Inspired by immigrant Jose Bello’s viral poem, two #NFL players helped post bail for the young father who has been locked up for months.
Bello, a California farmworker and immigration activist, read a poem he wrote criticizing the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants and ICE at a Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting back in May. Two days later, he was arrested on an outstanding DUI charge and sent to an ICE detention center, where he remained for three months because he couldn’t afford his $50,000 bail, according to USA Today.
Activists criticized Bello’s arrest as an attempt to silence him. Earlier this week, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis helped pay Bello’s bail.
“To me it seemed like a dream,” Bello told the Washington Post. “It’s like something that you hear about in movies. I watch football, and I know how much attention and how famous those people are, so just the fact that they would look into helping me out, it was a great honor. I know who they are. I was shocked in a good way.”
The New York Immigrant Freedom Fund and the National Bail Fund Network also contributed to Bello’s bail.
Norman and Davis are actually on the12-member Players Coalition task force, which was founded in 2017 to address social justice and racial equality issues.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has filed a lawsuit, claiming Bello’s First Amendment rights were violated. The group also claims his unreasonably high bond was set in retaliation for reciting his poem in public.
Norman seemed to agree and shared Bello’s poem to Twitter saying the following: “#DearAmerica, We’ve witnessed a lot these past few years. Yesterday was another example of that, where I saw the price tag on freedom. When I helped to post a $50,000 bond for a young man detained 87 days for exercising his 1st Amendment right of free speech…”
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