2016 Kinship Assembly – Black Love Beyond Borders

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Join the Black Immigration Network for the 2016 Kinship Assembly to be held in Los Angeles, CA April 8-10 2016. Visit www.BlackImmigration.net/Kinship for more information.

The Black Immigration Network (BIN) is a Kinship of organizations and individuals connecting, training and building towards policy and cultural shifts for a racial justice and migrant rights agenda. The Kinship Assembly, known for its rich content and camaraderie, brings together leaders from organizations and programs that serve, organize in, advocate for, and/or provide research for African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino and African American communities in the United States and that are run by members of these communities. The 2016 Assembly will include compelling plenary sessions, enriching workshops on a variety of topics, relationship building opportunities and an empowering, uplifting and strengthening space.

Linking Black Struggles on International Migrants Day

marcha ofranehThe Black Immigration Network continues to engage in the US to raise awareness of the plight of migrants and refugees globally and advocate to uphold the human rights of all. As the United Nations reports, displacement is at an all time high, with a record 59.5 million people forcibly displaced by conflict. Today one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. Add to this number the millions forced to leave their home countries to seek work because global capitalism has decimated their economies. The numbers are staggering and the testimonies are heartbreaking. In 1990, the United Nations a resolution on International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. A decade later, the UN declared December 18th as the Day of International Migrants.


It was asked then and remains a question now, what does this day mean to migrants and refugees of African descent?


This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention, and the struggle to recognize the human rights of all migrants globally continues. We do not celebrate International Migrants’ Day, as our communities face a serious crisis, but we do commemorate it. The 2015  BIN Kinship Action Call will bring to focus the challenges of Black communities across the globe fighting displacement, human rights violations, economic exploitation, xenophobia and attacks on birth right citizenship. In this call, moderated by Opal Tometi, Executive Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter and internationally recognized human rights activist Nunu Kidane, Founder of Priority Africa Network, we will hear reports from courageous leaders organizing to defend the human dignity and rights in these communities:


  • South Africa – Sibusiso Innocent Zikode, Founder and Chair, Abahlali baseMjondolo (South African shack dwellers’ movement)
  • Dominican Republic/Haiti – Altagracia Jean-Joseph, law student and human rights activist
  • Honduras – Carla Garcia, International Coordinator, Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH)
  • Germany -Bino Byansi Byakuleka, refugee from Uganda, African Refugee Union and author of We Are Born Free 
  • United States – Carl Lipscombe, Policy and Legal Manager, Black Alliance for Just Immigration
  • Moderators – Opal Tometi, Executive Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Nunu Kidane, Founder, Priority Africa Network

Register here to join this dynamic call.



A call and movement focused on the state of Black immigrants is of great significance. In the past three years, there have been more deaths of African migrants crossing the Mediterranean  Sea. In South Africa, fellow African migrants were brutally attacked in riots involving jobs, land and housing. In the Dominican Republic, people of Haitian origin are forced out from the only home they know. In Israel, Australia and Italy, refugees of African descent are treated with brutality and distain, in overt racism and total disregard for human rights. Migration has become a most contested issue globally. In the US, it is the most frequently raised topic in the lead up to the presidential elections. In France, the right wing the National Front, an openly anti-immigrant party scored a major victory of late. Immigrants of African descent are particularly viewed as threats in Europe with proposed policy measures for mass deportations to forcibly return them to their countries of origin without due screening.


The present state of fear, xenophobia and Islamophobia gripping nations over the rise of immigrants leaves little room for level headed dialogue on root causes of increased migration. The continued expansion of corporate powers and profit at the expense of human lives, the plundering of our environment and dispassion of land from farmers, increasing conflict and wealth gap are all factors that contribute to increased mobility.


As the United States is a leading force in creating these deplorable conditions, the Black Immigration Network is committed to strengthening allyship in the United States and building relationships globally throughout the Diaspora in order to grow a strong movement to defend the human rights of all. This International Migrants Day is an opportunity to do just that.

