BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — "We want to feel safe whether we are brown, Asian or black. We don't want your jobs, we don't want your money, we are here to work hard and to study.”
Those were the words of the undocumented immigrant and Bakersfield College student, Jose Bello.
Bello recited those words from a poem at the Truth Act Forum, hosted by KCSO in April.
36 hours later, he was detained by ICE for the second time this year.
The move sparked outrage from some. Most notably, Demario Davis of the New Orleans Saints and Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins, who helped post his $50,000 bond in August.
The NFL players are part of the ‘Players Coalition' -- a group of athletes fighting for social justice reform.
Now, months later -- Bello is turning his gratitude into activism. He believes ICE violated his rights.
Bello, along with other BC students, are spearheading the first "Dear America, a Social Justice Conversation” conference at Bakersfield College on Tuesday.
BC adjunct professor, Ian Anderson, is helping them lead the charge.
“It is important to use this platform to be able to bring those topics to light in a very low key, casual kind of way. The idea of this is a coffee conversation,” Anderson said.
Demario and Norman will be at the event and are set to speak about how to improve social justice and racial equality.
“The goal of having the NFL players there is to show that anybody and everybody cares about this topic and we want to bring people together,” Anderson said.
Anderson says the topic will go beyond just immigration and will touch upon the injustices among the LGBTQ community, women and African Americans.
Bello hoping this first open discussion acts as a catalyst and sparks an even bigger conversation beyond the event.
“This is a really great opportunity for students and people to get involved. We have election year coming up, so getting involved and knowing what is going on in your community is really important,” Anderson said.
ICE said Jose Bello entered the country illegally and, after he was detained the first time, said he had known gang ties.
Bello desputes that and said ICE had the wrong person.
The conference is taking place Tuesday, December 6, 2019. The event is now sold out.