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Kent County I-Bond Fund goes public with their efforts to raised bond money for immigrants who are being detained by ICE

August 27, 2019

Yesterday there was a kickoff event for the Kent County I-Bond Fund, a community bond fund that provides financial support to immigrants who are being detained by ICE.

The event was held at Tacqueria El Rincon Mexicano in Grand Rapids. Geoff Gillis and Richard Kessler facilitated the event, as well as introducing the history and purpose of the Kent County I-Bond Fund.

In addition to those directly involved with the creation of the I-Bond Fund, there were other people who spoke, those involved in doing immigrant justice work in West Michigan and members of the immigrant community who have already benefited from the fundraising efforts of the Kent County I-Bond Fund.

Both of the immigrants spoke about the importance of having a bond fund for those detained by ICE, shared their personal stories about enduring the trauma of being arrested and then being detained without knowing how long they would be in detention. In fact, they both said that had there not been efforts to raise funds for them, they both could very well still be in detention or even possibly deported. Both of these courageous women implored those in attendance to support the Kent County I-Bond Fund and how this is a concrete way for people in West Michigan to support immigrants who have been the targets of state violence.

In addition to members of the immigrant community who shared their stories, Gema Lowe, with Movimiento Cosecha GR, talked about the importance of the bond fund. Lowe named the ICE targeting members of the immigrant community as a form of kidnapping. She then said that the bond amount that the judge would set for people who were eligible for being bonded out, this bond money was in actuality a ransom that these families would have to pay in order to see the loved ones in detention. Gema also referred to the bond fund as, “community helping community.”

Sr. Mary Brigid Klingman also spoke briefly, by providing a religious and theological basis for people in the community to come to the aid of those who are being held in detention. Sr. Mary Brigid is a member of the Grand Rapids Dominicans.

One additional speaker was Amy Carpenter, who is a volunteer organizer with GR Rapid Response to ICE. Carpenter talked about how, as a person who carries a great deal of privilege, that they needed “to weaponize” their privilege. They also stated that it was really an honor to be involved in this work and that they have been fortunate to have learned to do this type of solidarity work from those in the immigrant community.

For those who want to keep up to date with the Kent County I-Bond Fund, you can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Kent-County-IBOND-Fund-374417653364919/.

To donate to the Kent County I-Bond Fund, there are two options. You can go to a GoFundMe page and make a contribution online at https://www.gofundme.com/f/kent-county-ibond-fund or mail checks to Joy Like a River and send them to this address Kent County I-Bond Fund PO Box 150350, Grand Rapids, MI 49515.

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