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Families Gather To Protest Proposed Evanston Detention Center


A coalition to stop the construction of a privately-run immigrant detention center in Evanston is organizing events across the state called Fiestas de Familias. These parties celebrate kinship while drawing attention to policies that organizers say separate families. The effort is led by WyoSayNo and the American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming.

Harriet Bloom-Wilson is a retired professor from Northwest College and founder of the group Wyoming Rising, which co-sponsored one of these fiestas in Powell.  She said building an immigrant detention facility in Wyoming feels antithetical to small-town values.

“You know family is the heart of it and supporting when people are in need, whether it’s through their church group, their neighbors, their education, scout groups, or whatever,” said Bloom-Wilson. “We believe so strongly in helping each other out, and helping out families and what we’re seeing in the country is counter to that.”

She said even if the private immigrant detention facility goes through, she wants to send a message that not everyone in Wyoming agrees.

“What we are learning now is we might not change minds, as much as we will allow others to see that they are not alone if they object to it.”

There are several more Fiestas de Familias planned throughout the summer for Laramie, Gillette and Evanston. More information is available through WyoSayNo.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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