The Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles is just a few miles from where this program is produced. It is a federal holding facility for undocumented immigrants who have been picked up by authorities and are awaiting trial or deportation. Under President Obama, hundreds of thousands of immigrants have been deported each year. The issue has been stymied by a combination of Republican xenophobia and Democratic foot dragging. But meanwhile, real people languish behind bars.
Now, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), one of the leading immigrant rights groups in the country, is drawing attention to the largely invisible trauma of family separation and imprisonment. Each Monday this month, and perhaps indefinitely, they have organized concerts to serenade immigrant detainees locked up at Metropolitan Detention Center.
Gathering at 5 pm on the corner of Alameda and Aliso, the day laborer band Los Jornaleros del Norte, joined by Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux, hold free concerts as part of a series they are calling Chant Down the Walls. A blog post in the New York Times said it best, “In protest advocacy, there are times for marches and speeches. But sometimes, you just have to sing.”
GUEST: Omar Leon. He is the workforce development coordinator for NDLON and lead singer Los Jornaleros del Norte
Visit www.ndlon.org for more information.