Mijente’s Deputy Director Isa Noyola speaks on the death of Johana Medina Leon, a 25-year-old trans asylum seeker from El Salvador who died in ICE custody on Saturday, the first day of Pride month. You can support funeral costs for Johana through our fundraiser.
“I’m going to share some reflections about all that is going on in this moment of so much violence, especially this month of Pride where so many places started to celebrate. My heart is really heavy in the midst of so much grief and sorrow that our communities are experiencing. But I wanted to take the time to share and acknowledge this moment, and as an organization, Mijente is working closely with communities on the ground, especially in El Paso who have been supporting folks detained inside the Otero facility. We’ve been working with detained migrant solidarity groups and so many other folks who have been supporting migrants who have been locked up in detention.
We know as Mijente that the human rights violations have been ongoing. This is not new. These violations have been occurring ever since the detention facility system has been growing and manifesting in our communities. This continues to occur and we have another example of what’s at stake in this moment, what’s at stake for our communities, what we mean by Abolish ICE, what we mean by saying we want to get rid of these systems that are harming our communities, that are harming our people, especially vulnerable populations.
Johana is a part of that. She paid the biggest price ever–with her life. She was a young trans woman from El Salvador, who migrated with so much hope, con mucha esperanza, seeking refuge, seeking a chance and an opportunity.
We want to acknowledge this moment and how hard it is for everyone to process, for folks to hear this news yet again, coming off of a week of action that a lot of LGBT groups across the country have been mobilizing and that Familia TQLM has been supporting. Today is a day of action in Sacramento where they’re going to uplift both Roxsana’s and Johana’s lives.
It’s a tough moment. And I want to share that and be in solidarity with folks on the ground and be in solidarity with communities both as an individual and as an organization.
We are committed more than ever to the larger vision that we have of liberation for all of our communities.
For those who feel that the state is zeroing in on them, we got your back. We’re here for you. And we continue to fight. And if there’s anything that should give us hope is that our communities continue to show up. We’re not stopping until these systems and detention facilities are completely abolished because we can’t see the suffering of our people any longer, we can’t see the deaths of our people any longer. Johana along with Roxsana and so many migrant children at the border, vulnerable populations that are suffering in solitary confinement and administrative segregation at this very moment, we are joining their voices and we are joining their struggle because there’s so much at stake and the ways that ICE continues to dehumanize our people can no longer continue.”