Statement from Amory, as they begin an 8 day jail sentence for resisting ICE in Bristol County

Last summer, some friends and I demonstrated outside the Bristol County Jail, a jail and ICE detention center in North Dartmouth, MA. We were there to protest the caging of human beings––by ICE and the rest of the carceral system, too––and to support the prisoners’ hunger strike. After police officers recklessly and haphazardly tore two of us out of our tripods and jackhammered Holly and I out of our blockade, the four of us sat in jail overnight. Today, after a long and confusing legal proceeding, I am returning to a jail cell for 10 days for that action.

I wouldn’t say I’m optimistic or pessimistic about a future without incarceration and other weapons of colonial control. Rather, I am certain that the future is an infinite compilation of presents, and what we choose to pursue now creates the next now. I am certain that through action, a world without ICE, without prisons, police, or military of any kind is not just possible, but inevitable if we decide it is. Blocking entry to a detention center is just one action among many we can take to chase that future.

The New Bedford District Court knows this sentence is a repressive political strategy to discourage dissent. This may put us away for a week and a half each, but it will not cover the shame of caging people and their children for being born on the other side of an arbitrary colonial border, of the state’s history of incarcerating and brutalizing Black and Indigenous people, of buttressing the US military’s crimes against humanity, of continued environmental devastation the state oversees, or of sustaining an irredeemable nation built by stolen labor from stolen people on stolen land. Nor will it cover the necessity of continued opposition to ICE; in fact, it exposes how scared the state is of our power, and how impactful we can be should we choose to forego fear of these courts.

Being 19 years old makes me 4 years older than ICE. Envisioning a uture without such a law enforcement agency doesn’t require any imagination; we’ve very recently lived in a world without it. If we can envision a future without ICE, we can dream of a world where the notion of “citizenship” is an unpleasant memory, composted into a flourishing decolonized present — I can, anyway, and it’s wonderful. Without ICE, we can start to see a world without other forms of police, borders, and militaries. So what actions are necessary to grow this? What can we do in this present?

Hey, by the way, speaking of actionable things: Sherrie Andre, a co-defendant and one of the coolest people I’ve had the privilege of sharing space/action with, is still fighting their charges. If you can, you should come to their court dates to support them!

After I sit in jail for 10 days, many others will stay longer, with less support than me, with fewer resources after getting out. This sentence, heavy handed as it is, is nowhere near the worst the courts have slapped people with. My hope, then, is that those who support us and advocate our freedom will extend that compassion to every victim of incarceration. Every single prisoner is a political prisoner, and every single one deserves our solidarity. Nutty, an activist fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Appalachia (and whose beautifully eloquent statements are the main inspiration for this one), said it best:

“Fuck the liberal ideologies of people who take offense at the punishments endured by some land defenders while they proclaim how distinct we are from those who share our jail cells. The courts are wrong for prosecuting us. And they are wrong for prosecuting all those who lack the extensive networks of support that our movement provides. The courts take people in the hardest moments of their lives and make them even harder, steal people from their families, jail them for not having the money for bail and then imprison them for not being able to afford a fancy lawyer.”

Instead of courts, cops, and any arms of the state which help white supremacists and capitalists lock children and families in cages and profit off it, instead of prisons descended from slavery and Jim Crow, what we need is solidarity and radical neighborly love for each other. We need to see no one as disposable and everyone as precious. And ultimately, we need to be free to grow together beyond what white supremacy would have divide us. Strong communities make the state obsolete.

Thank you to the people who came to the courthouse to support me today. My love and rage goes out to organizers and friends everywhere fighting ICE and linked oppressive machines, as well as those gathering the courage to get involved now. Together, we are sowing the seeds of a better world.

***

Amory is the second person to serve a jail sentence after taking part in the August 2018 action that shut down the entrances of the Bristol County House of Corrections. The action was carried out in solidarity with people being held by ICE who went on hunger strike to demand better conditions at the facility.

You can read more about the action that Amory took part in here.

Amory with supporters before beginning their jail sentence.

A REQUEST: COURT SUPPORT FOR 3 FANG MEMBERS

Next week three of our friends, who were arrested in resistance of ICE, will be going to court. Please come out to support them.

Last August four people with The FANG Collective were arrested at the Bristol County House Corrections after peacefully blocking the entrances to the prison. The action was carried out in solidarity with ICE detainees who were on hunger strike to protest the dire conditions at the facility. Bristol County officials, including Sheriff Hodgson, reacted to the action with violence, resulting in two demonstrators receiving traumatic brain injuries.
More information about that action can be found here.  

Amory, one of the four people arrested at the action has been sentenced to ten days in jail. Last month Holly, one of the other people who were arrested as part of the action, served a jail sentence in Bristol County. Another person began their sentence last week. Sherrie, who is the fourth person being prosecuted for taking action, could begin their trial this month.

On July 16, Amory will begin serving a ten day jail sentence in Bristol County, MA.

On July 17, Sherrie is making a motion to move the location of their trial. This could be their final court appearance before the trial begins.

