Trailer for the Familias Separadas documentary “Las Madres de Berks” is here >

"Familias Separadas" Project- Phase 2- Karen's story

Karen and her 6-year-old son were detained for 651 days. She and her son were deported.

Capitol steps installation, Harrisburg

"Familias Separadas" Project- Phase 2- Carlos

Lorena was detained with her 3-year-old son, Carlos, for 663 days.

Bus Shelter, 228 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

"Familias Separadas" Project- Phase 2- Christian's Story

Christian was 14 years old when he was detained with his mother for 648 days.

Bus Shelter, 228 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

"Familias Separadas" Project- Phase 2- Lorena's story

Lorena was detained with her 3-year-old son for 663 days.

Billboards, 207 South Second Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

"Familias Separadas" Project- Phase 2- Delmy's Story

Delmy was detained with her 6-year-old son for 654 days.  

Billboards, 1317 Derry Street and Mural, Allison Hill. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

"Familias Separadas" Project- Phase 2- Sofia's story

Bus shelter 413 Walnut Street, Harrisburg. Sofia was detained with her 14-year-old son for 648 days.

"Familias Separadas" Project at the Capitol in Harrisburg, PA

Time-lapse video of Karen's story installation on Capitol steps.

Ortiz currently creating a series of temporary large-scale public artworks based on the interviews she conducted with mothers and children formerly detained at the Berks Detention Center for close to 2 years. 

"We Are Human Beings" Familias Separadas- Phase 1 by Michelle Angela Ortiz

“We Are Human Beings” is one of 5 installations I created from my #familiasseparadasproject. This installation took place in front of the ICE building in Philadelphia on October 12th, 2015. As ICE agents looked on, I led the installation with volunteers and families from Juntos, an immigrant rights organization based in Philadelphia. The 90’ words come from Ana, an undocumented mother, who was detained with her daughter at the Berks County family prison in Pennsylvania. Ana’s words were placed at the exit point where detained loved ones are transported to jails and prisons.

Flores de Libertad- Creative Action Against Family Detention by Artist Michelle Angela Ortiz

As part of Michelle Angela Ortiz's moving monument entitled, “Seguimos Caminando” (We Keep Walking) honoring the mothers at the Berks Detention Center, she led several free paper flower workshops open to the public at the Monument Lab Research Field Office at the Barnes Foundation.



Over a thousand paper flowers were created by more than 100 participants that include students, educators, and families in Philadelphia. The flowers made by the participants will joined the flowers made by the mothers detained at Berks which carry messages of freedom and the continued fight against family detention.

On Wednesday, October 25th at noon, the hand dyed flowers were assembled at the north gates of City Hall to spell out the 10’x40’ word “Libertad” (Freedom/ Liberty). The collective artwork is a creative action that was followed by a press conference led by the Shut Down Berks Coalition to put pressure on Governor Tom Wolf who has the power to shut down the center and end family detention in Pennsylvania.