On our way back through the West, we stopped in Denver Colorado for one of the Lights for Liberty protests taking place across the country in upwards of 700 cities. The protests was against the detainment of immigrants who had not committed any crimes other than crossing the US border. We met at the private prison GEO detention center in Aurora, Colorado. The people inside wore blue jumpsuits instead of orange to signify that they were being held in a “civil” detainment center, instead of a “criminal” detainment center. The difference in prisons versus detainment centers has little difference besides that. Regardless of choices one has made in their lives, “civil” or “criminal,” no one deserves to be locked up in a cage. At the detention center in Aurora, families are held weeks without bond posts, and months when families are not able to afford bond.

We ran into a few activists from Syracuse at the Denver protest, which was a bit surreal. It’s a small world, but I wish the world of people showing up at these protests was larger. Regardless, there were thousands of people who showed up last night at the detention center in protest. The crowd was probably split in its political views as some people were only there to protest the jailing of children, while others were there to protest the jailing of any and all human beings. At a certain point during the protest, the crowd started chanting “Lock Him Up” in regards to trump, and the rest of the crowd was silent in their feeling of the hypocrisy of that chant.

There were two separate protests happening at the same time. A bit outside the detention center property was the main protest, led by Colorado Immigration Coalitions. Past the orange cone barriers, and marching upon the dention center property itself was the more radical crowd, full of communists, socialists and prison abolitionists and led by Native Americans.

We cross the barrier at a certain point at the urging of Native people to have allies join them. As we passed the barrier, the mainstream protesters stood in front of us to block us and warned us that it was a federal crime to cross that line.

At the radical protest, Native Americans held the microphones, and led a circle dance with drums.

They had taken down the American flag in front of the detention center and replaced it with a seemingly bloodstained one which in all aspects represented the idea of the U.S. better.

Soon after, there was talk that the police were moving in, and Carp and I planned our exit strategies and finally took them. As we were crossing the “border” back to the “safe side” of the protest, these two women grabbed the orange cones making the border, and one by one threw them in the river below. Video below.

There were internal politics happening between the two groups- the mainstream group made up of nonprofits was trying to “follow the rules” while the radical group was yelling back that the “rules” were what has everyone locked up in the first place inside the detention center. The nonprofits were saying that the radical protest would make their jobs harder, and they wouldn’t be able to see the people inside and help them as easily if this continued to escalate. The radical protest said people shouldn’t be inside in the first place.

Originally published at everydayembellishments.wordpress.com

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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe — http://eepurl.com/cZoiG9

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe — http://eepurl.com/cZoiG9