Tacoma, WA — This Thursday, from 12 – 1 p.m., a crowd will rally outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma in support of the peaceful protesters held inside. May 1st will mark 56 days since detainees began a series of hunger strikes in protest of their conditions and of the record levels of deportations under President Obama. Ramon Mendoza Pascual and J. Cipriano Rios Alegria, who continue fasting after having been released from solitary confinement this past week, will address the crowd through audio messages. Audio will be made available to media.
The rally will also highlight the family of Bernarda Pineda of Everett, Washington. Ms. Pineda’s husband has been held at the Northwest Detention Center since December 27 2013 following a minor traffic violation, leaving Ms. Pineda to care for the couple’s four children on her own. A phone call she made last week to local police to report her car stolen nearly led to her own detention when police questioned her immigration status, and handcuffed her in front of her four children. Ms. Pineda will speak at the rally about the devastation immigration enforcement has created in her family’s life.
As supporters continue to rally support, new abuses continue to come to light.Miguel Armenta Olabarria, a detainee living with HIV, Hepatitis C, and cancer, remains detained and continues to receive inadequate medical care. Instead of responding to hunger striker demands, which include improved medical care, ICE has continued their retaliation against hunger strikers. This week, upon completion of their solitary confinement sentences (which were imposed for “participating in a group demonstration”), Paulino Ruiz and Juan Negrete Mendoza expected to be returned to the general population at the NWDC. Instead, the men were taken from the facility and transferred to two different prison facilities in Oregon that contract to hold immigrant detainees. The two have re-established contact with their supporters in Washington State and Oregon. The rally on Thursday will highlight these and other stories of continued struggle.
WHAT: Rally in support of immigrants detained at NWDC
WHEN: Thursday May 1st 12PM
WHERE: Northwest Detention Center 1623 E J St, Tacoma
WHO: Immigrant families, supporters and allies