We are asking people to come to the New Bedford District Court at 8:45 on both days to show our support for Amory and Sherrie!

On July 19, Lee is seeking to have her charges dismissed after being violently arrested during a meeting between ICE and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department. She was violently arrested after peacefully speaking up. More information on that action can be found here.

Sheriff Hodgson, the head of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department is a close ally of Trump and is known for his violent and racist policies. Hodgson is facing several lawsuits and investigations focused on corruption and the awful conditions at the facilities he oversees.  

If you need a ride to the courthouse on either day, post on the Facebook event pages (links for the 16th and 17th here). We also are requesting donations for this, as we plan to bring petty cash to help other community members who need to pay off small fines in court. 

Thank you for your support!! 

Recap of our Week of Action to #ShutDownICE

During the last week of June, we carried out a Week of Action to #ShutDownICE. The week of action was organized to time up with the expiration of ICE’s 287(g) program which allows for local law enforcement to carry out the duties of ICE agents. We took action to raise awareness about the program, and to demand that agencies in Massachusetts and elsewhere not renew their 287(g) agreements.

Below is a day by day recap of the actions that we took. Please DONATE to support our resistance.

Targeting UMB Bank and the Wyatt Detention Facility

On Monday, June 24th we organized a social media storm that targeted UMB Bank and their CEO Mariner Kemper. Earlier this year UMB sued to force the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, Rhode Island to continue to hold people detained by ICE. The Board that governs the Wyatt had agreed to end their collaboration with ICE after community protests, but was forced to continue to work with ICE after UMB’s lawsuit.

Later in the day on Monday, we visited Deming Sherman’s office in Providence to demand that he do everything in his power to allow lawyers to enter and provide legal representation to people detained by ICE at the Wyatt facility. Deming Sherman is the court appointed “Special Master” assigned to ensure that UMB Bank and other investors continues to profit from ICE detentions at the Wyatt. You can watch the video of the action here. 

Disrupting the Plymouth County Police Officers Association

On Tuesday we were in Kingston, Massachusetts where we disrupted the monthly gathering of the Plymouth County Police Officers Association. At the gathering was Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald, who has signed on Plymouth County to both a 287(g) and an IGSA agreement with ICE. Through the IGSA agreement hundreds of people are held at the Plymouth County House of Corrections on behalf of ICE. 

We disrupted the meeting and directly asked Sheriff McDonald to end his collaborations with ICE. We took action in honor of the lives of Sophorn Sam and Cuthbert Bonnie, and the lives of many unknown names, that were uprooted or lost at the hands of Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald’s collaboration with ICE. Here’s the video of the action. 

Demanding that the Bristol County District Attorney Stop Prosecuting Activists

On Wednesday we held a call-in day to Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn demanding that he stop prosecuting people for resisting ICE, and instead investigate corrupt and racist Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson.

Last August four people were arrested after peacefully blocking the entrances to the Bristol County House of Corrections. One person has already served a ten day jail sentence for taking action, and two others will be serving jail sentences soon. Sherrie, a co-founder of FANG, is facing trial for their role in the action later this summer.

You can still CALL Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quin and urge him to stop prosecuting activists and to investigate Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson instead: 508-997-0711 

Blockading the Massachusetts Department of Corrections

On Thursday we blockaded the headquarters of the Massachusetts Department Of Corrections. Three entrance gates were locked while the main entrance was blocked by folks locked into concrete blockades. The Massachusetts Department of Corrections has a 287(g) agreement with ICE, meaning that anyone who enters a State prison in Massachusetts can be detained on immigration charges. 

The blockade lasted for several hours. One person was arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. You can watch the initial livestream of the action here, and view more photos of the action here

ICE Kills Trans Women – Taking Action in Cape Cod on the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall

Friday June 28th marked the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Stonewall Police Riots, an uprising that played a crucial role in the history of trans and queer resistance.

We took action in Cape Cod that day to commemorate this anniversary and draw attention to state violence against trans women of color who continue to be marginalized, harassed and murdered at striking rates. We hold solidarity with trans and queer folks resisting state violence, and want to recognize and honor Roxsana Hernández Rodríguez and Johana Medina León, two trans migrants recently killed by ICE.

Barnstable County’s Sheriff James M. Cummings signed a 287(g) agreement in November 2017, despite pushback in the county. Sheriff Cummings continues to face substantial criticism for his collaboration with ICE in Cape Cod and its surrounding islands; an area famous for its support of white gay communities.

Cape Cod and its white gay pride are complicit in the continued violence faced by LGBTQ2S+ peoples of color, and must return to Pride’s Radical Roots of Resistance to state violence by demanding an end to its 287(g) agreement. You can view more images of the action here.

Rally Against ICE at the Bristol County House of Corrections

On Saturday over 150 people rallied at the Bristol County House of Corrections demanding that the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department end their collaborations with ICE. Bristol County has both a 287(g) and a IGSA agreement with ICE. Read more about the rally here.

Thanks to everyone who supported the Week of Action to #ShutDownICE! If you are able to, please pitch in with a donation to help cover the costs of this mobilization.