Connecting the Diaspora on International Migrants Day

International Migrants Day is held annually on December 18 to recognise the efforts, contributions and rights of migrants worldwide. The Black Immigration Network (BIN) will gather in recognition of International Migrants Day  to hear from leaders in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Caribbean via teleconference.


As Black people around the globe experience structural racism, xenophobia, religous intolerance and the adverse impacts of globalization, connecting across the diaspora to build a movement that protects the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, is key to our liberation.




BAJI Blog: The Global Rooms We Gather In

From BAJI-NYC Organzer Ben Ndugga-Kabuye, reflections on the impact of globalization on Black communities. 

“The world is not any smaller now than it ever was. Our lives may just be larger now, stretched, fuller some how. 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. Now a few of us can can gather in a small room and from our personal stories connect local events to realities hidden behind the bend of the globe. Black communities and this strange process we call globalization lie at the center of what we do at BAJI. “READ THE FULL BLOG POST HERE


Join BAJI and the entire BIN Kinship for an International Migrants Day Kinship Action Call on December 18. Register Today. 

Pew Issues Report on Rapid Growth of Black Immigrant Population

PEW Research Issues New Report on Black Immigrant Demographics in the US


A new report issued April  9 by the PEW Research Center shows rapidly growing numbers of black immigrants reshaping the overall black population in the United States over the last three decades.


A record 3.8 million foreign-born blacks now live in the United States, the report  says. The share of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, as a percentage of the U.S. Black population has grown from 3.1 percent of the black population in 1980 to 8.7 percent in 2013. By 2060, 16.5 percent of the U.S. black population will be foreign-born, the report says.


Pew Research Report Shows Rapidly Growing Black Immigrant Population

The report highlights what the Black Immigration Network (BIN) has been saying for many years, that Black immigrants are an increasingly significant part of Black communities in the U.S. This report is a reflection of how important BIN’s work is as a national network of people and organizations serving black immigrant and African American communities, focused on supporting fair and just immigration, as well as economic and social policies that benefit these communities.


Read the full report here:  Immigrants Are a Growing Share Among Black Americans … As the Black Immigrant Population Has More than Quadrupled Since 1980.

Black Struggles in a Global Context

BIN Recoognizes International Migrants Day

Black Struggles in a Global Context – Kinship Action Call Recap

The 2014 Migrants Day Call was very informative and gave a much needed perspective on the intersection of migrant rights, racial justice, state violence, gender issues and our very urgent need to organize.

Call to Action! – Sign and Endorse the Reunite Haitian Families Campaign: Sign the petition – http://reunitehaitianfamilies.com/take-action/ and please share it via your networks, your social media, website and blog. Also, if you represent an organization, we need your endorsement – http://reunitehaitianfamilies.com/endorse-the-campaign/. Stand united for black immigrant issues!

Join BIN- We encourage everyone who is interested in working on these intersections to consider joining or giving a donation in support of the Black Immigration Network. You can see our membership criteria and join here: www.blackimmigration.net

Recap: International Migrants Day: Black Struggles in a Global Context
Nunu Kidane, Priority Africa Network: Nunu gave a comprehensive overview of the current realities faced by African migrants. Ebola, criminalization, stigma and resistance are all being confronted as African’s are on the move, across the continent and throughout the world, driven by economic, political and social forces.  Nunu’s presentation is available to members of the network at this time.
Kambale Musavuli, Friends of the Congo, Hands Up United: Kambale shared about the importance of connecting Ferguson to Black struggles across the world, as well as lifting up the visibility of African and Caribbean people in solidarity with Ferguson. Through networks such as BIN, we create the space to educate, connect and unite.

Kinship Updates
  • Families for Freedom – Executive Action: The Latest Felony Disenfranchisement – Abraham Paulos, Executive Director of Families for Freedom shared analysis on how the administrative relief measures, particularly the “felons not families” enforcement priorities shift focus to migrants entangled in the criminal justice system, and how, because of profiling, discriminatory targeting and law enforcement cooperation with ICE, black immigrant communities will still be at greater disproportionate risk of deportation.
  • African American/Black Woman’s Cultural Alliance  – Free Marissa Now Campaign Update- http://www.freemarissanow.org/ – Sumayya Coleman, Organizer with Free Marissa Now shared an updated on Marissa Alexander’s continued struggle for justice, her decision to accept a plea offer, including continued jail time and the work that the campaign will continue to support Marissa and call attention to violence against Black women, both domestically and at the hands of the state.

