FUTURE GAZING: Life in This City Must Reflect the Undoing of Criminalization of Our Lives

With a challenging year soon to be behind us, we asked community members to share their vision of what they hope becomes of our city post-pandemic.  

by Maru Mora

What should renewal in 2021 Seattle, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, look like? 

It should look like us, low-income People of Color, being able to afford to live, work, eat, and walk safely on the streets or driving without worrying about the police and authorities targeting us.

For people like us, forced to migrate and not able to go back to our countries, life in this city must reflect the undoing of criminalization of our lives, and the end of an entire anti-immigrant machine that still operates in Seattle: U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HIS). 

Seattle in 2021 has the opportunity to push harder by defunding the police, ending ties with ICE and HIS, and building living space for all of us, not only the ones that can afford to live there.

There shouldn’t be life “post-COVID.” Instead, we should be ready to create a life post-capitalism. A life that works to end white supremacy by dismantling one of its key components: the entire detention and deportation system. A life where we are not forced to migrate and, if we must, we can find refuge anywhere, without conditions and with all the protections we all deserve.

Maru Mora Villalpando is a community organizer and immigrant. She was born and raised in Mexico City. In the U.S., she has spent two decades working for racial justice and immigrant rights. Currently, she leads La Resistencia; the group’s main focus is to end all detentions and deportations as well as to shut down the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. Maru is also a founding member of MiJente, a national digital organizing Latinx group. Unlike many other undocumented immigrants, she has been an outspoken activist and has been upfront about staying in the U.S. after her tourist visa expired. And, in December 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement put her in deportation hearings. Despite these challenges, Mora Villalpando is undeterred and continues her community work.

Illustration by Alexa Strabuk