FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6 December 2011
NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS TO OCCUPY FREEHOLDERS MEETING TO OPPOSE IMMIGRANT DETENTION CENTER
Thousands angered by Essex County Freeholders’ decision to house immigrant detainees for profit at local jail demand a revoking of the contract on petition at Change.org; hundreds to attend Freeholders meeting to deliver petition signatures in conjunction with Occupy Newark.
ESSEX COUNTY, NJ – Hundreds of concerned New Jersey residents will be participating in an Occupy the Freeholders action on Wednesday to deliver a petition started on Change.org that with more than 3,000 signatures in opposition to an expanded contract with a local jail that houses immigrant detainees for profit.
WHAT: Occupy the Freeholders
WHERE: Military Park &456 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Room 506 Newark, NJ
WHEN: 4 p.m. rally followed by 7 p.m. attendance of Freeholders meeting
The rally and meeting action is being organized by members of Occupy Newark and other Occupy movements as well as Catholic social justice group Pax Christi NJ, more than 18 human rights and religious organizations, and individuals who signed a petition on Change.org calling for a revoking of the contract between Essex County and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A number of local clergy, including Rev. Moacir Weirich, the co-pastor of St. Stephan’s Grace Community – ELCA are expected to be on hand to speak at the freeholders meeting regarding their opposition to the contract and the immorality of profiting from the incarceration of human beings “We need to stop ascribing economic value to the lives of people who are immigrants. It is not that some are deserving of relief from harsh immigration policies because they can contribute. It is that all are entitled to the basic necessities of life because they are human beings,” said Rev. Weirich. “The Essex County Freeholders need to stop selling out to the 1% and recognize that immigrants are not commodities. They are part of the 99%,” said Kathy O’Leary, who launchedan online campaign on Change.org calling fora community oversight board and immediate improvement of the conditions at the jail for immigrant detainees, as well as a full termination of the contract.
O’Leary is a member of Pax Christi NJ, one of the groups organizing the rally. A large coalition of faith groups, Occupy Wall Street protesters, and human rights organizations are asking that the Freeholders vote against a subcontract to house immigrant detainees expected to be awarded to Community Education Centers (CEC), a company that has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Essex County politicians. O’Leary’s petition on Change.org has already garnered more than 3,000 signatures.
“Kathy O’Leary’s campaign to stop the detention of immigrants for profit in New Jersey is quite impressive,” said Gabriela Garcia, organizer at Change.org. “Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it’s been inspiring to see this campaign take off.”
Live signature totals from the Kathy O’Leary and Pax Christi NJ’s campaign:
For more information on Pax Christi NJ, please visit:
Pax Christi NJ is part of Pax Christi USA, a national Catholic organization, reaching over a half-million Catholics directly every year. We have over 400 local groups throughout the United States, over 100 bishop members, 700 parish sponsors, 600 religious communities, and 50 college and high school chapters.
For more information on Change.org, please visit:
Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 400,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.
Kathy O’Leary, Petition Creator, 973-610-1684, firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Mejia, Spanish-speaking event organizer, 201-563-1062, email@example.com
Gabriela Garcia, Organizer, Change.org, (202) 684-2552, firstname.lastname@example.org ###