state:
New Jersey
Local history:
"Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention"
How can detained immigrants and asylees fight back?
Rutgers University-Newark | American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program
National Traveling Venue:
Project for Empty Space
2 Gateway Center, Newark, NJ 07102-5005
October 18, 2017December 15, 2017

NJ: Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention

Exhibit on view through December 15th.

Project for Empty Space

2 Gateway Center

Newark, NJ 07102

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New Jersey: "Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention"
How can detained immigrants and asylees fight back?
Rutgers University-Newark | American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program

In the mid-1990s, as concerns about terrorism and growing numbers of asylum seekers rose, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) contracted Esmor Correctional Services to open a detention facility in Elizabeth, NJ. After detainees’ complaints about inhumane conditions and a hunger strike were ignored, nearly 100 detainees, mostly men from Africa, “rioted" in June 1995, breaking furniture and windows. An assessment by INS discovered that “detainees were subjected to harassment, verbal abuse, and other degrading actions perpetrated by Esmor guards” who had been poorly trained and supervised. Soon after, Somalian asylum seeker Hawa Jama and 9 other detainees became plaintiffs in Jama v. Esmor Correctional Services, the first time detainees were given the right to sue a private corporation. The 2007 settlement awarded damages to the plaintiffs. The hunger strike, uprising and lawsuit illustrate ways that detainees have protested the conditions of their detention.

Our Point of View

Most of us came to this project with little knowledge about immigrant detention. We were shocked and dismayed to learn that less than 6 miles from our campus, more than 300 people were being held daily. Our panel attempts to highlight the voices and agency of detainees while examining how privatization, race, and the law have shaped the detention system in this country.

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New Jersey: "Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention"    Rutgers University-Newark
How can detained immigrants and asylees fight back?
New Jersey: "Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention"
How can detained immigrants and asylees fight back?
  Rutgers University-Newark

National Exhibition Venue    Project for Empty Space

Public Dialogues and Events
| October 18 – December 15, 2017

See Full Exhibition & Events Schedule
Exhibition
Oct 18, 2017
Hawa Jama

Hawa Jama, a 26-year-old Somalian asylum seeker, was jailed for 14 months before gaining asylum. She was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against Esmor and was awarded damages. Credit: Alan S. Weiner Courtesy of: Alan S. Weiner

Hawa Jama

Hawa Jama, a 26-year-old Somalian asylum seeker, was jailed for 14 months before gaining asylum. She was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against Esmor and was awarded damages. Credit: Alan S. Weiner Courtesy of: Alan S. Weiner

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

NJ: States of Incarceration Newark Opening

Description: 

Project for Empty Space in collaboration with the Humanities Action Lab, Newest Americans, Rutgers University-Newark's Graduate Program in Americans Studies, and First Friends of NJ and NY presents States of Incarceration: Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention. This event includes the Newark premiere of the States of Incarceration exhibit in addition to three other components that examine the impact of immigrant detention in the Newark region.

Dr. Mary Rizzo and graduate student Dahlia Azran, working with First Friends, curated a collection of art created by detainees while in detention in North Jersey. Many of these pieces are composed of non-traditional materials such as...read more…

Time: 
6PM to 8PM
Venue: 

Project for Empty Space
2 Gateway Center,
Newark, NJ 07102

Nov 1, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NJ: Conversations on Confronting the Carceral State

Description: 

A conversation between Ed Kashi, Jon Gomez, Juliet Horton, and Samer Fouad whose art is a response to immigrant detention in the Newark region and on display at Project for Empty Space in conjunction with the States of Incarceration exhibition. Kashi's life-sized portraits feature former detainees who firmly stand their ground even while their physical settings seem to be receding from them, as though they are there and not there, at home and adrift, uncertain of their place in America. Gomez's multi-channel work explores the risks people are willing to undertake to immigrate to the United States, and poses the...read more…

Time: 
6 PM to 9 PM
Venue: 

Project for Empty Space at Gateway

2 Gateway Center

Newark, NJ 07102

Nov 13, 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

NJ: Mobilizing Resistance to White Nationalism

Description: 

A panel conversation with Rutgers-Newark Professor of Law and Chancellor's Social Justice Scholar Sahar Aziz, Esder Chong, the president of RU Dreamers, a Rutgers-Newark student organization aimed at empowering undocumented communities through education, Marisol Conde-Hernandez, co-founder of the NJ Dream Act Coalition and nationally-recognized leader of undocumented youth in New Jersey, Palestinian social entrepreneur and refugee Hourie Tafech, Giancarlo Tello, co-founder of undocuJersey, and Moacir Weirich, Pastor of St. Stephens, a church in Newark that serves the majority-immigrant Ironbound neighborhood.read more…

Time: 
6 PM to 8 PM
Venue: 

Project for Empty Space

2 Gateway Center

Newark, NJ 07102

States of Incarceration is created by over 500 people in 17 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities—to open national dialogue on what should happen next. Click on a state to learn more.

States of Incarceration is created by over 500 people in 17 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities—to open national dialogue on what should happen next. Click on a state to learn more.

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