Visions from the Inside (2016)

Sketch by Crystal Clarity
Summer 2016
CONTACT: Julio Salgado,
Art Projects Manager, CultureStrike


CultureStrike to release a second round of illustrations by artists from around the country to show migrants’ experiences while caught in the for-profit detention machine.

OAKLAND, CA - On July 4, CultureStrike, a national pro-migrant arts organization, is releasing a new round of illustrations based on letters and interviews from migrants caught in the for-profit detention system. This year we wanted to expand the project to other states, so letters were collected from detention centers in New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, Washington, California and Texas by the advocacy groups End Family Detention, Families For Freedom, Familia Queer and Trans Liberation Movement, and Northwest Detention Center Resistance. The poignant illustrations, which were created by a diverse group of artists with a strong social justice art-making backround, explore the various identities and experiences detailed by migrants both inside and outside of the for-profit detention system.

Last year, Visions From The Inside focused on letters written by mothers in detention. This time around we include the voices of those who have been released but continue to confront the ongoing effects of traumas incurred through the immigration enforcement process. There are stories of transgender women who must deal with a transphobic world outside of detention centers while having to wear ankle bracelets. We also hear from men who have been physically and emotionally abused at the hands of this system.

Participating artists include Breena Nuñez (CA), Ebin Lee (OR), MissTANGQ (WA), Ethan Parker (TX), Cristy C. Road (NY), Celeste De Luna (TX), Rommy Torrico (NY), Robert Trujillo (CA), and many more!

Although some of the letters and interviews describe the horrible experiences that migrants endure inside and out of detention centers, these letters and illustrations fight back against the voiceless immigrant narrative. “I tell mothers that they shouldn’t let their partners take advantage of them,” Lilian advises other mothers in her letter where she describes having to migrate from her country in order to escape an abusive husband.  

“This project had a positive domino-effect as more families began writing their own letters once the art pieces were publicly shared [last year],” said Iris Rodriguez from End Family Detention in reference to last year’s Visions From The Inside release. “A growing number of other [detainees] began to get released, then openly share their testimonies in public forums.”

While detained migrants suffer physical and mental abuse, companies such as Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group, Inc., profit from the detention of human beings. According to the Detention Watch Network, revenues and stock prices for companies that run correctional and detention facilities are skyrocketing.

Beginning July 4th, CultureStrike will be sharing one illustration per weekday at and other social media networks.

We need a world without borders and detention centers! In the meantime artists and migrants across the globe will continue to be in charge of their own narratives through culture and action.


CultureStrike is a national organization that empowers artists and social justice movements to dream big, disrupt the status quo, and envision a truly just world rooted in shared humanity through art. We believe cultural work is key to creating systemic change.

Familia Queer and Trans Liberation Movement is the only national organization that addresses, organizes, educates, and advocates for the issues most important to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and Latino communities.

Families For Freedom serves as a support group for individuals and families affected by detention and deportation and found diverse ways for them to be involved in fighting back, organizing targeted communities to respond publicly to the problem, and advocating with elected officials and the media for the reform of immigration policies.

End Family Detention is a digital library composed by a network of families, volunteers, pro bono lawyers, social justice organizers, and digital activists dedicated to raising awareness and promoting action to end family detention.

Northwest Detention Center Resistance supports and follows the leadership of those detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington demanding better treatment and conditions and the stop to all deportations.


A Message from Favianna Rodriguez

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