Advancing America Toward Justice

Panel 2: 5:15PM




Imagine getting your kids ready for school one morning, and ten minutes into the drive you’re pulled over by ICE, detained and threatened with deportation. Or imagine ICE agents detaining you on your own front lawn, before you and your children have even left home. This is happening to far too many families, and two fathers who have experienced the trauma of detention and family separation will join us to share their stories.

The Avelica-Gonzalez’s are a Mexican-American Catholic family from Los Angeles, and the Jamals are a Bangladeshi-American Muslim family from Lawrence, Kansas. Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez and Syed Jamal have each lived in this country for over 25 years, their children are U.S.-born citizens, and both were detained by ICE in the process of taking their daughters to school. Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was held in detention for six months and Syed Jamal for eight weeks, both cases rousing allies and entire communities to advocate for their release.


These cases show that political and community pressure works, and works most effectively when both sides advocate together. In guided conversation with immigration attorneys and activists, these two courageous fathers will inform us about how we can support and advocate for those currently detained or under threat of detention as we work toward a just American immigration policy.

We held a school-wide assembly today for all of our students and staff so that we can be in solidarity with the family. What we wanted to communicate to our families was that we are in solidarity with that family, and we are in solidarity with all families. And we are going to stand together if this were to happen again.
— Ricardo Mireles, Executive Director, Academia Avance



Executive Director, Tiyya Foundation

Mexican-American Catholic Taquero from Los Angeles

Executive Director, Academia Avance


Executive Director, LA Voice

Bangladeshi-American Muslim Professor from Kansas