Over a hundred community organizations across the pacific and the country have come together to endorse the #StandWithNanHui campaign raising awareness and making demands to free Nan-Hui Jo, a domestic violence survivor that has been in jail in Yolo County, CA without bail for the past 8 months. Nan-Hui escaped the U.S in 2009 after reporting 2 different incidents of domestic violence to the police with her then one-year-old daughter, Vitz Da from her ex-partner Jesse Charlton, an Iraq war veteran with PTSD who has previously admitted in court to assaulting Nan-Hui (and father of the child). When mother and daughter returned to the U.S in July 2014, Nan-Hui was immediately arrested and convicted unanimously on “child abduction” charges which Charlton had filed without her knowledge while she was in Korea. She is currently being held by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with a very possible deportation upon her sentencing on April 1, 2015.
A growing outpour of outrage at the verdict has spurned thousands of social media posts in support of Nan-Hui and have helped organize various call-ins to the ICE and CBP. Over 60 activists marched outside the ICE and CBP offices in San Francisco on March 5th, coalition-building with other domestic violence and deportation campaigns such as #Not1More. As organizers make their final push to pack the courtroom on April 1st to send a strong message to the Yolo County District Attorney, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to demand justice for Nan-Hui and all survivors of domestic violence, Hyejin- one of the core organizers of #StandWithNanHui spoke briefly with Kollaboration around this critical issue.
Kollaboration: How did you first get involved with #StandWithNanHui?
Hyejin: I am a member of the volunteer-based organization Korean American Coalition to End Domestic Abuse (KACEDA), and KACEDA-Sacramento reached out about the case seeking expert witnesses in Korean culture and domestic violence. KACEDA then organized domestic violence agencies in the area and have been organizing with a larger coalition of people.
Who has been supporting the campaign and what kind of organizing efforts have been made?
It started with friends in various networks using social media but lots of other Korean Americans, young people, LGBTG&T people have been active on social media. Around Yolo County, organizations from different fronts- church communities, student organizations, and Korean organizations have been supporting us.
What can we expect now?
Nan-Hui’s sentencing on April 1st can be a potential felony with jail time, even though she has already done 8 months so far. Jail has been a very isolating and challenging experience for her. She is undocumented, facing possible deportation which means she will not be able to reunite with her daughter. She left law-abidingly 5 years ago with her daughter to escape and now charged with child abduction. The law wants the child to stay with the father and cannot regain custody of her child.
What can we hope for on April 1st?
The best case scenario is if the judge reduces charges to misdemeanor and jail time served counts as jail time so she can work on her other legal cases out of jail. There is possible release from jail. Possible relocation to immigration detention is likely if released from jail.
What can we do now?
People can make calls [to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP)]. It does make a big difference- the agencies are very aware that this is a public case. Getting it on the news and spreading it on social media is still important. We don’t want the decision makers to think that people forgot or don’t care about Nan-Hui. Public pressure is important. We have been fundraising, not just against her possible deportation but for a shot at reunifying with her daughter. There are many cases involved, in the criminal court system and as an immigration care and family court case. All these are going to be expensive. Contributions of any, such as people sharing skillsets, from graphic design to fundraising should please get in touch. We have been mobilizing- NYC, Seattle, LA, Boston—all here bit.ly/nanhuifunds.
WHO TO CALL:
- CBP Support Director Ricardo Scheller. (415) 782-9201
- ICE Field Director Craig Meyer. (415) 844-5512. Press #4.
EXAMPLE SCRIPT: “I am calling to ask Director Scheller/Director Meyer to drop the immigration hold against Ms. Nan-Hui Jo (A 098 906 641) and allow her to reunite with her six-year-old daughter. Ms. Jo is a survivor of domestic violence and her case should be considered under the parental interests directive. I ask that CBP & ICE exercise its prosecutorial discretion and drop Ms. Jo’s deportation case.”
**Local field office has the prosecutorial discretion to drop the charges against Nan-Hui. But you can also call ICE’s newly appointed director, Sarah Saldaña, in their DC office: 202-732-3000. Apparently, Director Saldaña is picking up the case directly.**
Please read the full story here and please support, contribute, and share #StandWithNanHui