This week began with the 2015 National Immigrant Integration Conference in New York. I had the pleasure of kicking off the conference with a Black Immigrant Caucus, where African, Caribbean and African American leaders from across the country connected with one another and engaged in dialogue on the challenges and strengths of Black immigrant communities in the U.S.
The world is not any smaller now than it ever was. Our lives may just be larger now, stretched, fuller somehow. That is one way to explain a process that has many names, one being globalization. At the tail end of the Civil Rights movement, and at the beginning of the Black Power movement, foreign-born Black immigrants were less than 1% of the U.S. population.
Dear Beloved Family,
We send love. We send our collective power. We send tears. We send a vision for freedom and liberation. We send songs of inspiration. We send this message with our fists in the air. We send an equal desire for justice. We send prayer. We send our hearts held out to you.
First off, we say, “Justice for Jamar Clark!” The news of Monday night’s shootings of five Black Lives Matter freedom fighters sits heavy on our hearts. We are heartbroken and troubled by this total disregard of human life, specifically, against those fighting for freedom and justice for a life taken.
I had the honor of being one of the U.S. delegates for an international convening in Manila, Philippines Nov 10th-19th. The stories and struggles of those resisting in the Philippines were very familiar to me. Here in Oakland, one of the biggest issues we face is urban gentrification. Much like in the Philippines, corporate development is driving out the people who work and care for the land! Furthermore, the state response is to intensify this process through increased policing, state terror, and criminalization.
Because They’re Next… Since the tragic Friday the 13th attacks in Paris, 27 U.S. governors have indicated that their states will no longer “accept” Syrian refugees. As grounds for their objections, these governors have cited a lack of effective screening measures for refugees entering the U.S. and the fact that one of the alleged perpetrators of the Paris attacks entered Europe through Syria.
RENEW CALLS FOR REAL SOLUTIONS TO BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM, RAISE CONCERNS OF BLACK IMMIGRANTS
On Monday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling blocking President Obama’s expanded deferred action measures announced in November 2014, including the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. This much-anticipated decision is as expected from the conservative-leaning Fifth circuit. This ruling now opens the door for the Department of Justice to appeal to the Supreme Court for a review of DAPA and DACA’s legality before President Obama leaves office.
Late last month, Black Alliance (coupons) and allies descended upon DC to educate lawmakers about the plight of 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent who were rendered stateless after a 2013 Dominican court ruling which ended birthright citizenship in the country. According to the New York Times:
“The law … was seen by many in the human rights community as thinly veiled discrimination against the Dominicans’ darker-skinned neighbors.”
A group of Black Lives Matter activists reflects on the lessons they learned during a recent solidarity trip to Cuba.
“Venceremos, my favorite word in Spanish, crossed my mind. Ten million people had stood up to the monster. Ten million people only ninety miles away. We were here together in their land, my small little family, holding each other after so long. There was no doubt about it, our people would one day be free. The cowboys and bandits didn’t own the world.” – Assata Shakur
I- Visiting Immigrants in Detention and II – Creating a Visitation Program
The detention of hundreds of thousands of immigrants per year is an occurrence that takes place within the context of mass incarceration, which disparately affects Black communities in the United States.
According to the Black Alliance and New York University’s Law Immigrant Rights Clinic report, The State of Black Immigrants, “Black immigrants are disproportionately represented among detained immigrants facing deportation in immigration court on criminal grounds.”
Every day, people of color in the United States are being criminalized for their economic condition, their race, their migrant status, gender and so much more. There is a pandemic of mass criminalization that is ravaging our neighborhoods and our society. Structural racism and oppression would have us believe that we are inherently flawed, that we are criminals.