Fourth of July yoga event at Old Brick will raise funds for detained immigrants and asylum-seekers

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Yoga for Freedom

Old Brick — Thursday, July 4 at 8:30-11 a.m.

Alan Light/Flickr

Along with fireworks and competitive hot dog eating, the Fourth of July celebrates a determined group of people standing up to government tyranny. An event at Old Brick on Thursday morning offers a new twist on this.

Erin Landsee and Jennifer New, both established local yoga teachers, are hosting “Yoga for Freedom” to raise money for, and awareness about, immigrants and asylum-seekers at the southern border of the U.S., as well as those in Iowa. Money raised from the event will go to Freedom for Immigrants, a national nonprofit that has recently organized an eastern Iowa chapter.

“Even though the situation we’re seeing unfold at the border might seem far away, this is a tangible way to help,” Landsee told Little Village.

Freedom for Immigrants, formerly known as Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), grew out of a visitation program designed to support immigrants being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement that was organized by Christina Fialho and Christina Mansfield in 2010. On its site, the nonprofit describes its ultimate goal as “exposing and abolishing U.S. immigration detention,” but it also provides bond money for detained immigrants, as well maintaining “the largest national toll-free hotline for people in immigration detention.” It still conducts visitation programs to offer support for those in detention.

(The Iowa City-based Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project also has a visitation program, in addition to providing money for bonds in selected immigration cases.)

The two-and-a-half hour yoga event starts at 8:30 a.m.

“Around 8:45, I’ll open with a mediation and a centering for the morning,” Landsee said. “Then I’ll lead a more active process.”

“From 10 to 11, Jennifer will lead a class, followed by a cool-down practice. Jennifer has a cellist coming to accompany her class.”

There will be a limited number of yoga mats available for those who need them. There will also been some light refreshments, with food provided by Hy-Vee and Bruegger’s Bagels. Child care will be available.

University of Iowa Health Care staff lunge in a yoga class in the UIHC gym. Friday, June 14, 2019. — Zak Neumann/YogaIowa

“It will be really relaxed,” Landsee said. “People should just drop in, come by, whenever they have a few minutes. If you’ve never done yoga before, that’s absolutely fine.”

The event is free and open to the public, but Landsee and New will be collecting free-will offerings to support Freedom for Immigrants — but that’s optional, Landsee stressed.

“Even just bringing yourself and your energy to support the cause” is enough, she said.

Freedom for Immigrants will have a table with information at the event.

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