Our award-winning storytelling projects allow people in immigration detention and their allies to challenge injustice through the oldest art form.

 

Storytelling allows us to experience the similarities between ourselves and others. It allows us to link present struggles for justice to similar struggles of the past. And it allows us to create an archive of the present for future generations to learn about subaltern histories that are often forgotten.
 

STORIES OF MASS INCaRCERATION

We view immigration detention as part of the mass incarceration system, and we are a National Issue Partner of States of Incarceration, a project presented by the Humanities Action Lab at The New School that brings together over 500 people in 20 U.S. cities to create a traveling exhibition on the past, present, and future of mass incarceration in their communities.

SHARE YOUR STORY OR VOLUNTEER 

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Our staff is available to train you or your organization on how to collect, share, and preserve people’s stories through various mediums.

Explore our storytelling projects below and then join the movement by sharing your story or emailing Christina Mansfield at CMansfield@freedomforimmigrants.org. 

 

OUR STORYTELLING PROJECTS

 

"HEAR TOGETHER" AUDIO POSTCARDS

Visiting a loved one in detention isn't always a possibility. With audio postcards, we help connect people on the inside with their friends and family on the outside as a way to end their isolation and help overcome the physical and geographical barriers of civil confinement. 

 

 
 
 
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prolonged detention stories

What if you had no idea for how long you'd be locked up in immigration detention? That's the reality for many in the U.S. This website highlights the many problems with the U.S. government’s long-term detention of people detained by immigration officials without giving them a day in court. It is a joint project of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law and Freedom for Immigrants. 

 
 
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California’s New Angel Island

Angel Island lies off the coast of San Francisco. Through the early 20th century it served as an immigration detention center to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act. Though no longer in operation, it's a reminder of the ongoing mistreatment of immigrants in the U.S. In this project, we explore the world inside California’ detention centers — the new Angel Island — through individuals in detention, like Carlos Hidalgo. 

 
 
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life inside immigration detention in massachusetts 

“You’re shackled from waist down…this is what the slaves went through when they were being sold off." The project "Community Bonds" tells the stories of five men — Mark Reid, Miguel Williamson, Virgil Costa, Delroy McPherson and Cesar Chavarria — who were detained by ICE in Massachusetts. 

 
 

CALL ME LIBERTAD: POEMS BETWEEN BORDERS

In this book, former and current people in immigration detention, their family members, and allies describe the horrifying reality of our current system. It also shows humanity a better version of itself through poems and artwork filled with hope and dreams of solidarity. This book is an effort to liberate our country’s political imagination and remind us all of our capacity for deep compassion for our fellow human beings.

 
 
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THE QUOTA

Did you know the U.S. government mandates that at least 34,000 people be detained on a daily basis? No other law enforcement agency has that kind of quota. Watch our video to learn how human rights are traded for profit in the U.S. and why we must #EndTheQuota. 

 

 
 
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words beyond walls

"Words Beyond Walls" is a series of blog posts published on the Huffington Post authored by those directly affected by immigration detention. 

 

 

 
 
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10,000 CAGES

“Adelanto’s 10,000 Cages” is a documentary short film produced by our organization and Film Bliss Studios. It was released in Fall 2015, just days after the City of Adelanto approved plans by GEO Group, a private prison corporation, to build yet another prison in the City of Adelanto.

 

 
 
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family separation

"Immigration Detention Separates Family" was our first attempt to audio record people in immigration detention and translate it into a medium easily shareable on social media. Within the first week, our video had thousands of views and had been featured on Upworthy. It went on to win a Tech Soup Digital Storytelling Award, and we have since gone on to train individuals and nonprofits on how to audio record people in detention.

 
 

drawings by themselves

"Drawings By Themselves: Portraits of America" is a multimedia project that provides children and parents impacted by U.S. immigration detention with an opportunity to share their stories and their drawings. The title refers to the fact that many of these mothers, fathers, and children are separated from their family; they are alone, and hence, the drawings are done “by themselves."

 
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Hear Together

 

Hear Together: Audio Postcards to Immigrant Detention. The project is a collaboration between the Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law, Freedom for Immigrants, and radio producer Sylvia Ryerson. We are working with family members of individuals detained in ICE facilities in New Jersey to create 3-5 minute Audio Postcards from home.