Performing for Compassion -- Alex Baron, musician and immigration attorney, hosts fundraising concert for AID NW, Feb. 2
As an immigration attorney, Alex Baron knows firsthand how Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest (AID NW) helps people during detention and upon release from the Northwest Detention Center.
And as a singer-songwriter, he has a unique skillset to help raise support for the organization.
From 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, Baron – with a little help from his musician friends – will be performing and hosting a benefit concert for AID NW at the Jewel Box Theater at the Rendezvous, 2322 2nd Ave in Seattle.
The concert will also feature a set by local singer-songwriter Young-Chaylee, as well as appearances by a number of guest vocalists. The event will include a dance performance by Sunny Esmizadeh. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the door or online at https://secure-therendezvous.boldtypetickets.com/add/40673523.
AID NW is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving detained immigrants at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, both during detention and immediately after release.
“Our complete focus is on the immigrants in the Tacoma facility,” AID NW board treasurer and founding board member Peggy Herman said. “When we started in November 2005, the detention center was only 500 beds. Now it is more than triple that size and has become one of the largest in the nation.”
Volunteers for AID NW operate a welcome center in the form of an RV parked outside the detention center, which offers transportation assistance, cell phone access and other resources that help former detainees safely reach their next destination.
In the past year alone, more than 1500 immigrants from more than 75 countries have visited the welcome center -- and 900 received travel assistance.
“AID NW is doing something really positive for people at risk,” Baron said. “I can’t overstate how vital they are to the people who get released from the Tacoma Detention Center. It used to be that people would be let out of that detention center and they’d be alone on a street corner.”
He explained that some of the detainees have lawyers, and there are also refugee resettlement organizations that can take over soon after release.
“But there’s that first step when many people don’t know where to go or who to talk to, and may not even have a place to sleep,” Baron said. “AID NW steps in to take care of them when they are released.”
Herman, who will also give a brief overview of the organization’s programs during the benefit concert, pointed out that before AID NW, detainees had a much more difficult time.
“The release gate is a mile and a quarter from the nearest public transportation,” Herman said. “Even when ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) takes them to the transit center, it’s often after the bus shop is closed, when it is too late to buy bus tickets. Many of them don’t have the money to get on a bus. Now, we drive them over and pay for their bus fares to local destinations like SeaTac airport and the Sikh Temple in Renton.”
Herman pointed out that even those with a support system in the U.S. might need help in the hours after release. “People need a safe place to wait,” she said.
AID NW also offers hospitality units, where up to 10 people at a time can stay for longer durations when needed.
“During their stay, we help them access whatever benefits they are entitled to, and eventually get them on their way to a more permanent solution,” Herman said. “This year, 47 men and 22 women from 17 countries were guests of our hospitality units. It is our most expensive program and what Alex is trying to help us with through this concert.”
To learn more about AID NW, including ways to volunteer and support the nonprofit, visit aidnw.org.
To learn more about Alex Baron , visit http://alexbaronmusic.com.
About AID NW
The Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest (AID NW), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to serving detained immigrants at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC.) Serving immigrants in the detention center by providing resources and assistance for visitation rights, communication, connecting them with representation and working on their behalf to obtain release. After release they work with former detainees with their Welcome Center and Housing Network to provide communication resources, as well as a safe, supportive environment until a more permanent resolution can be arranged.
About Alex Baron
Alex Baron has two great passions: music and writing. He started playing guitar at age 13, took up piano two years later and then tried his hands at bass at 21. All the while, he has experimented with different writing mediums, taking a journey from toiling over novels to finding his voice in narrative songwriting. Since 2010, Baron has performed solo, with his own trio, and with the band Smokey Detour. He also plays in a country band backing musician Billy Stephenson. He also works in immigration law for the Law Office of Bart Parsley.