NEW BRUNSWICK,NJ–A campaign grows against the millions of deportations separating families across the nation.
“#Not1More weaves together all of our voices in a central location so that local efforts to stop deportation and build community are strengthened and accompanied by cultural creations that illustrate the ugliness of criminalization and the beauty of our communities,” reads their official website.
“Ni una más / Not One More” is now asking for artwork for their latest project, described in detail on their website.
City resident and activist Ana Bonilla, who was featured in our coverage of the NJ DREAM Act, is a supporter of the movement.
Bonilla was arrested on the lawn of the White House after praying for those without proper documentation earlier this year.
She told New Brunswick Today, “A suspension of deportations and the federal programs driving the record-setting pace can unlock the participation and leadership of undocumented people, and thus jump start legislative solutions in Congress and put the debate on the right course towards equality and inclusion.”
On April 5, there was a national call for an end to the deportation of immigrants. Under the administration of President Barack Obama, over two million people were separated from their families and returned to the countries from which they immigrated.
A month prior, Bonilla, a Mexican-born college student was arrested on the lawn of the White House with thirty others in an effort to raise awareness of the growing number of deportations since the Obama Administration.
Bonilla had traveled from New Brunswick to met with a group in Washington D.C.
“We were on the lawn chanting, singing Gospel songs and freedom songs,” said Bonilla.
“The only illegal thing we did was hold up signs… You can’t hold signs in front of the White House.”
The group included members of the United Methodist Church and the Morristown-based organization Wind of the Spirit. Bonilla explained the protesters were arrested one at a time, by the U.S. Park Police.
“This made the process longer than it needed to be. We could have been back much earlier.”
Bonilla ended up paying a $50 fine for her arrest, but said she felt a lot of pressure from the police while being questioned.
“It felt very rushed. The police told us we might have to stay the night, because it was a holiday and no judges were present… I was in a holding cell for a few hours.”
“There is a higher risk for undocumented people during a civil disobedience,” Bonilla tells New Brunswick Today.
“Specifically since many have avoid any confrontation with the law, from fear of the consequences. There is a unity, and comfort in knowing that people will stand with you during the process.”
The plan was for no one to show identification if asked, in solidarity with those who do not have the proper documentation to show. But some protestors did not know this and were quick to give ID to officers.
“I think the most important thing organizers and supporters can learn from this is that we all have to be on the same page about an event like this. We either all should stay or all leave.”
To find out more about the campaign to stop deportations, visit the #Not1More website.