More than two hundred people detained in the now infamous Northwest Detention Center (NWDC, AKA Northwest ICE Processing Center) went on hunger strike this morning demanding edible food, humane treatment by guards, and the shutdown of the facility. This strike follows months of daily reports by people detained at NWDC of finding maggots, blood, hairs and even screws in their food, and dealing with the lack of response by GEO Group – the corporation that owns and runs the facility- and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The strike is planned to last for 8 days.
Join us this weekend, Saturday 12:30pm & Sunday 12:30pm at the NWDC, to demand that ICE and GEO Group do not retaliate, meet the strikers demands, and ultimately release them all! Sunday’s gathering will take place in collaboration with the Sukkot ritual and action by Kadima Reconstructionist Community. More info below under “upcoming events”.
This is the 19th hunger strike recorded by La Resistencia at NWDC in the past 5 years, and is one of many that people detained under ICE custody throughout the US have staged in 2019. The most recent hunger strikes, and even a mass suicide attempt, in ICE facilities in El Paso, Otero and Louisiana reflect the national sentiment of resistance organized by people imprisoned under ICE custody. This month there were also two deaths in ICE detention that have been reported. One, a hunger striker from Cuba, resembles the death of Amar Mergansana in NWDC last November. Mergansana had been on hunger strike for 83 days and was held in solitary confinement
The poor quality of food has also motivated a strike elsewhere In Washington. On Oct 7th, 700+ individuals at Clallam Bay Correctional Facilities, went on a five day long food and work strike against the Department of Corrections negligence.
We’ve received calls from people detained detailing their reasons for starting a hunger strike:
“We are tired of eating garbage, finding maggots, and other things in the food. GEO and ICE don’t do anything, they take the report and then they say “everything has been fixed”, yet we continue finding maggots in the food. GEO guards mistreat us, they yelled at us, in some instances they have assaulted people here. Some people are afraid of them, but mostly we are tired of being treated that way. We also want to do something for you all, we want to support the efforts outside to shut down this place.”
Detained activists call on GEO Group to serve edible food, and on all of us in Washington to support the campaign to shut down the NWDC and end immigrant detention.
#ShutDownNWDC #CierrenNWDC #SaquenaGEO #SupportHungerStrikers #AbolishICE
- Tomorrow, Saturday Oct 19: Join us at the NWDC to support hunger strikers! 12:30pm
- This Sunday Oct 20th: Spread a Sukkah of Peace at the NW Detention Center 12:30pm – 2:30pm.
- Tuesday Oct 22nd: Decriminalize Seattle Budget Hearing Part 2 5pm – 9:30pm
- Saturday Oct 26th: Shut Down The NWDC Workshop | GenFest CO Track 3:40pm – 5:10pm
- Friday Nov 1st: Día de los Muertos vigil at the NWDC. Stay tuned for more info!
Take Action Now to Shut Down the NWDC!
Last week we launched the #ShutDownNWDC campaign. Join us in the call to end detention and deportations in Washington state.
1) Sign & share this petition as an individual to demand that Tacoma City Council declare NWDC a chronic public nuisance and shut down the detention center once and for all.
2) Has your organization endorsedthe Shut Down Campaign? Learn more about the campaign and endorse as an organization or group here. For a list of endorsing orgs, click here.
3) Change your profile pictures on social media to let everyone know you support the shut down of NWDC! Share with your friends! Find them via our Facebook page. Screen shot our image on Instagram and make it your profile pic.
4) Sign up to canvas! Canvassing will be from 3:30pm until around 7pm on November 1st in Tacoma. We’ll start with a brief training in a central location, followed by the La Resistencia Día De Los Muertos vigil at the detention center. No canvassing experience necessary! Sign up here.
5) Visit our new website and learn more about the Shut Down the NWDC campaign and how you can get involved.