August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, August 20, 2020

California: Migrant hunger strikes in jails as COVID-19 and fires rage

As California fires rage, undocumented immigrants hold indefinite hunger strike and solidarity action at two separate ICE detention facilities as COVID-19 outbreak ravages majority of detainees

Immigrants launch indefinite hunger strike at Yuba County Jail condemning deplorable conditions while more than half of those detained at Mesa Verde Detention Facility are currently infected with COVID-19  following previous labor strikes and hunger strikes

Press statement 

CALIFORNIA — Despite worsening air quality due to regional fires, detained undocumented immigrants at the Yuba County Jail began an indefinite hunger strike this Wednesday morning in response to deplorable conditions at the facility.

Wildfires spreading through Native American lands in California

Photo courtesy Dee Dee Manzanares Ybarra, Rumsen. Dee Dee Manzanares Ybarra said late Wednesday, "Our Rumšen Ohlone ancestral territory is burning. Prayers please."

Photo courtesy Dee Dee Manzanares Ybarra, Rumsen

Photo courtesy Dee Dee Manzanares Ybarra, Rumsen

The Grindstone Indian Rancheria Community
north of Sacramento was evacuated on Wednesday.

In breaking news today, Thursday at dawn, The New York Times reports that wildfires raging in Northern California are doubling in size.

Wildfires tore through Northern California on Wednesday, spreading rapidly and engulfing dozens of homes as firefighters battled to stop the blazes, which have forced thousands of evacuations and were caused by an extraordinary number of lightning strikes in recent days.

A group of fires west of Sacramento, known as the L.N.U. Lightning Complex, doubled in size throughout the day, growing to 124,000 acres and threatening about 25,000 structures after forcing evacuations in Vacaville, Cal Fire officials said.

Four civilians have been injured and 175 structures have been destroyed or damaged by those fires, which are 0 percent contained as strong winds enter the area. Much of Napa, Sonoma and Solano Counties was blanketed in smoke during the day.

About 11,000 lightning strikes — a “historic lightning siege” — caused more than 367 new fires in recent days, Chief Jeremy Rahn, a Cal Fire spokesman, said at a news conference.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said that 23 fires were considered major blazes. At least one person has died, a helicopter pilot who crashed while attempting to drop water in Fresno County.

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