBTQAI+ Migrant Project drew a crowd of about 100 to the intersection of Lomas Boulevard and 4th Street on Monday Aug. 28 to call for the end of ICE.
The Abolish Ice rally was the groups day of action, and the first project to demonstrate solidarity between diverse groups, said Tiara Gendi, one of the organizers.
“We are calling out the inhumane conditions that queer people are being exposed to when they are in detention centers,” Gendi said. “We are standing in memory of queer immigrants that died in the hands of ice.”
According to Gendi, many people have been denied health care in detention centers, what she says can result in death. Gendi said the rally was in memory of those that have lost their lives, including Roxsana Hernandez, a transgender immigrant from Honduras.
A large sign was displayed that said “Justice for Roxana” and was held up by six individuals. This banner was in the center of the intersection, and the focal point of the rally.
Gendi said this rally was an act of solidarity between brown and black trans communities. Despite these communities differences, they have each other’s backs, she said. Adding that the system is against them.
“We have organized this to say ‘yes it is business as usual for everyone else, but these are the conditions we face when we come to (the) U.S. for safety.’ Most of us — if not all of us — came for the same reason, that our lives were in danger in our country of birth,” Gendi said.
One of the protesters in attendance, Katherine Hersel said that regardless of political climate people’s well being should be the first priority.
“I came here because I think that above all, human decency, human rights and human love comes above anything else,” Hersel said.
Anna Castro, the media consultant with the Transgender Law Center, said that as the child of immigrants she is dedicated to making sure that people’s voices are heard. According to Castro, historically the agents of change in the U.S. have been queer and trans people of color.
“This narrative has been predominantly cisgender, predominantly heteronormative. The immigrant community is so vastly diverse that we need to focus on the entirety on the folks that are impacted,” Castro said.
Castro has worked in the immigrant’s rights space for years. She said there is a need to correct the narrative surrounding immigration, and this is what lead to this movement.
“The conditions that queer and trans immigrants face in detention are incredibly dire. The consequences are fatal, particularly those with HIV and those routinely denied medical care,” Castro said.
Megan Holmen is the assistant news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or on Twitter @megan_holmen.