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Organizing for Immigrant Justice

by Centering Deportation Defense

Date: January 13th, 5pm-6pm PST


Workshop Description

Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network’s (WAISN) core mission is Deportation and Detention Defense. The U.S. immigration machine has always functioned as a tool for racial and economic oppression and division as it necessitates the creation of arbitrary labels of "worthiness" that deny full rights and freedoms to those deemed "unworthy and disposable.” WAISN uses tactics and principles of resistance such as operating a hotline to report ICE activity, sharing Know Your Rights information, creating and mobilizing Rapid Response teams, bonding out people from detention, accompanying our immigrant neighbors during challenging moments, and engaging in statewide and national advocacy campaigns. In this workshop, participants will learn what this work looks like in 2022 and how we can continue fighting for immigrant justice and developing political power in our communities to create systemic change.

Immigrants are our neighbors, family members, friends, essential workers, tax payers, and play a key role in the making of the United States. The institution of citizenship and the detention and deportation machines were created to do exactly what they have been doing: separating our families, exploiting our labor, and creating racism at the structural level of governance that directly affects the material circumstances of our immigrant communities and our overall well being. As a result, we organized to fight against these forms of structural violence to protect each other and salvage our humanity. We will share the ways in which WAISN has activated communities around the state to engage in Deportation and detention Defense and center our current intersectional operations of liberation and the mutual aid structures built by and for immigrants. This is an opportunity to see us flex our collective power and share knowledge about the current organizing efforts at WAISN, our coalition work, and our direct services for immigrants. This workshop relates to the work of Dr. King because immigrant justice is directly linked with the racial and economic justice that Dr. King fought for. In this workshop, we'll give a brief overview of the ways in which the oppressive institution of citizenship and the detention/deportation machine have functioned, and continue to function in ways that create racialized experiences that single out immigrants and compromise our humanity while highlighting our resistance efforts and the many ways in which we can come together to empower and protect each other.



Vanessa Reyes, Fair Fight Bond Fund Coordinator

Vanessa is an advocate, organizer, community builder, care taker, and abolitionist. At WAISN, Vanessa coordinates the release of individuals who are detained by immigration and facing deportation and supports them with reintegrating into life post-detention. 



Marisol Lister – Development and Communications Coordinator, WAISN. 

Marisol builds community connections based on shared values and purpose. At WAISN, Marisol bridges communication between donors, funders, community, and members, and the programs, campaigns, and goals of WAISN across Washington.


About the Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition

The Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition is an all-volunteer organization composed of grassroots, labor, business, people of color, and progressive community organizations and volunteers from throughout the Puget Sound region. Annually, these groups come together and organize our community's largest tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - the only geographic jurisdiction named in Dr. King's honor. Learn More here.



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