AFROPUNK Atlanta 2017

Source: Paras Griffin / Getty

As our political environment proves to be more hopeless by the day, more celebrities are speaking up in favor of what’s right. Singer Miguel is no different.

Miguel headlined a #SchoolsNotPrisons concert in California to bring more awareness to the issue back in October. The free performance for 1,000 attendees was hosted by Mexican-American comedian Cristela Alonzo and also featured musicians Los Rakas, Ceci Bastida, and Buyepongo. The venue was across the street from Adelanto Detention Center, the largest facility in the state.

“You think a detention center is a place where people are being fed and taken care of, but these people are only getting one meal a day, which is often like a sandwich,” Miguel said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

The concert was presented by Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that wants to end immigrant detention. Executive Director Christina Fiahlo told the Los Angeles Times that nearly 40,000 immigrants are incarcerated every day across the U.S., the majority of them held in for-profit facilities.

“They sleep on the floor. The children that are being held there are sleeping under one blanket. … The food they are serving isn’t edible because it’s been spoiled or there are maggots in the food. The treatment is crazy,” Miguel added.

As an Afro-Latinx man with roots in Mexico, the singer said he could empathize with the detained immigrants. He talked about how his grandmother came to the U.S. from Mexico to find work in the 1960s and eventually moved her family here.

“It made me even more angry for them,” said Miguel. “It’s another example of how innocent people are being taken advantage of. It’s unjust on a human level. As someone from this country who understands that this is a place that’s supposed to represent freedom and equality, we see a complete contrast of how these people are being treated.”

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