ADELANTO, CA (news release) – Grammy-winning R&B artist Miguel will headline the free arts and music festival happening this Friday night in Adelanto, home to the state’s largest immigrant prison.
Activists and artists will join together to advocate for fair treatment of immigrants incarcerated while awaiting a decision on their request to stay in the U.S., as well as the closure of all immigrant prisons. The event will also be emceed by comedienne Cristela Alonzo and others, and there will be performances by Los Rakas, Ceci Bastida, and Buyepongo.
Organizers are expecting thousands to attend the historic #SchoolsNotPrisons Adelanto concert, which will shine a spotlight on the ways for-profit immigrant prisons harm the health and safety of California communities.
“I was held for a very long time, almost ten years, and I can tell you this: these ‘detention centers,’ as they call them, they’re prisons without a doubt,” said Sylvester Owino, who is seeking asylum and was incarcerated for more than nine years. He will also be speaking from the stage at Friday’s night’s event. “I came to the U.S. from Kenya, where I was afraid for my life. These prisons are profiting off of people like me, holding them for years for no good reason. We have to end it.”
The upcoming #SchoolsNotPrisons tour, which began last summer and has made stops throughout California, promotes a vision of community safety focused on prevention rather than incarceration, and supports local advocacy campaigns that call for more effective, community-based alternatives rather than severe forms of punishment, particularly for vulnerable populations.
“It’s important now, more than ever, for us to recognize humanity in one another,” said Miguel. “I’m just hoping to help educate myself on the realities of our immigration policy and also shed whatever light I can on the families dealing with cruel and unjust treatment in Adelanto.”
About 1,600 people are incarcerated in Adelanto’s immigrant prison, which is owned and run by the for-profit prison company GEO Group.
The #SchoolsNotPrisons Adelanto tour stop is presented by CIVIC, the Inland Empire-Immigrant Youth Collective, the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ), and produced by Revolve Impact, which has organized the statewide tour since the summer of 2016.
Friday night’s concert will take place at the Adelanto Stadium, with gates opening at 5:30pm and the concert starting at 6pm. Guest speakers will include those who’ve been incarcerated inside the Adelanto immigrant prison.
Admission to the concert is free, but people are encouraged to register in advance through this Eventbrite link because the event is expected to reach capacity. The concert is an all-ages peaceful community event, and will be a tobacco-free, alcohol and drug-free zone.