By MARIE ANNE K. BALTAZAR

On April 4, students from Bronx International High School took to the streets with nonviolent resistance to raise awareness about human rights violations at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Guantánamo Bay is a military prison used by the United States. There are approximately 275 men from different countries currently being held there. Most of these men have not been charged with any crime and report being tortured and ill-treated. None of the prisoners have been able to challenge their detention in an independent court.

gitmoprotest1Immigrant teens protest illegal detentions and human rights violations committed by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Photo: Sophie Forbes

After learning about the cruelty in Guantánamo, the students felt really angry and scared. They decided they needed to do something about it. The students held a vigil.

“It was like a play. Three students and one teacher were dressed just like the prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, with black and orange clothes, and were all kneeling on the floor with their hands tied behind their back and their head covered by a black cloth, in front of the school,” said Larah Apoyolo, a 16-year-old sophomore at Bronx International who decided to join the vigil after seeing it in action.

More than 70 students participated in the vigil, standing in a long line, wearing black masks and orange arm bands, and holding posters expressing their unhappiness with illegal detentions in Guantánamo.

Larah Apoyolo was crying as she spoke. “People in their cars and on the street were all looking curiously at us and at the posters we put up. I felt proud and happy because we as both students and teenagers are standing up for justice.”

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Marie Anne K. Baltazar, 15, is a sophomore at Bronx International High School.