Local Playwright At AZ Capitol On Friday To Raise Awareness Of Family Separations

Arizona playwright James E. Garcia will spend all day Friday, July 6, in a tent on the State Capitol lawn and writing about the plight of more than 2,300 children separated from their migrant parents in recent weeks.

Actors and poets will gather at 6 p.m. to perform Garcia's scripts and other works inspired by the subject matter. The social justice theater project, "Where Are The Children?" is being organized by New Carpa Theater Co., which produces Latino and multicultural works, and Promise Arizona, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting immigrants rights and civic engagement.

The event will also raise funds for the Florence Project, which is providing legal assistance to migrant families separated at the border. This year alone, the Florence Project staff has already responded to more than 200 cases of family separation, with children as young as 53 weeks old being stripped from their mother's arms.

Garcia is the author of more than 30 plays, including "1070 (We Were Strangers Once, Too), which premiered in 2017 at the Herberger Theater Center. He is the author of "The Crossing", which won a Kennedy Center Award in 2006, and has written other plays based on immigration-related issues.

"My goal with this project is to help to keep Americans focused on an extremely inhumane policy that's led to the taking of more than 2,000 children from their parents," said Garcia. "Not since we jailed Japanese American families in federal prison camps or the disgraceful practices of separating Native American children from their tribes to send to Indian schools has our government resorted to such an abhorrent practice. The outright bigoted and xenophobic policies of this administration is destroying families and bringing disgrace to our reputation and legacy as an immigrant nation around the world."

Garcia will be working from a tent to remind the public that immigration authorities already have many of these migrant children detained in tents outside of El Paso and are planning to jail potentially hundreds of thousands of immigrant families in tent cities on military bases across the country.

Garcia also is encouraging theater artists across the nation to stage a live performance (a monologue, skit, short play, improv performance, musical, play, etc.) or a related community event to raise awareness about Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" policy toward immigrants. Supporters are being asked to post photos via social media holding signs reading "Where Are The Children?" to show solidarity with the migrant children and their families.

Promise Arizona, a registered nonprofit, is collecting donations on a GoFundMe page at bit.ly/2N6lzwB to help the Florence Project provide legal assistance to the migrant families separated at the border. To donate directly to the Florence Project, go to https://firrp.org/donate/donate-2/.

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