Segunda Oportunidad Benefit Concert
On Thursday March 24th, Juan* one of our dear members of our Young Artists program was picked up by ICE while he reported to an impromptu probation meeting. He had planned on going to his first day at a new job but was brought to Baltimore and detained by ICE instead. Juan has since been transported to Frederick detention center where he is awaiting trial and eventual deportation.
This is terribly disheartening for those of us who have worked with Juan over the past years. Juan was brought to the United States at 4 years old and has spent his life living in the US, attending school here and working hard to overcome adversity.
Despite learning and emotional disabilities, Juan worked hard to succeed in school but couldn't quite find the appropriate fit. Though he did not finish school, he continued to participate in our Young Artists program, an after school arts program aimed at providing youth facing adversity with a safe environment to express themselves through the arts. Here he thrived at working independently, being himself, completing collaborative artworks for local business and working along side professional artists. In addition to that Juan has helped with numerous murals in the area, and held an internship with a professional artist.
This past year he also completed Joven Noble, a character development mentoring program for young Hispanic males, receiving a certificate last month.
Through his ups and downs he has continued to pursue the positive path for himself, even though there have been numerous influences and roadblocks in his way. Even with his mistakes, he gets up and tries to better himself, which any of the artists who have worked with him can attest to.
He has been detained now for 47 days and has his third appearance before an immigration judge next week. We have an immigration attorney who will represent him once we retain him, as well as a post conviction attorney working on vacating a prior conviction that was mishandled through misrepresentation.
Juan is in good spirits considering and has received an abundance of support through letters and books that teachers, artists, friends and family have sent. The outpouring of support has been incredible. He has joined bible study a few times a week, meets with the chaplain once a week and spends his time now journaling, drawing in sketchbooks he has received and reading novels.
Now we are looking at a hefty legal process in front of us, but one that could end in his release through a
bond. At that point he will be able to pursue DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) which may provide him a path to stay in the US- the only place he knows as home.
What we know is that the legal fees that we are responsible for are a remaining $1500 for the initial part of the process. This benefit concert will help raise those funds.
"We believe even the slightest positive influence has the potential to change a child's life."
*Juans name has been changed to protect his identity and keep him safe during this time.
The Shop (View)
1380 Cape St Claire Rd
Annapolis, MD 21409