Social Issues

Artists create ‘sky without borders’ for detained immigrants in US

By Alex Segura Lozano

Los Angeles, July 4 (efe-epa).- Growing up between Tijuana in Mexico and San Diego in the United States gave Latin singer Julieta Venegas a unique perspective to understand the border communities and the challenges immigrants face as they try to reach the US for a better life.

She and a total of 80 artists with different backgrounds are part of the “In Plain Sight” coalition, an initiative that calls for the abolition of immigrant centers and an end to the incarceration culture in the US that mainly affects minorities.

“It is important to raise awareness of what is happening in detention centers and generate awareness and empathy towards the suffering of immigrants. From the beginning till the end and everything in between,” Venegas told EFE in an interview while in Buenos Aires.

The border region between Tijuana and San Diego where she grew up was on Friday scene to a “work of art” in heaven, according to the organizers, as a group of artists collaborated to produce skytyped messages in protest against immigrant detention camps.

Some planes drew a message chosen by Venegas in the sky: “Don’t give up,” they wrote to give hope to detainees.

For the artist, the concept of imprisoning immigrants upon arrival in the country is wrong because the possibility of emigrating and seeking refuge is “a human right”.

“They cannot treat people like that. They are human beings who carry terrible emotional baggage and experience of this type can break them. They cannot do this. It is horrible,” she said.

The project, called “In Plain Sight”, to feature messages in the sky is founded by artist Rafa Esparza.

The messages in the air will be flashed over the Independence Day weekend in more than 50 locations across California, Texas, New Jersey, and New York State.

In Los Angeles, the coalition of artists has organized five events scattered around the city on Tuesday, while New York will have two on Sunday.

Immigration courts, detention centers, and Border Patrol headquarters are some of the locations where the group of artists has planned to air notes such as “Care not cages” or “Abolition now”.

Colombian artist Carlos Motta and co-founder of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, Patrice Cullors, are also participating in the project.

The project, according to the organization, is conceived in five parts. A nationally enacted poetic elegy, an interactive website, an anthology of documentaries, “accessible” actions for people to join the movement against immigrant detentions, and cultural associations to educate on the issue.

“In Plain Sight will help break this wall of secrecy, exposing detention center sites, paid for with their money and operated on their behalf, to public scrutiny,” organizers told EFE.

Despite the difficult situation, they are now living in, Venegas wants detainees to see a “sky without borders” through their slogans in the air.

“We are talking about human beings who are suffering, who are carrying a lot of weight. We cannot do that to them,” she said. EFE-EPA

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