Our first “Know Your Rights” workshop with juveniles and family members at the CERSAI juvenile detention center in Ciudad Juárez…

“Know Your Rights” workshop at juvenile detention center in Ciudad Juarez

Saturday, March 18th we were very excited to begin our “Know Your Rights” workshop, in collaboration with the State Human Rights Commission of Chihuahua and the Chihuahua Public Defender’s Office. After many weeks of planning, the day finally arrived. We arrived at the center on visiting day and invited families who were visiting their children in detention to join our workshop. Many said that they didn’t think they could stay for the workshop, some had small children at home they need to get back to, others had traveled a long ways and had to return home. But after visiting hours were over and we came into the auditorium for the workshop, it was nearly full with teens and their families, along with our team. In fact, some could not attend since the auditorium had filled up. All together, 22 family members and 39 teenagers attended the workshop.

Knowing your rights is critical for these families and their children. Often times, their parents are the only ones able to advocate on their behalf. Providing them with a basic understanding of the legal system, their rights in detention, and importantly, how to file a complaint when they believe their rights have been violated, are invaluable tools for them.

We started the workshop, without a microphone. But everybody was glad to be there and were very attentive and participated. After our presentation, the Human Rights Commission gave a presentation and answered specific questions. We handed each person a brochure on their rights and who to contact in case they had more questions. It was a great experience for everybody. We will be presenting “Know Your Rights” once per month in Ciudad Juárez and in Chihuahua City for teens and their families in detention.