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The Shut Down Irwin Campaign
Organizers of Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty & Genocide, Priyanka Bhatt & Stephanie Guilloud, speak on the recent win for the #ShutDownIrwin Campaign (an ICE Detention Center in South GA known for egregious abuses, including sterilization). Featuring Wendy Dowe, a survivor of abuse at the detention center, telling her powerful story. They will discuss the legacies of eugenics in prisons and detention centers in the Global South, and what we can build for our futures, moderated by Cara Page of Changing Frequencies.
This conversation tells the successful story of the Shut Down Irwin Campaign, spurred on by Nurse Dawn Wooten, the whistleblower, and the detained immigrants who came forward to expose the egregious violations, including sterilization abuse, happening at the Irwin County Detention Center. We hear from Wendy Dowe, a survivor of this eugenic abuse, and organizers Stephanie Guilloud and Priyanka Bhatt of Project South who are in coalition with southern organizations on the Shut Down Irwin Campaign, and have been working to abolish Southern detention centers and prisons for decades.
Cara Page is a Black Queer Feminist cultural/memory worker, curator, and organizer. For the past 30+ years, she has organized with Black, Indigenous and People of Color, Queer/Trans/Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Intersex/Gender Non-Conforming liberation movements in the US & Global South at the intersections of racial, gender & economic justice, reproductive justice, healing justice and transformative justice. She is leading a new project, Changing Frequencies, an archival/memory and cultural organizing abolitionist project building power with communities who want to confront, heal from & transform & dismantle the historical and contemporary exploitative practices and abuses of the Medical Industrial Complex (MIC). Cara is one of the architects of the healing justice political strategy, envisioned by many in the US South and deeply rooted in Black Feminist traditions and Southern Black Radical Traditions of the Global South. She is co-founder and current leadership team member of the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective. She is also the former ED of The Audre Lorde Project, and former National Coordinator of the Committee on Women, Population & the Environment.
Priyanka Bhatt is a staff attorney at Project South and a steering committee member of Georgia Detention Watch. Priyanka was the lead author of the 2018 report titled “Inside Atlanta’s Immigrant Cages” that helped end the ICE contract in Atlanta, and has worked on campaigns to shut down all immigrant detention centers in Georgia. Most recently, Priyanka was the lead author of the federal complaint submitted last year that shed light on the horrid abuses happening at Irwin County Detention Center including invasive gynecological procedures being performed on immigrant women without consent. In addition, Priyanka has advocated against anti-immigrant policies at the Georgia Capitol and continues to work to end local police collusion with ICE in Georgia.
Wendy Dowe is an immigrant from Jamaica who reports she underwent unnecessary gynecological surgery while detained at Irwin County Detention Center.
Stephanie Guilloud is originally from Houston, Texas with roots in Alabama. Stephanie is an organizer with over 25 years of experience and leadership in global justice work and community organizing. At Project South, Stephanie works closely with Southeast regional organizing projects, the Southern Movement Assembly, and membership programs. Stephanie worked as the National Co-Chair of the Peoples Movement Assembly Working Group of the US Social Forum from 2008-2013. She served on the board of Southerners On New Ground (SONG), a multiracial queer organization, from 2005-2014. Stephanie is the editor of two anthologies: Through the Eyes of the Judged; Autobiographical Sketches from Incarcerated Young Men and Voices from the WTO; First-person Narratives from the People who Shut Down the World Trade Organization.