In what promises to be an ongoing series of weekly protests, activists shut down a LA street during rush hour traffic Monday to hold a concert in front of the government's local immigrant detention center to send a melodious messages of support to those detained within.
Organizers estimate that 30-50 people attended the event.
“We want people to know that this is happening in our city, that hard working people are being deported,” said Omar Leon, one of the organizers and performers at the event told Fusion.
Leon said he was inspired to write a protest song after he met a woman standing on the sidewalk waving at someone detained inside. Leon says the woman told him she would have phone conversations with her detained husband and they would agree on a time for her to stand outside so they could see each other through the window.
“Approach the window because I brought you a serenade,” goes the first line of Leon's song. “…even though you’re incarcerated, look those who love you, sing to you”
Inmates inside the facility waved and gave thumbs-up to demonstrators on the street. Two inmates scrawled messages on toilet paper hung from small rectangular windows.
The concert is a part of a series of performances called “Chant Down the Walls,” organized by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center can hold up to 908 inmates, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. A facility spokesperson could not immediately say how many detainees are currently being held there.
Organizers said they plan to conduct similar performances in front of the Metropolitan Detention Center every Monday until the end of the year.