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Skywriting project targets San Diego, other Southern California immigration detention centers, courts

Posted at 10:33 AM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 13:39:05-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) -- Fleets of skywriting planes will leave artist-created messages in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County skies Friday above immigration detention centers, courts and historically significant landmarks in an effort to call attention to the detention of immigrants.

Starting at about 9:30 a.m. above the Adelanto Detention Center, the fleet will travel to downtown Los Angeles skies, where 15-character messages will be left in the late morning airspace above immigration facilities, county and federal lockups and courthouses, followed by the Arcadia and Pomona locations of internment camps where Japanese Americans where held during World War II.

In the afternoon, the planes will start at Terminal Island at about 1:45 p.m. and travel to Orange County and San Diego, where messages will be left above courts and immigration offices, with a 3 p.m. finish in the skyways above the Otay Mesa Immigration Court.

Producers of the event said the goal of the skywriting performance, in which 80 artists have contributed across the country over the Independence Day weekend, is "to make visible what is too often unseen and unspoken -- the imprisonment of immigrants."

Written with water vapor, the messages are designed to be seen and read for miles.

"We wanted to devise the sort of display that would make visible the problem of immigrant detention," said Los Angeles-based performance artist Cassils, co-founder of the nationwide project. "By going over the internment camps, we want to make clear that the problem is nothing new."

Each artist's message will end in #XMAP, a hashtag devised to lead viewers to In Plain Sight, a website and interactive map which locates the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities within the viewer's immediate vicinity.

Los Angeles artist contributors include Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, whose words, "CARE NOT CAGES," will be written in the clouds above LA County Jail, the largest such facility in the country.

Latina transgender organizer and advocate Bamby Salcedo's message, "STOP CRIMIGRATION NOW," will be projected above U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' downtown field office.

Cassils' phrase, "SHAME #DEFUNDHATE," will be affixed over the Los Angeles-area headquarters of the Geo Group, operators of for-profit prisons.

Until prisons and detention facilities are abolished, "we will fight to end the symptoms of racist law enforcement and brutality," said Tania Bernal of the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, adding that she hopes to show that "even those most deemed disposable by the state are worthy of their humanity, of compassion, and of transformational growth."