Locking Up Our Families is NOT the Solution!

Locking Up Our Families is NOT the Solution!

Pence, Trump, and Sessions have spent the last year and a half using their power to further engrain white supremacy into the trenches of our nation. They use the rhetoric of “Law and Order” to tear families apart and criminalize migrants, asylum seekers, and Black and Brown people. By eroding protections for our people like DACA & TPS, allowing ICE agents to enact dangerous raids with impunity as well as criminalizing migration and asylum seekers, we are experiencing the oppression and devastation of our community at an unprecedented level not seen in decades.

Detaining families together is not a valid solution to family separation. People seeking refuge do not deserve to be met with chain link fences and trauma. Children should not be growing up in jail cells. We need to expand the scope of our outrage to include the inhumanity of the detention of thousands of immigrants all over the country. The emotional and physical violence inflicted on our families by the U.S. is irreparable, and to then further rob them of their freedom is revolting at best.

We have seen the effects of this in the streets of Philadelphia, where almost 50 people were disappeared in one week last month as a result of dangerous ICE raids, leaving many Philadelphia children separated from their families. Families are ripped apart right here and in the wake of so much injustice, it is more important than ever that we enact local change. It is time for us to shut down the Berks Family Detention Center and free our families that have been detained indefinitely right outside of Philadelphia. It is time for us to expand the meaning of sanctuary and make sure we are a true Sanctuary City by ending the dangerous P.A.R.S. contract with ICE as well as ending data sharing with them.

We must take action now to create tangible change for our people and create a precedent for this country to combat the brutality it has inflicted. If we continue to simply demand that families belong together, we will easily see the ballooning of more family detention centers like Berks Family Detention Center and mass incarceration. We can do better, at the border and in Philadelphia, to put an end to this nightmare.

Philly Wins Sanctuary City Lawsuit…What Comes Next?

Philadelphia Has Won Its Lawsuit Against Jeff Sessions.
What Comes Next For Us?

It has been an amazing week to be a Philadelphian! On the heels of our very own Philadelphia Eagles not going to the White House, we also beat Jeff Sessions in court over our Sanctuary City policy.

On June 6th a federal court said what we in Juntos have been saying from the start, it was unconstitutional for the government to force our city to hold our people and hand them over to ICE. As we celebrate this we must also remember that our community isn’t fully safe. As the recent raids in Philly show, ICE is still very much terrorizing our community. We must use this victory as momentum to move forward and ask ourselves,

How Can We Expand Our Definition of “Sanctuary”?

A clear next step is for Philadelphia to end its dangerous practice of information sharing with ICE, specifically, we must end their access to our local legal system database, P.A.R.S (Preliminary Arraignment System.) This database gives ICE access to many families addresses and information like country of origin, making them immediate targets to raids and their access is the driving force to raids in Philadelphia.

We fought together and won an end to the collaboration between local police and ICE and we can win to also end this toxic relationship between our city’s database and ICE. We have until August 31st to end the P.A.R.S contract and expand our current definition of what being a sanctuary city means. Will you join us in asking for an end to ICE’s access to PARS?

Please forward this information to a friend, call your local city council person and tell them you want this practice to end and keep a lookout for future ways you can get involved in this campaign. We need all of you to truly make our city a Sanctuary City.

Our Power Will No Longer Be Ignored Because of Our Age

Photo by Kristen Graham

“Our Power Will No Longer Be Ignored Because of Our Age”

On the morning of March 14th, Juntos along with the Philadelphia Student Union organized the “Student Vision for School Safety March.” Thousands of young people across the city of Philadelphia walked out of their schools and put forward their vision for true school safety means. Juntos youth member, City Perez-Nieto, a Junior at Science Leadership Academy adressed the crowd with the following words.

Speech cowritten by Cindy Perez-Nieto & Odalys Peralta of Juntos

“Good morning everyone my name is Cindy Perez-Nieto. I am a junior at Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber and a youth leader at Juntos.

I want to start off by saying that we stand in solidarity with the young people in Florida, who have been protesting and spreading the word about the importance of school safety after the tragic shooting at Stoneman Douglas High.

Now, this issue has been going on for too long. It has come to point where this issue has been normalized, we aren’t surprised anymore when we hear about another mass shooting. We now have gun rights activists trying to arm our teachers but we know more guns is not the solution. I honestly don’t know what I’m more afraid of, if there could occur another school shooting or knowing that my teachers might be armed in school. As a student, I believe that arming our teachers is not the right solution.

With so many regulations our schools already feel like prisons. Schools are supposed to be a place of learning and we need to feel safe in order to learn. Having more police officers in schools is not helping with our learning so a first step it to stop investing in cops and start investing in infrastructure such as counselors to help better our education.

Our priority should be on improving our academic level. We need to face the fact that gun violence isn’t the only issue in our schools but the criminalization of schools are also important. The underfunded schools in our city are largely populated by students of color, these schools have metal detector, cops, but don’t have counselors, nurses, or teachers

What we’re seeing out in the streets today is a clear example of what real power looks. School safety has been an issue for many years and for many years politicians have stood by and done nothing. Today, we the young people of this country are saying “enough is enough!” It’s time for action and it’s time for change.

