On Nov. 28, about 50 people gathered at Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego to bring attention to the concentration camps along the U.S.-Mexico border and connect them to the genocide of Indigenous people. A diverse crowd including elders and children participated in the march.
The event was part of a caravan organized by a grassroots network of Indigenous activists based along the West Coast, from Washington all the way to San Diego. Known as the first annual “March for Freedom,” caravan organizers sought to honor Indigenous children “whose lives were taken inside Residential and Boarding schools, internados, rancherias, haciendas, missions, orphanages, police and CBP brutality, crossing the border, MMIW25 and all crimes against our people.” The San Diego branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation took part in the Otay Mesa action.
The March for Freedom caravan was organized and led by Indigenous women. The list of demands included the immediate abolition of ICE, reunification of families separated by the U.S. immigration system, amnesty for all, a full support system for freed detainees, including reparations and investigations of ICE, and other law enforcement officers accused of harassment and abuse.
Speakers at the event brought attention to the systemic causes of migration: U.S. imperialism and finance capital. They demanded an end to U.S. intervention and occupation and a total divestment from Wall Street banks that exploit us and fund destructive projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline. The action also called for an investigation by the international community into the genocide against Native Americans, as well as demanding justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women, children, and all victims of colonialism.
At the end of the march, participants gathered at the edge of the detention center property, owned and operated by private prison corporation CoreCivic. Speaking into a megaphone, organizers called out to the people inside. Within a few minutes, people inside the detention center were whistling and chanting to make themselves heard. In a particularly powerful moment, organizers promised the people inside that they would not stop fighting to free them, and someone inside yelled, “Gracias!” [“Thank you!”]
Featured image: The crowd gathered outside the Otay Mesa Detention Center. Liberation photo