Freehold Community Groups Come Together for “Tu Lucha es Mi Lucha”- Your Struggle is My Struggle
An Expression of Solidarity for Black Lives Matter and Against Police Brutality, Mass Incarceration, Racial Profiling and ICE Enforcement
Freehold, NJ – On June 20th leaders and community members will gather in front of Casa Freehold on Jackson Street beginning at 10 am for a press conference, a program with music and speakers and a march to the Hall of Records. Participants will march through Freehold in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and call for an end to the racist practices, policies and systems that oppress and brutalize members of the community.
The organizers are coming together to express their solidarity for people in the struggle against police brutality, racial profiling, and mass incarceration. “These problems all stem from the same racist system. When we struggle against immigration detention we know that we are also struggling against mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex that turns people into dollar signs. When we struggle against ICE raids we know we are also struggling against an out of control police state. These are all forms of violence that oppress black and brown people,” said Rita Dentino, executive director of Casa Freehold.
Featured Speakers: Kason Little- Faith in NJ, Bob Taylor- president NAACP of Freehold, Joelle Lingat- immigration attorney with American Friends Service Committee, Teresa Vivar- executive director Lazos America Unida, (a representative from Black Lives Matter Freehold will also be speaking)
Co-sponsoring organizations: Black Lives Matter Freehold, Casa Freehold, Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, Close the Camps NJ, DIRE (Deportation and Immigration Response Equipo), ICE Free NJ, Green Party of New Jersey, Hoffman for Senate 2020, Jews Against ICE NJ, Lazos America Unida, New Jersey Advocates for Immigrant Detainees, New Labor, Never Again Action NJ, Pax Christi New Jersey
Organizers point to the Freehold Borough police as having a documented pattern of disproportionate use of force against black people. According to the Force Report by NJ Advance Media, between 2012 and 2016,
black people were 110% more likely to have force used against them during an arrest. Of the 468 police forces studied, Freehold Borough Police used force at a higher rate than 369 of those departments.
“We will stand in Freehold to make a public commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. We will say what we believe- that the liberation of immigrant workers is inseparably tied to the struggle for Black lives,” said Cameron Costanzo from Casa Freehold.
Organizers are also concerned about the harassment of immigrant workers by the Freehold Borough Police Department, and the cooperation of Freehold Borough Police with ICE which could potentially be in violation of the NJ Attorney General’s Immigrant Trust Directive. On March 13th, Hector Garcia Mendoza was met by ICE agents almost immediately after being released from Freehold Borough Police. Community members and advocates know that this was not a coincidence.
Over one month ago, ICE deported Hector to an area of Mexico known for violence and disappearances of recent deportees days after becoming a named Plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed by the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the American Friends Service Committee. No one has heard from Hector since. Hector’s attorneys fear the worst; they also are concerned that this injustice may have been set in motion by the actions of the Freehold Borough Police.
In summing up the goal for the protest and for ongoing efforts in Freehold Borough, Kason Little from Faith in NJ said, “The message that we have for the Freehold Borough Police, the Borough Council and the Mayor, is that symbolic resolutions and talk of diversity and inclusion will not do. We demand action now to start dismantling oppression, beginning with police brutality and misconduct.”