Video: Envisioning A World with Racial Justice and Migrant Rights

Envisioning A World with Racial Justice and Migrant Rights

Closing panel

Pictured- Moderator: Elandria Williams, Highlander Center with Panelists: Philip Agnew, Dream Defenders, Monica Hernandez, Southeast Immigrant Rights Network, Ruth Jeannoel, Power U, Gerald Lenoir, Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Jasson Perez, Black Youth Project.


Following three days of convening at the 2014  Black Immigration Network Kinship Assembly, these community-based movement leaders share their vision of movement building at the intersections amongst our kinship assembly. An intergenerational panel of movement leaders reflected on topics such as Youth engagement, the significance of Black-led labor movement, criminalization, immigration detention, mass incarceration and the exciting things being done to ensure workers protections and economic thriving across the nation.

View the video here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/48019728 .

Press Release: National “Kinship Assembly” to Unite Black Immigrants and African-Americans


Press Contacts:

Tia Oso, Tia@blackalliance.org, 917-310-3785

Opal Tometi, Opal@blackalliance.org

National “Kinship Assembly” to Unite Black Immigrants and African-Americans

Issues including immigration reform, voting rights and economic justice to be discussed

[Miami, FL – May 9, 2014] From May 23rd- 25th, 2014, an estimated 150 community leaders from across the country will gather in Miami to discuss racial justice and immigrant rights. Hosted by the Black Immigration Network (BIN), a national “kinship” network comprised of black immigrants and African Americans, leaders and activists will convene at the Little Haiti Cultural Center for three days of strategizing, networking and building a movement to unite Black communities for racial justice and migrant rights.


Immigration is a hotly contested issue and media often focus on Mexican immigrants and conflict along the U.S.-Mexico border. There are countless untold are the stories of Black immigrants who bear the brunt of disproportionately high rates of deportation, unemployment, and economic exploitation, many living life in the shadows due to undocumented status. Over 3 million Black immigrants from countries in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Canada live in the United States, comprising 10% of the U.S. foreign-born population. BIN is dedicated to connecting these communities for action and raising their collective voices for social, political and economic justice.


With the theme of Rising Together, this biennial Kinship Assembly will feature the use of African Diaspora Dialogues, a small-group exercise designed to build transformative change and mutual understanding between African-Americans and African immigrants on issues of race, culture and identity.  It will also include strategy sessions on Haitian family reunification, immigration reform and mass incarceration/mass detention.  The conference coincides with the culmination of Miami’s month-long celebration of Haitian Heritage Month, and will be co-hosted by local grassroots organizations including Florida Immigrant Coalition, Dream Defenders, Power U, Haitian Women of Miami, Florida New Majority, and Caribbean Lawyers Association.


“Black immigrants and African Americans have the highest unemployment, highest incarceration, lowest wages and a many more challenges facing us. This is our attempt to rectify that because our communities deserve justice and dignity, and we should have a fighting chance”, said Opal Tometi, Co-Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), the coordinating entity for BIN.


In March 2013, BIN successfully led the charge to raise the voice of Black immigrants by ratifying its 10 Principles for Just and Inclusive Immigration Reform, petitioning the US Senate, and mobilizing hundreds of African Americans and Black immigrants for a national rally at the US Capitol. BIN has also developed a strategic partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus, organizing a panel for it’s Annual Legislative Conference last June on “Pan African Immigration Reform.”


“It is important in this heightened moment for Afro Immigrants and African Americans to continue to traverse the bridges that were built during past struggles like the Civil Rights fights, the various independence movements and the dismantling of the racist apartheid system,” said Donald Anthonyson, organizer with New York-based Families for Freedom.


