--> "We Are All Maya": Defense for Maya Cruz Builds

“We Are All Maya”: Defense for Maya Cruz Builds

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We received the following from a member of the Free Maya Defense Committee. See here for more on Maya’s case.

On May 22, a beautiful day, members of the Free Maya Defense Committee gathered at a cafe near the University of Chicago campus with an actor and member of the Free Maya Defense Committee who designed Maya face masks for several participants to hold in front of their faces. They also shrouded their bodies with Mylar blankets, like the ones issued to incarcerated children held in cages on the border. Maya could organize with us at this cafe but not participate in the event that followed because she is banned from the UChicago campus.

For those unfamiliar with Diya “Maya” Cruz, Maya was arrested at UChicago and faces seven years in prison for participating in a silent protest on March 1, 2018. She and others held up signs asking that students lunching at a dining hall on campus remain silent for 11 minutes to represent the 11 million immigrants that Trump was threatening to deport after his election win. The University of Chicago Police Department aggressively threatened the peaceful protesters as they were leaving the cafeteria, grabbed Maya, physically abused her, and then charged her with battery. Maya was the only one injured, requiring a hospital visit.

Led by the artist, we moved silently through the quadrangle, stopping and turning while engaging students through surprise and shock. One of the supporters passed flyers and engaged students and visiting parents. As we walked slowly toward and around the central quad of the campus, students came up requesting flyers. Some of the students wanted more information about Maya and the charges she faces; others were already aware of the case. Quite a few students and parents expressed shock at how Maya’s rights of free speech were violated at a renowned campus like UChicago.

In conversation with students we described Maya as a member of the Revolution Club, Chicago whose members are dedicated to the creation of a better world. We asked students: “Is this is a crime?” All answered with an emphatic “No!” Students were challenged to put the demand to university President Zimmer and the UChicago to drop the charges. Many of the students in the quad were sun bathing on a rare warm spring day and would not bother themselves to learn about why we were dressed in Maya masks—we had the feeling that it might be finals overload or just conditioned aloofness to the important events in their world.

When we had finished the walk around the quad we regrouped in the cafe to review our experiences. All felt that it was very worthwhile and we had distributed flyers to many and piqued the interest of more students and support for Maya. We reminded all to pack the courtroom for the next court hearing on June 25.

The Free Maya Defense Committee

On March 1, 2018, University of Chicago police brutally attacked and arrested Maya, a member of the Revolution Club Chicago, for participating in a SILENT protest in support of undocumented immigrants. On May 22, 2019, members of the Free Maya Defense Committee gathered on the University of Chicago campus. Several participants held Maya face masks in front of their faces. One of the supporters passed flyers and engaged students and visiting parents.
Photo: Special to revcom.us


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