The FANG Collective wrapped up their week of action with a rally outside the Bristol County House of Correction that drew over 200 people on Saturday morning. FANG has been opposing the 287(g) agreements United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has made with law enforcement agencies across the country, agreements that essentially deputize local officers to act as ICE agents in detaining and arresting undocumented people.
The Bristol County House of Correction and Bristol County’s elected Sheriff Thomas Hodgson are among the worst when it comes to enforcing this policy here in New England. An ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, Hodgson has become a target of FANG’s non-violent direct action.
Last August four members of the FANG Collective were arrested for blockading the entrance to the jail. In their zeal to make arrests, law enforcement collapsed metal tripods, injuring some of the protesters. One of the protesters arrested at that action, Holly Stein, served nine days at the Bristol County House of Correction for her actions.
Stein addressed the crowd, and two letters she received from inmates she served with were read aloud to those gathered:
FANG protested outside Hodgson’s home last Thanksgiving, and two other members of FANG were arrested for allegedly disrupting a Bristol County Sheriff public meeting. In response, all Hodgson seemed able to do during the protest was glare menacingly, and direct law enforcement under his command to keep the protesters off the lawn of the facility. The only time the officers reacted to the protesters was when they strayed too close to what the Sheriff considers land under his control, as seen in the video below:
Can we please ask a favor?
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It was a very positive event, despite the fact that undocumented people were being held inside the facility, awaiting possible deportation, for simply coming to this country seeking a better life. The event began with chanting and singing. Musical accompaniment was provided by the What Cheer? Band.
Anusha, who had been arrested and released on Thursday for having blocked the entrance to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections headquarters in Medford, Massachusetts, was the first speaker. She explained the reason for the rally, which is to oppose 287(g) agreements and Sheriff Hodgson.
“Brostol County has already renewed their agreement [with ICE],” said Anusha. “So fuck Bristol County.”
After Holly Stein talked about her experiences inside the prison, Anusha asked people in the crowd to call Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn and urge him to stop prosecuting the activists who are still awaiting trial for last August’s blockade of the prison entrance and allegedly disrupting the Bristol County Sheriff public meeting in April and to investigate Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson instead. Calls can be made to these numbers: 508-997-0711 and 508-679-1911
Anusha introduced LaSella Hall, President of the New Bedford NAACP:
James Monteiro, who is a founding member of the Formerly Incarcerated Union here in Rhode Island, also spoke:
Catarina Lorenzo, one of the co-directors of AMOR (Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance) addressed those in attendance:
Then, of course, it was time for more chants:
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