SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah’s Undocumented Youth Alliance held a rally at Forsyth Park on Saturday to stand with the people they said are being “medically abused” at the Irwin Detention Center.
“There are claims of medical abuse at Irwin that date back to 2017, accusing Irwin Detention Center of long-standing negligence and inhumane treatment of the people held against their will there,” a speaker at the rally said.
Daniela Rodriguez, the lead organizer of Savannah Undocumented Youth Alliance, said they were holding the rally to demand justice and to raise awareness. Dozens of community members gathered around the fountain at Forsyth to hear speakers share their personal experiences and calls for action.
District 3 Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan said she was standing with the rally members in solidarity and added her voice to the others calling for change.
“Everybody I think thought that it was just going on at the border, now we know it’s happening three hours from here,” S.U.Y.A. Community Organizer Claudia Edison said––speaking about the whistleblower who made allegations against the Irwin Detention Center claiming they were performing unnecessary hysterectomies on immigrant women.
“Just because you come to a country to seek a better life, it doesn’t mean that people have the right to decide what to do with your body,” Rodriguez said.
Edison and others spoke about their families who came to the United States as immigrants seeking refuge from oppression.
“People say then come here legally, it’s really not that easy. We know so many people that are going through the process,” Edison stated.
“We can always try to get a visa, which takes like 10 years, but when your child is hungry you don’t want to wait 10 years to feed your child; you have to think immediately,” Rodriguez added.
The rally organizers said they plan to continue to speak out.
“I feel like I should use my voice and speak up just to raise awareness of all of the women right now who don’t have a chance to speak up,” Rodriguez said. “This has to stop and until we have better laws we’re going to continue to be here, we’re going to be loud, and we’re going to talk about what is happening until we get justice.”