October 8, 2015
On September 11, three UC Davis students, Aldo Martinez Gomez, Amanda Whitney, and Anita Barooni, and I went to provide a free legal orientation to refugees detained in the Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield. The students and volunteers met with over 250 refugees and immigrants from all over the world, providing pro se assistance, self-help materials, and legal support. However, we also left feeling a bit defeated because the need was so overwhelming, and the people were desperate for more meaningful legal assistance.
The students' outrage and courage inspired me to write this opinion piece for The Los Angeles Times with my friend and colleague, Jayashri Srikantiah at Stanford.
I did not want what we witnessed to remain invisible, because in the words of MLK, "In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."