Witness at Tornillo (2019)

1h 12m / Not Rated / Documentary

One man from Brooklyn sits alone in the West Texas desert, feeling morally compelled to witness the horrors of family separation and child detention on the southern border. His goal is to shut down an American internment camp and free 2,800 migrant teenagers kept against their will.

Witness at Tornillo, a new documentary from Carbon Trace Productions, follows 66-year-old Josh Rubin, a Brooklyn-born activist who has become a fixture of the #FamiliesBelongTogether protests. He helped draw national attention to the Tornillo facility, moving on from there to a similar youth detention facility in Homestead, Florida. Rubin has been featured by the Washington Post, the New York Times, and HBO’s Vice News Tonight, and he defines witnessing – the “radical act of seeing” – as a key form of protest.

Following the film, stay for a community conversation on the latest developments internationally, nationally and locally with Joshua Rubin, who is the film’s protagonist and is calling for a complete end to child detention and the MPP.  This panel will offer insights from Norma Henning, JD, who is an immigration attorney and also represents the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Pamela Gomez, the regional coordinator for Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC). Through the panel and information in the lobby, FICS will share opportunities for volunteering, donating or just getting involved in making Tampa Bay and the US a more welcoming place for everyone. The panel is moderated by Tampa’s own Cloe Cabrera, Communications Director for Organize Florida Tampa Bay, formerly of the Tampa Tampa Tribune.

This special screening, presented by the nonprofit Florida Institute for Community Studies (FICS), is FREE and open to the public, but reservations are required. Please click the show time at right to RSVP through Eventbrite.


Established in 2002, FICS partners with communities to help them achieve their goals through research, education, training, services and the ARTS. We are always accepting new partners and community advisors at www.ficsinc.org. Co-sponsors of this event include CAIR, Henning Law, and 88.5 WMNF Community Conscious Radio. FICS will be accepting donations at the event to cover the cost of the screening and panel.