Culture Feature

Mass Hysterectomies at Immigrant Detention Center? Here Are the Facts.

Whistleblower files official complaint on disturbing conditions at Georgia detention center.

Dawn Wooten surrounded by the text of her complaint

Alexandra Ivey

A whistleblower who worked as a nurse at a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Georgia has come forward with a claim that immigrants are facing serious medical neglect in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic—as well as an unusually high rate of hysterectomies.

The whistleblower is Dawn Wooten LPN. She has worked at the facility for three years as a licensed practical nurse, and has over 10 years of experience working as a nurse in prisons. She originally worked full time at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia but was demoted to an on-call position in mid-July after repeatedly complaining to staff leadership about the dangerous working conditions. Irwin is a private prison which houses immigrants detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is run by LaSalle Corrections, a private company that runs immigration detention facilities in Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana.

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Culture Feature

Fiona Apple Wants to Teach You How to Document ICE Arrests

"Don't stop filming! And saving the unedited version so you can go back and see all the facts."

Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple has narrated a new film that explains how to document and record U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests.

The informative video premiered on Vulture this week, along with an extensive interview with Apple. "I think so many people want to help and they don't know how," said the musician, whose album Fetch the Bolt Cutters dropped to critical acclaim earlier this year.

Available in both English and Spanish—the Spanish version is narrated by activist Erika Andiola—the video, entitled "We Have Rights When Documenting Immigrant Arrests," was made in partnership with the organizations We Have Rights, Brooklyn Defender Services, and WITNESS.

ICE, which was created in response to the September 11 attacks, employs over 20,000 people. Originally created to protect America, it now seems to specialize in terrorizing immigrant families day and night.

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Artists Are Planning to Take Their Music Off Amazon

An organization is calling for artists to remove their music from the website over ties to ICE.

Amazon, our guardian angel of speedy delivery and on-demand streaming, has been scrutinized for their affiliations with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other government agencies.

A group of musicians, who operate under the organization No Music for ICE, recently stated they were refusing to perform at Amazon-sponsored events. Artists like Jay Som, Car Seat Headrest, and Atmosphere signed the petition, along with countless others. Now, they're taking their activism a step further by choosing to remove their music from the website and encouraging their peers to do the same.

"A mass, collective takedown is an escalation, another step in musicians acting in solidarity with the numerous groups across the country protesting to shut down ICE and end family separations, deportations, and other horrors," reads the organization's statement.

The statement goes on to explain how Amazon has been attempting to compete with streaming giants like Apple Music and Spotify, as well as grow as an established market for purchasing music. Instead, they've only made a small blip on the radar: According to an industry insider who spoke with No Music for ICE, Amazon only accounted for about 4 percent of first-week streams from a handful of major rock acts. Because of this, the statement explains, removing music is an effective way to "kick Amazon where it hurts."

But the timing is important, too; No Music for ICE explains that the mass takedown will start on Black Friday, continuing throughout the holiday season, when a heightened state of consumerism is typically on our minds. The organization's website also includes instructions on how to remove your music from Amazon, for both label-signed artists and totally independent artists. Bringing capitalism and xenophobia to the ground in one fell swoop is surely something to sing about.