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Community rallies for hunger strikers at Tacoma Northwest Detention Center

By Mantak Singh

Protest at Tacoma Northwest Detention Center.

Tacoma, WA – On Saturday, February 4, over 50 people came to support the ongoing hunger strikes occurring in the Northwest Detention Center. The detention center is operated by the GEO group, sanctioned by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This solidarity action was organized by La Resistencia NW to support the undocumented people detained inside. The crowd chanted, “Chinga la migra” and “Estan no solos – you are not alone!” Several detainees video-called the crowd to express their gratitude and to explain their predicament.

In the NWDC, over 100 people went on hunger strike for the most basic of demands. These included real and healthy food, regular mealtimes, low commissary prices, clean spaces, genuine COVID-19 preventative measures, be paid for their work, haircuts, clean clothing, decent bedding, medical care, real attention from ICE, and no retaliation for the hunger strikes.

“ICE should be held responsible for GEO's gassing of the undocumented people detained inside,” said Maru Mora from La Resistencia.

In response to their hunger strike, GEO agents in riot gear barged into their cells and pepper sprayed detainees until the mirrors turned yellow. After that attack, they were not provided a change of clothes until the following morning. ICE made concessions by providing some cell blocks with adequate food, however, they did the exact same tactic in May. As punishment, certain prisoners were taken to medical in handcuffs while others were placed in solitary.

“Regardless of the cold and the rain, getting all wet and freezing, it’s worth it knowing that we are fighting for our friends and family locked inside, that are being treated so poorly. The suffering that we are facing out here is nothing compared to what they have to face,” said Ma Leónides Perez. She is the mother of Santiago Perez, who has been detained by ICE for four years. She has been at the Northwest Detention Center almost every day since in solidarity with her son.

La Resistencia is calling on the community to email [email protected] and [email protected] to demand that they stop providing a good breakfast with one unit, while denying it to others.

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