What is the news today?? The Supreme Court rules that apparently racism is a thing of the past, while completely mis-defining tribal identity and threatening native sovereignty. And then Senator Wendy Davis is currently filibustering in Texas to keep draconian abortion laws off the book, too, so that’s cool.
Meanwhile, I am reflecting on a protest I attended yesterday at the Suffolk Detention Center in Boston, opposing the massive deportations that happen each week, invisible to the eyes of many Americans, but brutally real to many others.
We stood at the intersection of Mass Ave and I-93, 40 or 50 of us within sight of the Suffolk Detention Center, where detainees could see us through their barred windows. We waved and chanted, holding signs showing our solidarity and support; they waved back and banged on the windows, showing signs of their own: ICE 7 Years, and Thank You All.
As deportations continue by the thousands and the US sits on the brink of Immigration Reform, we need to be watching. This country doesn’t make it easy for us to watch passively and see the full picture, so we have to look, and we have to listen. Carefully.
We could see into the part of the detention center nearest the highway, but walking there, we passed walls of windows, which were mirrored on the outside. We could not see in, but the people inside could see out. If we listened, we could hear them banging on the glass, hidden from us.
A two-way mirror is a simple tool to hide an atrocity. What would it look like, to drive by on the highway and see hundreds of faces peering through the glass, hands pressed between bars, mouthing words? Would we ask who those people are? Would we ask if they really need to be there? So long as deportation and incarceration stays hidden, it’s easy to dismiss deportation and incarceration as something that doesn’t apply, so long as you follow the law. “I don’t know the people detained,” you might say, “Aren’t they there for doing something wrong?”
Well who says it’s wrong? The same people hiding them behind mirrored glass.
The people in the wrong are not who’s behind the mirror, but those who put the mirror there in the first place.