Thank you for supporting the community open letter sent to Angela Glover Blackwell as part of collective resistance to Heartland Alliance’s annual gala and their continued detention of migrant children. Over 25 community groups and dozens of individuals signed on to this open letter asking that Angela Glover Blackwell, a prominent abolitionist at the think-tank PolicyLink, withdraw from speaking at Heartland’s November 20th gala and make a public statement denouncing their detention of migrant children.
We received an email notification from a staff person at PolicyLink that Angela Glover Blackwell withdrew from speaking at the Heartland Annual Gala on November 20th as a result of our open letter. We were glad to hear of this decision, but we continued to ask that her position be made clear publicly via her rather formidable media/social media reach. We reminded her of the call to action in our open letter - “We urge you to release a public statement and withdraw from speaking at Heartland’s fundraiser. This is a public issue and you are a public figure. Your course of action will shape public discourse about child detention as well as your standing within the community on this issue.” Angela Glover Blackwell was eventually removed from Heartland’s media promotion of the gala, but we have still seen no public statement from her.
While we are disappointed that she has not yet publicly opposed Heartland, we affirm the course of action that our communities chose -- both the choice to reach out to an influential person such as Ms. Glover Blackwell, but also the choice to do so publicly as an open letter, making the entire process a part of the public reckoning over Heartland’s facilities and migrant child detention in general. We affirm that doing this collectively and in the public sphere advances our cause far more than private negotiation, and count it as a success that our tactics pressured Ms. Glover Blackwell to withdraw from the gala.
We would like to extend an open invitation to all of the groups and individuals who came together for this process. Let’s continue fighting together! Would you co-host a teach-in in your neighborhood/organization about migrant child detention in Chicago? Do you have an idea for an action or event that explores the intersections of mass incarceration, juvenile injustice, the foster care system, migrant child detention and climate justice? Can we devise more ways to collaborate on abolitionist organizing in Chicago? Would you co-host an action against the child detention centers in your neighborhoods? Can you support our efforts to build relationships in neighborhoods where these facilities are located: Bronzeville, Englewood, Beverly, Rogers Park, Des Plaines, Bartlett? Would you like to attend our next actions or an organizing meeting? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Little Village Solidarity Network through our Facebook page. We have meetings every Sunday evening and are also open to intentional collaborations and/or supporting other autonomous groups and their actions.
We are currently pushing to make December a month of regular singing outside of the lock-ups. This goal is informed by our recent contact with a young man named José who was incarcerated in a Roger's Park facility and witnessed community members singing and chanting outside. As a resistor inside, he was inspired by the solidarity and vowed to find and contact the group who organized the sing-in to give testimony and collaborate further. (You can find some of his recent testimony, recorded by LVSN members, on this link.) Stay tuned on Facebook or reach out via email to join in the singing efforts. Let’s take this opportunity to strengthen our solidarity and continue fighting to end detention of migrant children and all forms of incarceration and borders everywhere. Free them all!
LITTLE VILLAGE SOLIDARITY NETWORK/RED DE SOLIDARIDAD DE LA VILLITA
ROGERS PARK SOLIDARITY NETWORK
FREE HEARTLAND KIDS CAMPAIGN
RISING TIDE CHICAGO