Lissette Castillo was one of eleven community organizers that were arrested in Broadview during the National Day of Action to Stop Deportations. Lissette is the Immigration Organizer for the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN). This is cross-posted from CRLN, view original post here.
When my friends and family found out that I’d participated in an act of civil disobedience this past Tuesday, their immediate reaction was to flood me with questions about the arrest. A handful of emotions and sentiments were also directed my way, most of which can be described as excitement and/or concern.
While my first civil disobedience act was an incredible experience that truly allowed me to understand the strength of and what it means to stand in solidarity, in many ways, the occurrences and processes leading up to the action itself were every bit as important and incredible if not more.
For me the real and transformative experience began on Monday, April 7th. When with about another 150 people, a pilgrimage was initiated from ICE Headquarters in Chicago to the Broadview Detention Center in Broadview, IL. Through the duration of our half-marathon walk, over shared lunches, conversations, and prayers, amid relentless chanting outside of Broadview, and up to the very moments leading up to the civil disobedience act itself, I was able to talk to some of the most incredibly inspiring and empowering community leaders I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
I decided to engage in an act of civil disobedience outside of the Broadview Detention Center out of a desire to stand in solidarity with those most directly affected by our immigration system. Nobody should be subjected to the unimaginable suffering and anxiety which thousands of individuals and families are forced to endure, and, finally, because I can; as a citizen and as someone who enjoys the arbitrary advantage of citizenship, I’m in position of great privilege. Privilege demands action!
Everything that I saw, experienced, and learned through the course of the two action days served to reassure me of my decision to partake in an act of civil disobedience. The last two days and all the time and effort that went into organizing these actions, were all for a precise end. As the crowds so excitedly reiterated time and time again, “Two Million is Too Many. Stop Deportations Now!”
As far as I’m concerned, it was the inspiring community leaders and activists, the community members and allies, the marchers and participants, and the undocumented, unafraid, families and individuals, who really stole the show! When one considers all the pain and suffering thousands of undocumented individuals and families have been subjected to, their inspiring refusal to allow themselves to be trampled over by political considerations and divisions, and all the empowering work and community organizing that is occurring and will continue to occur. It’s clear that all I did was stand– or in this case lie– in solidarity.
Photo Credit: Arianna Salgado.