• Zachary Petit

Skyward Type in the Fight for Immigrants’ Rights

Instead of fireworks, typography took to the skies above 80 locations across the country this past weekend.

On July 3 and 4, fleets of sky writers brought “In Plain Sight” to detention centers, immigration courts, former internment camps, borders and other landmarks. Artists Cassils and rafa esparza led a network of 80 participating creatives, including Emory Douglas, Dread Scott, Patrisse Cullors and Zackary Drucker.

Their goal: Use the borderless sky “to make visible what is too often unseen and unspoken on the ground: the appalling, profoundly immoral imprisonment of immigrants.”

With 50,000 incarcerated immigrants nationwide—and perpetual reports of inhumane conditions, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic—the campaign seeks to amplify voices inside ICE facilities and direct people to organizations that are focused on supporting them, from The Haitian Bridge Alliance to the ACLU of Southern California.

“Immigration policy is moving in a notably dangerous direction—to criminalization, militarization, privatization and incarceration,” the group states. “Detention is one aspect of a set of inhumane immigration policies including deportation and the ignoring of laws relating to asylum and due process. Prompt action to release individuals from ICE detention is not only the humanitarian and moral course, but the most reasonable health intervention to prevent unnecessary deaths.”

The messages were written with water vapor, and to offset project’s carbon footprint, the team is planting a series of trees near detention centers nationwide.

For a comprehensive collection of the phrases that appeared coast to coast, click here.