Call to Action: Join a March Against Migrant Detention Camps in Washington DC October 19, 2019

by Jane Hopkins Walsh

A group named Doctors for Camp Closure (D4CC) is organizing a protest march in Washington DC on October 19, 2019 to petition congress to act on behalf of migrant people imprisoned in unsafe and inhumane conditions in detention camps. This grassroots coalition appears to lack significant nursing representation. I blog today to invite concerned nurses to join the physicians and medical students, who have come together to form D4CC to protest against continued human rights violations of refugees and asylum seekers. D4CC is collecting signatures and will march to physically present them to congress on October 19th. Please consider joining the protest march and also signing the petition. Everyone is invited to march – not just doctors and nurses.

Over the past years, many of us as concerned nurses, have asked ourselves and each other how we can organize to protest the detention of refugees and asylum seekers. Several Radical Nurse blog posts have addressed the unjust and inhumane practices of detaining immigrant people and families, and of separating children from their parents. Thousands of children and families are still imprisoned- detained under conditions that are contributing to suffering, illness, and preventable deaths, and causing irreversible trauma for refugees that have already experienced tremendous hardships.

A recent policy decision from US officials not to vaccinate detained immigrant people against influenza is especially cruel. As the globe braces for a particularly bad flu season, this dangerous government mandate is expected to cause serious illness and death among detainees who are imprisoned in extremely overcroweded conditions. I cannot, we cannot, sit passively by and watch this unfold.

Collectively building relationships to join together for a common cause are basic principles of grass roots organizing. Groups intersecting and forming coalitions are powerful strategic tools used to create social change. I urge you to join D4CC to ensure that nursing has a strong presence in this important protest. I envision a group renamed: Doctors and Nurses for Camp Closure. Please join me. Sign the petition today. Come to DC on October 19th.

The future depends on what you do today ~~Mahatma Gandhi

Jane Hopkins Walsh is a Spanish speaking pediatric nurse practitioner at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a PhD Candidate in Nursing and Jonas-Blaustein Scholar at Boston College. She is enrolled in a certificate program at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at the BC Lynch School of Education.

Jane is a volunteer and board member for the longest-serving NGO in Honduras called Cape CARES (www.capecares.org). Jane is passionate about social justice and immigrant rights and volunteers for Project Reunify (www.reunify.org), the Dilley Pro Bono Project (https://www.immigrationjustice.us/volunteeropportunities/dilley-pro-bono-project) and The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law  (www.centerforhumanrights.org).

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