Seth Donovan with Coloradoans For Immigrant Rights (CFIR), an AFSC project, shows two of 400 Valentines delivered to immigrants held at a detention center in Aurora, ColoradoPhoto: AFSC / Jordan Garcia
Project Valentine a Success in Colorado
On February 1, 2010, over 120 hundred people gathered at the Aurora Detention Center to make their voices heard. The February monthly vigil was planned by Coloradans For Immigrant Rights, a project of AFSC.
We invited Molina Solei, a spoken word artist duo that performed a poem and a song; Maurice Ka, who led us in an Uruba prayer to invoke our ancestors; Elsa a woman who experienced detention at the very detention center we stood outside shared her story; and Seth Donovan who read a blessing for St. Brigid’s day, the patron saint of those done wrong and of poets.
Then Hans, an active CFIR member, led us in singing Volver, Volver, a famous Spanish love ballad, and the women and men unjustly detained inside sang back. We carried signs with our message including a large broken heart symbolizing how our broken immigration system keeps the United States apart from the rest of the world and the broken hearts of those families separated by borders and walls.
On January 25, CFIR members paired up with the Flobots membership to make Valentines and throughout the following two weeks individuals and many groups including ESL classes and faith groups- from Ft. Collins to Denver, make Valentines.
On Saturday, February 13, at the Aurora Immigrant Detention Center, 400 handmade Valentines were hand delivered to 400 people unjustly interned by the state. We also made about 20 Valentines for the guards and others working at the center on Valentine’s Day. Many people have told us that the Valentine project provided them with an opportunity to not only be creative, but also to be self reflective.
The project helped people set aside feelings of frustration about the political process and to put what LOVE they could into a simple card. To take just an hour or so to think about the experiences of immigrants in this country and to focus on the reasons we struggle for immigrant justice day in and day out.
Some of the Valentine’s read like this: Dear Valentine, You are not alone. I hold you in my heart, thoughts and prayers. Love knows no borders or walls and together we can share each other’s strength and courage. I am with you in spirit on this Valentine’s Day. No estas sol@. Est@s presente en mi corazón, mis pensamientos y mis oraciones. El amor no reconoce fronteras ni muros. Juntos podemos compartir nuestr@ fuerza y valor. Mi espíritu está contigo en este Día de San.