Now we all know that the School District had told many of us that we could only participate in a 17-minute walk-out in honor the victims of tragic Florida shooting. However, we, the students of Philadelphia, know that the issues of school safety extend past Florida.

For many of us, our schools have not felt safe for as long as we can remember. For us to have safe schools we must think broader than only gun regulations.

Safe schools mean schools with more counselors than cops.

Safe schools mean schools with equal funding.

Safe schools mean schools where we don’t fear the presence of ICE.

This is why those 17 minutes were not enough for us if we wanted to bring attention to these issues and make an impact in our community and schools.  This is why I am here today, to make my voice be heard so that the voice of many youth out there is also heard. Our power will no longer be ignored because of our age.

We are going to make a change in our community and this change starts with us, the youth. Thank you.

Visión Estudiantil Para la Seguridad Escolar

Visión Estudiantil Para la Seguridad Escolar

En 14 de febrero, el tiroteo en la escuela en Stoneman Douglas High School cambió para siempre la comunidad de Parkland, Florida, después que un pistolero quitó la vida de 14 estudiantes y 3 miembros de la facultad de la escuela.

Este desafortunado y extenso de negligencia nacional para la reforma de seguridad escolar ha galvanizado a la nación, incitando a estudiantes en todo el país a entrar en el activismo que desafía los llamados a tener policías y maestros armados, y promover soluciones que realmente mejoran el medioambiente en las escuelas.

Los estudiantes de Stoneman Douglas y otros grupos juveniles que se habían comprometido previamente a organizar escuelas más seguras han exigido el control de armas y la implementación de programas como la justicia restaurativa y otros programas de salud mental y emocional. Sin embargo, los legisladores de todo el país siguen optando por ignorar las voces de los estudiantes y aprobar leyes reactivas para fortalecer la presencia policial y frenar las oportunidades para poner fin a la violencia armada.

En Philadelphia Student Union y Juntos, nuestros miembros han reconocido que este es otro ejemplo de por qué los jóvenes y sus aliados necesitan cambiar la conversación sobre la seguridad escolar.

Nuestros jovenes buscan compartir en solidaridad con la movilización estudiantil de Parkland llevando la conversación a casa aqui en Filadelfia, tomando el liderazgo de nuestros jóvenes para establecer una visión que asegure que nuestras escuelas, comunidades y corazones se centren en las relaciones restaurativas. El 14 de marzo, a las 11:30 a.m., lideraremos la Marcha por la Seguridad Escolar e invitamos a todos los estudiantes y aliados en la ciudad que participen en las huelgas a marchar colectivamente con nosotros para levantar las siguientes demandas:

 

  1. Desinversión de los Oficiales de Policía Escolar: – Mejorar los recursos de salud mental en Filadelfia no puede ocurrir sin un esfuerzo intencional y responsable de desincorporar fondos y cambiar el presupuesto de los agentes de la Policía Escolar a otros programas necesarios que realmente promuevan un ambiente escolar enriquecedor. La expansión de la presencia policial y del personal / equipo de seguridad en las escuelas debe terminar, ya que solo promueve una cultura de miedo en lugar de reforzar la creatividad y la voz de los estudiantes. 
  2. Servicios integrales de salud mental y emocional: queremos que todas las escuelas en Filadelfia brinden un programa integral de servicios de salud mental para que los estudiantes puedan ser apoyados de manera proactiva y constante cuando se enfrentan con preocupaciones emocionales, mentales y sociales. 
  3. Más consejeros y trabajadores sociales: para abordar la violencia que afecta a nuestras escuelas, se debe priorizar la contratación de más consejeros y trabajadores sociales, que tengan la formación específica para apoyar el estado emocional y mental de los estudiantes y fomentar el desarrollo de la juventud. 
  4. Expansión de las prácticas de justicia restaurativa: la justicia restaurativa es clave en la construcción de relaciones entre los estudiantes, padres, maestros, personal escolar y la comunidad. Es una alternativa a la presencia de policías y docentes armados que promueve la inteligencia emocional y la comunicación, que son habilidades esenciales para perfeccionar para su uso después de la graduación. Nuestras escuelas requieren un esfuerzo intencional y sistemático para los programas de justicia restaurativa para la mediación de compañero a maestro / administrador. 
  5. Protección para estudiantes y familias de las detenciones de ICE alrededor de las escuelas: la vigilancia excesiva en nuestras escuelas sólo sirve para penalizar aún más a los jóvenes de color a expensas del aprendizaje. Las redadas de inmigración en la ciudad se han producido en y alrededor de nuestras escuelas y en los hogares, lo que infunde una sensación constante de temor que afecta la capacidad de los jóvenes de participar en su educación. Es por eso que sabemos que ICE y la policía son dos caras de la misma moneda para nuestras familias. Ambas son perjudiciales para nuestra dignidad y nuestra supervivencia, y debemos poner fin a su alcance en nuestras vidas ahora.
  6. Control de armas que no da como resultado una vigilancia selectiva de cuerpos negros y marrones: promulgar legislación que restrinja el acceso de rifles de asalto o armamento utilizados en asesinatos en masa sin escrutinios y procesos minuciosos por problemas mentales y / o emocionales, criminales o sociales.