Why aren't more queer, feminist, and other radical media makers mentioning it?
Victoria Arellano/Arrelano (the spelling of her name varies from story to story), a trans woman with AIDS who died in a California immigration facility for men in July after being denied medication and otherwise improperly treated, was one of three immigrants to die in federal custody in a month, according to the Washington Post. The others were a 38-year-old pregnant Mexican woman who died in a Texas facility and a man whose family "implored authorities to give him medicine for his epileptic seizures in Rhode Island." More than 60 people have died in immigration detention facilities in the past several years.
And even beyond those who have died, the stories of medication refused despite pleas from detainees and their families and allies can't not bring to mind the stories of the parents who were separated from their children so fast they couldn't even make arrangements for them to be picked up from daycare in the New Bedford immigration raids in March -- among them breastfeeding mothers whose children were left sick and crying with childcare workers who had to take them to the hospital. (See strong and insistent coverage, including video footage, via brownfemipower's Woman of Color Blog.) Keep in mind that this is happening to people whose legal recourse is severely limited to nonexistent. [more after the jump]
When the New Bedford raids happened and the big feminist blogs failed to cover what was happening to immigrant women forcibly and rapidly separated from their breastfeeding children, brownfemipower and other woman-of-color bloggers persisted in telling the story and calling out the (mostly white) popular feminist bloggers who didn't. Today, I'm wondering at the very small number of comments on my posts about Arellano/Arrelano here on Bilerico and how few feminist, queer, and other radical bloggers have posted about her story.*
At the same time, the LA Daily Journal's account (via Culture Kitchen) of the support Arellano/Arrelano received from other detainees (who seem to have been more respectful of Victoria's gender identity than many of the reporters who have covered the story) evokes hopeful tears: They "soaked their bath towels in water to cool her fever and used a cardboard box as a makeshift trash can to gather her vomit. 'We all asked the guards for help, to take Victoria to the infirmary but no one did anything,' said Oscar Santander, a fellow detainee."
Immigrants' rights struggles and trans struggles and health-care struggles and feminist struggles and HIV/AIDS struggles--and all other struggles for justice--are interconnected. If we believe in justice, these struggles are ours. Pay attention to what is happening inside U.S. immigration detention centers. Too few of us are, and very many of us should be.
*If you have posted about this and I've missed it (I'm scanning blogs I read regularly and doing Google Blog searches on various spellings of Arellano/Arrelano's name), please let me know.