A member of my community, Kitzia Esteva, is one of the No Papers , No Fears Riders. She has been arrested for engaging in an act of civil disobedience at the Democratic National Convention and is currently being held by the Meckleburg Sheriff’s Dept. She and the other riders (including Kitzia’s mother, Gloria) will be handed over to ICE in the morning and are currently facing deportation. I last saw Kitzia in Highland Park when I ran into her on the bus as she was returning from my neighborhood swimming pool.
Kitzia and her mother Gloria (who have both been long active in social justice activism and organizing) joined other undocumented people and their allies to go to the DNC to put a human face on immigration.
If Kitzia’s Mexican family was anything like my own she may have grown up sleeping in the same bed with her mother, sister and her sister’s children. I can only imagine the ache of loneliness Kitzia expereinced when her mother and sister had to immigrate to get access to the medical attention that would save her nephew’s life. It must have been unbearable for a thirteen year old and her mother but it’s what had to be done. And fifteen year old Kitzia must have been terrified when she made the journey from Mexico City to Los Angeles to be reunited with the two most important women in her life.
I am continuously floored by their tremendous courage and couldn’t help but think about my own experiences with organizing direct actions. I have often designated myself “unarrestable.” Unarrestable is activist lingo for people that you place out of the line of fire when you are planning a strategy for an action or act of civil disobedience. Transgender and gender nonconforming people, sex workers, minors, pregnant women, people with prior convictions, people with young children in their care, people with medical conditions that require medication and undocumented immigrants are all people I would normally categorize as “unarrestable”. They are the people without a safety net and the ones who will fall the hardest if taken into police custody.
Working as a professional activist I mostly organized alongside people from white upper middle class backgrounds and who were newly and probably temporarily poor. Most of my colleagues were right out of college, had great educations, lines of credit and parents with guest rooms they could end up in should they get in a real bind. They were mostly people who could afford to get arrested and if their parents didn’t bale them out of jail it was usually a safe bet that our major donors would come to the rescue. But I never really fit in enough at my organization to trust the faceless “major donors” to catch me if I fell.
Kitzia and her mom are not rich and they have no safety net. Kitzia, Gloria and all the No Papers, No Fear Riders have thrown their bodies into the gears of the machine but they cannot muck up the machine on guts and virtue alone. They need our help.
Let us help to create a community safety net for Kitzia, Gloria, all the No Papers No Fears Riders and all immigrants. Sign The Petition To Free the No Papers No Fear Riders here
Call ICE now and demand that EVERYONE on the No Papers No Fear Riders be released immediately! 202 732-3000
Kitzia and Gloria have experienced tremendous discomfort and are facing impossible fear in order to defend civil rights for all of us. Let their courage strengthen your heart when you call ICE and demand all of the No Papers No Fears riders are released from custody!
August 5th 9 a.m. UPDATE via undocubus: Kitzia Esteva, her mother and all 10 of the No Papers No Fear Riders are were just released! Kitzia said that soon after they arrived at the sherrif’s prison they where put into a ICE hold(!) and told by a smirking ICE officer that they would be deported. Not long afterwards the ICE central hq called their officers and told them to back off and take the riders off off the ICE hold — That means that the calls to ICE and the organized pressure worked! The only secure community is an organized one!! Kitzia sends her love and gratitude to you all.