Post by Francesca Menes, Florida Immigrant Coalition
On Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 the Black Immigration Network convened its 3rd National Conference. More than 100 people gathered at the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta, Georgia. The purpose of the convening was to ignite a conversation between the black immigrant community and the African-American community. We wanted to share stories, experiences, and learn from each other on how we move forward as a movement and as people of color in this country.
Participants came from all over the country and all over the world. We had very honest conversations around race, race relations, and its effects in the both immigrant community, the diaspora, and the African-American community. We shared migration stories and discussed the root causes of migration and stories from our native lands.
The primary goals of the conference were to:
- Consolidate Network by developing BIN culture, ratifying network structure and developing work plans for BIN Committees. Provide opportunities for conference attendees to build strategic relationship through the network and share about current work;
- Uplift racial justice as central to immigrant rights struggle. Provide space for increased political education about the issues impacting U.S. born Blacks and Black migrant population;
- Increase capacity/effectiveness of members in network by having spaces for skills building, resource sharing, and additional education;
- Educate the Black Immigration Network Conference attendees about Southern landscape – including history, and current backlash against immigrants and communities of color. Support base building in the south and develop a response as a network to crisis in the South.
- Create an action plan. Decide as a network to endorse and partake in a campaign, policy work and/or create a new one.
The conference was a major success! As a network we were able to come out with some concrete next steps on how to move the network forward and how we can strengthen the overall immigrant rights and racial justice movement. We not only strengthen as a movement, but I feel as a people, we grew, bonded and strengthened our family.