With America’s talk of social injustices and political tension becoming more and more urgent than it’s been for a while, the time is now for citizens everywhere to step up for unity and humanitarianism worldwide.
Enter: Miguel, the R&B heartthrob singer and songwriter who will be headlining Adelanto, California’s free #SchoolsNotPrisons concert in support of an incredible cause: the end of cruel and unjust immigrant prisons.
The Wildheart singer will take the stage at the arts and music festival on Friday night (October 20) where activists and artists alike plan to join and advocate for fair treatment of incarcerated immigrants who face deportation from the U.S. The special location of the Adelanto concert is particularly special as well, as the southern California city houses the state’s largest immigrant penitentiary.
Organizers hope to bring attention to not only the unjust handling of immigrant citizens who are awaiting decisions on requests to remain in the U.S., but a nationwide closure of all immigrant prisons. Additionally, about 1,600 people are locked up in the infamous Adelanto prison operated and owned by GEO Group, a for-profit prison company maintaining corrections facilities on a global scale. As planners hope for a turnout of attendees in the thousands, another prioritized goal is exposing the multitude of ways profit-collecting immigrant prisons place the well-being and safety of California communities at risk.
“It's important now, more than ever, for us to recognize humanity in one another,” Miguel says of the concert’s overreaching cause. “I'm just hoping to help educate myself on the realities of our immigration policy and also shed whatever light I can on the families dealing with cruel and unjust treatment in Adelanto.”
Sylvester Owino, a Kenya native who was incarcerated at a detention center for nine years, a common guise for immigrant prisons, will be just one of the people sharing his experiences as an immigrant prisoner.
“I was held for a very long time, almost ten years, and I can tell you this: these ‘detention centers,’ as they call them, they’re prisons without a doubt,”Owino says. “I came to the U.S. from Kenya, where I was afraid for my life. These prisons are profiting off of people like me, holding them for years for no good reason. We have to end it.”
Immigrant support and advocation organizations Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), Inland Empire-Immigrant Youth Collective, the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ) will present the #SchoolsNotPrisons concert, which is also part of a statewide tour that was started in 2016 and produced by Revolve Impact. Other support includes funding by The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation and partnership with over 50 organizations in California.
The event is also all age-friendly, with no tobacco, alcohol or drugs allowed. And, as mentioned earlier, attendees are welcome to enjoy the concert free of charge but should register through Eventbrite here, considering that numbers are expected to reach capacity.
(Photo: Harmony Gerber/Getty Images)