On Sunday, March 29, UIDN members joined dozens of others in a lively protest against inhumane and dangerous conditions at the Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, NY—while maintaining social distancing by remaining in their cars.

Incarcerated and detained people, including immigrants targeted for deportation, are among the most vulnerable among us to the coronavirus global pandemic. And, the disregard for their lives by our Federal and NYS governments means that these people are at even greater risk from the virus. (Read more about the risks.)

The goal of the protesters: To have Governor Cuomo and ICE release those behind bars who have committed no crimes, and to do so before the coronavirus decimates that population.

Fifty to 60 cars, each with one to six occupants, drove single file to the facility with their lights flashing. Drivers and passengers connected with each other via peace signs, fists, thumbs up, and warm and welcoming waves.

You are not alone

“There was lots of impressive honking to ensure that the inmates would hear us and know that they are not alone!!” said protester and UIDN member Helaine Meisler.

Cars were adorned with signs proclaiming, “Close the Camps,” “Free all Detainees,” “COVID-19 is coming soon,” “Release our immigrant friends and others,” “Never Again,” “Resistance,” and more. UIDN member Nic Abramson commented, “This was a terrific action – heartening, uplifting, and undeniably successful and safe!”

As we maintain physical distance from each other, let’s remember to remain socially connected and to struggle together for human rights and social justice. Sunday’s protest shows us that even during this pandemic we can come out in force.

Please amplify the voices of the protesters.  Call Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390 and demand immediate precautions to protect incarcerated people, including the release of those who have committed no crime and those who are non-violent. The time to act is now, before COVID-19 decimates this highly vulnerable population.

Photos by Nic Abramson