“Since September 2018, six known youth have died being held in United States Customs and Border Patrol custody,” said AMOR‘s Arely Diaz, reading a prepared statement. “We are here today to mourn the loss of their lives and to speak against the violence of detention and incarceration. These young people came to the United States seeking refuge, and instead were met with negligence and brutality, ultimately resulting in their deaths.
“We also want to acknowledge that there are many names we do not know, those who have died while in Customs and Border Patrol custody, while crossing the so-called United States/Mexico border or while incarcerated in the United States prison system. We recognize the deaths of these six young people and of all those whose names we do not know as acts of state violence, and we commit to fighting against the oppressive systems of immigration, detention, incarceration, imperialism and white supremacy in our communities and beyond.”
AMOR (Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance) met in Central Falls’ River Island Park, and after sharing some words together in reflection of the lives lost, marched to the Wyatt Detention Facility, where there are currently over 100 undocumented immigrants being held in United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.
At the Wyatt, a memorial for the six children known to have died while being detained by the United States was built. More words were spoken, songs were sung, and AMOR recommitted to shutting down the Wyatt, the only for-profit prison in Rhode Island.
The children who have died in the custody of the United States committed no crimes. They ranged in age from two to 16 years.
Here are the six children known to have died:
Also remembered was Claudia Patricia Gómez Gonzalez, shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent.
Here is the rest of the video from the event:
Arely Diaz opens the vigil:
After reading the statement at the top of this piece, Diaz shared some personal thoughts:
Catarina Lorenzo, director of AMOR:
Words shared by those in attendance:
Diaz and Lorenzo read the names and biographies of those being remembered:
March to the Wyatt:
Building the memorial. The child in the video, Simon, is two years old, around the same age as Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez, above.
Wyatt Detention Facility security arrived to tell those attending the vigil that no signs are to be attached to the gate:
Final words from Lorenzo:
Final words from Diaz:
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