Teye is a Flamenco artist who along with Jay Johnson-Castro is returning to the Hutto prison camp Christmas Eve for a vigil–a Flamenco vigil. The Texas Civil Rights Review sent a few questions via email:
TCRR: I hear you are from Europe, and that your family has had experience with fascism.
Teye: I am actually from the Netherlands: My father was a soldier in Rotterdam when it was bombed by the Germans in May 1940 (my father was 40 years my senior, and I’m 49 now).
My father nor mother ever allowed even one ugly word in our house on Germans: he always said that the Germans were by and large brainwashed and misinformed by the nazi fanatics. He spent months in German captivity; then was allowed to return home, then when the nazis started to deport capable men to do forced labor, he like many others disappeared underground and hid out. He never was discovered nor betrayed and survived the war intact as did my mother.
We will need to separate the term FASCISM from the idea “everything bad”. Fascism is basically defined thus: the government works closely together with
the big corporations and they mutually enlarge each others power. It is the pyramid of power: a broad and obedient and mis/disinformed base, narrowing towards
the top where the power sits and the information is made. The nazis definitely fit the description!
TCRR: What is your motivation for going back to the Hutto jail Christmas Eve?
Teye: My motivation to do the Christmas Eve event, which will be really more of a Gypsy Campfire Flamenco gathering, only without the campfire of course,
but with candles, is that I want to bring hope to especially the children inside.
I’ve tried to contact the prison to offer a free of charge flamenco performance inside, for the children and their parents and for the staff, but I never heard
back from them. So we will do it outside. I am positive that the rumor will travel to the inside of the facility that there are some people right by the entrance who choose to celebrate their Christmas Eve in support, so
that the children and their families may know that they are neither forgotten nor ignored.
And let us not forget: they must feel forgotten inside: The lawyer who is representing them tells us that SEVEN INMATES HOLD VALID IMMIGRATION VISAS ISSUED BY THE US GOVERNMENT, but since there is no effective appeal in the system of for-profit private prisons, they are still being held in detention!
TCRR: How are people responding to your call for a Christmas Eve vigil?
Teye: Reactions from people have been enormously positive: I am getting emails in from all over the world, pledging support and dedicating a virtual candle. And that is the second idea behind this Gypsy Candlelight performance: to raise awareness via the grassroots alternative circuit: and it is working.
TCRR: Why go back to Hutto jail only a week after the first vigil?
Teye: We have GOT TO KEEP THE BALL ROLLING until this situation changes for the better.
On Christmas Eve we celebrate the joyful birth of Jesus: the big ray of Hope Peace and Sunshine that was given to ALL humankind! The Gypsies have always said that God created this world for ALL of us!
And I do not believe that [means] incarcerating children. So we need to keep at it.