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Artists protest immigrant incarceration on Independence Weekend

The Fourth Of July weekend heralds a period of much-needed celebrations of the Americans. But some artists have decided to use the opportunity to make an important point: the incarceration of immigrants.

80 artists are joining “In Plain Sight”, an event that brings focus upon the issue of detaining immigrants. The event launched on Friday and will continue through the 4th of July weekend. The event includes names like Dread Scott, Cassils, and Rafa Esparaza. Esparaza said most people think immigration detention is limited to the US-Mexican border when in reality it is present in every state.

For the event, the group contacted the largest skywriting company in the US. With 3 fleets of planes, the same message will be written on the sky in 80 cities. Each message will end with #XMAP, which prompts users to visit an interactive map online about their nearest detention center. The goal is to make people realize how close they live to the problem of immigrant detention. Visitors on the site would also be encouraged to donate to the cause through funds like Black Immigrant Bail.

Cassils said that people have recently become more aware of the immigrant detention centers, especially with the painful images circulated on social media. But the goal of the event is to enlighten people not just to the proximity of the issue, but also how their own tax dollars fund this torture.

Message outside LA Country Jail

The issue of immigrant detention became more critical after the COVID-19 pandemic started in America. Immigrants died disproportionately, especially those of color. A large reason was the limited space within detention centers where social distancing and isolation was impossible. The artists believe that “detention can be a death center”.

Dread Scott said “I think that the full majesty of this project is only realized when people stick the components together. They will make you think about what and who is erased from American history.”