Our VoiceImmigration

We Must Work to Advance Justice for All

Charlotte Williams • Jun 16, 2011

A couple weeks ago, over 600 activists, organizers, immigrant workers, faith leaders, youth and community elders descended upon Arlington, Virginia for the “Turning the Tide” National Summit.  They came from across the country to this second gathering determined to stem the tidal wave of copycat, draconian, SB 1070-like, anti-immigrant legislation and the harmful manifestations of these polices while working together to advance authentic justice for immigrants in this country.

A key theme of the gathering was the intersection of various civil and human rights violations that are currently trending within the harsh application immigration enforcement.  Two such intersections of these violations are racial profiling, conducted under the guise of national security and “suspicious activity” reporting, and; the immigrant detention procedures that contribute to the proliferation of the prison industrial complex as it expands the Secure Communities campaign (which in reality only result in Insecure Communities).

Another theme highlighted was that of building partnerships among immigrant communities and exacting a power base that brings together Asian, Latino, African immigrants, African Americans, Caribbean, Muslims and others to speak, listen, and begin to strategize around the necessity of a unified front in order to combat the ongoing anti-immigrant activity and intentional, divisive tactics employed within the national immigration debate.

Two groups, the Which Way Forward (WWF) Network and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) continue to work to create a space for dialogue, understanding and common themes among African Americans and African immigrants and refugees as these communities identify their self-interest in the immigration debate, garner a broad analysis of the attack on the 14th amendment and an overall dismantling of hard won civil rights progress in this country.

The WWF Network continues to prioritize the impact of anti-immigrant activity and anti-immigrant supported public policy on the African American community and on United States Civil Rights while coordinating responses to elected officials that undermine the political and economic agenda of the African American community.

It is critical that those who worked for and benefited from the civil rights achievements gained over the last 60 years, join the movement and stand in the gap to protect those victories.  An emerging leader in this movement is the Black Immigration Network (BIN) which is working to organize U.S. Born Blacks and Black immigrants and develop leadership in these communities to advance policies that support the self-identified issues for these groups.

An organizing imperative is upon us as elected officials deflecting the responsibility of addressing the urgent issue of immigration justice and nation’s broken political machine looks towards the November 2012 finish line.  The voices of African American, U.S. Born Blacks, Latino and immigrant communities, and their strategic organizing efforts, must speak to and support just and ethical immigration policies.

This collective voice among the newest majority can change the trajectory of the 2012 elections.   We must do our part to advance justice for all - that includes immigrants, their families and our communities.

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