On June 6, residents of Phoenix gathered at events around the valley to mourn the loss of two women immigrants at the hands of ICE.
Dozens of activists lit candles and brought flowers to put at altars for Roxsana Hernández, age 33, and Claudia Gómez González, age 19. Hernández died in ICE custody from complications caused by pneumonia. She was held for five days in custody after she crossed the border. Representatives from
Trans Queer Pueblo, a Phoenix-based activist group that focuses on aiding undocumented transgender and queer people, notes that ICE will frequently
hold detainees in unsafe and inhumane conditions, including in freezer rooms. A press release from Trans Queer Pueblo notes, “the death of Roxsana
Hernández is a brutal reminder that transgender women migrants are among the most targeted and the most vulnerable to the deadly practices of the immigration enforcement agencies.
Also on the same day a remembrance ceremony was held outside the Sandra Day O’Connor Courthouse, organized by activists from Puente Arizona, a human rights organization based in Phoenix. The group mourned the death of Claudia Gómez González, a 19-year old Guatemalan woman shot and killed on May 23 by a Customs and Border Protection agent. Puente Arizona notes that at least 97 people have been killed by CBP agents since 2003, including at least six children.
Roxsana Hernández and Claudia Gómez González will not be forgotten by the friends, family, activists and bystanders who witnessed the touching memorials for these two strong women killed for wanting to live within the United States’ borders. Their memories will live on as activists continue to push back against the administration that murders them and the systems of power that denies them, as a Puente banner boldly stated, “the same right to migrate like our ancestors.”