Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

New Vice President leadership at Laney announced
New Vice President leadership at Laney announced
Besikof selects Lily Espinoza and Ashish Sahni for Laney VP positions
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • May 13, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
Archives
Peralta Trustee Paulina Gonzalez Brito addresses the crowd at Berkeley City College’s 50th anniversary celebration. The event featured a block party along with a groundbreaking ceremony for the college’s new Milvia Street building. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
‘We’re still rising’: BCC celebrates 50th anniversary
College throws block party and breaks ground on new building
Sam O'Neil, Associate Editor • May 6, 2024
College of Alameda jazz professor Glen Pearson demonstrates his musical talent on his classroom piano. Hes one of the newest members of the Count Basie Orchestra, a historic 18-piece jazz ensemble that took home a Grammy this year.
The humble Grammy-winning pianist leading CoA’s music program
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • March 4, 2024
Archives

    BASTA panel discusses mass detention

    On Monday October 15 the Laney Theater was packed by 7:15 for BASTA’s (Brown Alliance of Students Taking Action) panel on unaccompanied minors and mass detention. The crowd’s anticipation grew as BASTA’s adviser Alicia Caballero invited the crowd to dinner, “first we’ll feed our stomachs and then we’ll feed our minds.”
    Over one hundred attendees lined up for enchiladas served with rice and beans, and horchata to drink. After the shared meal, and panelist introductions, Miguel Avila and Crystal Perez of BASTA asked a series of thought provoking questions. Panelists aimed to explain the root of migration from Central America, the shortcomings of the U.S. government’s immigration policies, and the role of the media.
    According to panelist Tania Valdez of East Bay Community Law Center, 50% of immigration detainees are housed in county jails and local jails, while the other 50% are housed in private prisons. “Immigration custody is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. But immigrant detainees are being housed in jails, in prisons, sometimes mixed in with inmates and sometimes not.”
    “The movements [for immigrant rights and against mass incarceration] would benefit from merging together and fighting the same united cause because the conditions of detention, whether they are criminal or immigration, need to improve; they are very, very bad in this country.
    The Spanish word “hielera”, meaning icebox, now has a second meaning given by immigration detainees. The term is a result of detainees being kept in deplorable conditions, in particular, extremely cold cells. Many detainees feel boarder patrol are intentionally “using conditions to try to force people to just accept their deportations, and not to stay and file their cases,” according to Valdez. Barbara Pinto of Centro Legal further relayed the experience of detainees in family facilities saying “there were hundreds of families in one room with one toilet that didn’t flush.”
    Valdez outlined the next leg of an immigrant’s journey saying, “just imagine low income people who just entered the United States who don’t have permission to work. [They] try to learn the legal system, and find an attorney. [To] find an attorney they can afford is extremely difficult. Usually one or two years isn’t enough time, and now they’re giving children 21 days before their first appearance. As someone else put it eloquently, our deportation priorities in the United States right now are number one what we call criminal aliens, and number two children.”
    Pinto added the staggering statistic that children with an attorney have more than an 80% chance of winning, while children without an attorney have a less than 10% chance of winning.
    “We are all immigrants in this country. Sometimes we see people outside, blue eyed, blond hair, they are immigrants too. At some time they were immigrants, sometimes we forget that,” said one of the panelists.
    Panelists cited the U.S. war on drugs entwined with involvement in Central American political movements as a direct cause of the extreme violence immigrants are fleeing from. “Once you unearth these political dynamics, what’s at play is the historical extension of revolution and counter-revolution. Those dynamics are very much alive,” said local activist and Oakland high school teacher, Javier Armas.
    As the event came to a close, panelists answered questions from the audience. When asked how to make change outside the legal system, Armas replied, “all change happens outside the legal system. If we were to look at all the serious laws on the books…these really progressive laws in the United States were not passed at a moment of passivity. [They were] passed at a moment of mass mobilization, militant strikes, riots in the ghetto… energy from below, energy from the people, it forced the government to act”.
    Armas encouraged the audience’s participation through independent journalism “starting off with high level research, doing interviews… and then writing stuff on the internet.”
    After encouraging final words, the packed house gave a standing ovation. Moderator Miguel Avila reflected on the huge turnout saying “BASTA achieved more than other events. I’m looking forward to more panels, to more politicizing youths’ minds.”

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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