This summer, three Colorado College alumni – Mazlyn Freier ’23, Alanna Jackson ’23, and Andres Madrigal ’23 – and 15 current CC students participated in the Colorado College Activism Institute (CCAI). With the institute, they served as social justice activists in the areas of immigrant detention and community organization. They witnessed atrocities at the border and rallied for the rights of asylum seekers.
In the fall of 2022, Grassroots Leadership organized a series of delegations to the border region most impacted by Operation Lonestar, Texas Governor Abbott’s brutal border militarization policy. The objective was to bring national attention to the human rights violations committed by Texas. Grassroots Leadership asked Pongsirirushaku to produce a film on Operation Lonestar relying on footage from the 2022 national delegations as well as footage that she shot during a two-day border trip as part of the 2023 CCAI.
In June and July 2023, the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center hosted students from the CCAI studying immigration detention law and policy. The students worked directly with people detained in ICE custody in New Mexico, including engaging in direct casework and large-scale advocacy to expose human rights and due process violations at the facilities. They released their findings in a report entitled “The Myth of ‘Non-Punitive’ Immigration Detention: Inhumane Conditions, Due Process Violations, and Inhumanity in New Mexico’s ICE Detention Facilities.”
The CCAI is an intensive internship that offers students an opportunity to engage in activist and/or advocacy work. A primary objective of the program is to introduce students to activist movements and targeted advocacy work and to engage in discussions focused on conceptions of social change and social action career exploration. CCAI works with several partner organizations through its Community Organizing Track, Research Track, and Immigrant Detention Work Track.
There is no program fee for Colorado College students. Housing, food and incidental expenses, transportation, and all other program costs are covered through generous support from the Colorado College President’s Office Anti-Racism Fund, Colorado College Department of Sociology, and The William P. Dean Memorial Fund. If you would like to support the CC Summer Activism Institute, please consider donating to any of the above funds. If you would like to know more about the program, or how you could get involved, please contact Dr. Eric Popkin.