Francesca Menes, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Florida Immigrant Coalition agrees. “Our communities need the additional support,” she said. “Florida has one of the largest Caribbean populations in the U.S. and it’s important to give community members an opportunity to hear some policy analysis, participate in peer-led workshops and voice their issues.”


The goal of the assembly and BIN overall is to develop a network that nurtures relationships among Black-led organizations, builds collective strategies for justice, and provides support to make their work more effective.


Trina Jackson of Boston-based Network for Immigrants and African Americans in Solidarity shared, “In a day and age where African Americans are pitted against immigrants, we are a group that says this must stop – we embrace and love one another, and know that our commitment to justice is a commitment to all of us!”


Registration information for the conference can be found online at http://blackimmigration.net



Immigration reform must keep families together, protect children

Original Post from NBC Latino
Keeping children with their families should be a priority regardless of immigration status, says Congresswoman Karen Bass.

Keeping children with their families should be a priority regardless of immigration status, says Congresswoman Karen Bass. (Photo/Getty Images)

Opinion: Immigration reform must keep families together, protect children

A core principle of immigration reform must be a focus on protecting children of undocumented immigrants, who through no fault of their own can end up being ripped away from a loving home or denied the right to see a parent they primarily rely on to have their basic needs met.


This week marked a great leap forward as the Obama Administration began implementing a new federal immigration rule aimed at keeping “mixed status” families together.


Under the rule, certain undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen can apply for a waiver from a 10-year ban for being in the United States unlawfully.


For a spouse who may be an undocumented immigrant, the rule gives them one more pathway to continue caring for their children and families who rely on their emotional and financial support.


The rule was first initiated by President Obama last year, in keeping with his pledge to take executive action on comprehensive immigration reform if Congress was unwilling to tackle this critically important issue.


Congress and the Administration must continue working together on a comprehensive immigration reform package, particularly a plan that keeps families together.  This new rule is another step in the right direction but more must be done as the debate continues around immigration reform.

Every effort should be made before families are torn apart to make sure undocumented immigrants have access to their children and are able to continue providing for their families, who oftentimes would be left in dire straits if a loved one were to be deported or detained.


When an immigration arrest occurs, law enforcement sometimes refuse to allow detained immigrant parents the opportunity to properly ensure their children will be taken care of.  This can result in unnecessary placements into the foster care system, needlessly taking children away from families who otherwise are more than capable of providing a loving home.


For undocumented immigrants who have experienced the horror of having a child ripped away from their family, they know all too well how difficult the current system can be to navigate.  For example, the hearings and proceedings that determine where a child will be placed tend to take place far from the detention centers where immigrants are held.


This makes it incredibly difficult for caseworkers to maintain contact with undocumented immigrant parents, further reducing the likelihood they will be able to properly care for their children who by now may have been placed in the foster care system.


Unable to care for their children because of their detention, undocumented immigrants face the risk of having their parental rights inappropriately terminated, resulting in permanent family separation.


For parents fortunate enough to be released, the system isn’t much more helpful in helping them to keep their families together. Several roadblocks continue to exist, such as undocumented immigrant parents being forced to meet requirements of a child-welfare case plan that is almost impossible to complete.


Parents may be asked to prove they can meet the healthcare needs of their children but programs such as Medicaid and other services are not available to these parents because of their immigration status.


The odds of these parents being unable to reunite with their children become much greater once a deportation has occurred.  Foreign consulates aren’t always able to get involved with reuniting families and some social workers and family court judges may believe that children of deported immigrants are better off living in the foster-care system here in the United States than they would be living with their parents in another country.


Implementation of new regulatory rules like the one the Obama Administration began this week, in addition to passage of legislation making it more difficult to terminate parental rights based solely on immigration status, would go a long way toward helping to keep families together while we sort out comprehensive immigration reform.


It is possible to reform our broken immigration system and keep families together at the same time. Children should be placed in the best homes for them, with loving and caring families regardless of the immigration status of their parents.


Families being raised by a spouse who, in some cases has spent years in the United States working hard to provide for their children shouldn’t have to live in fear that every day a loved one goes off to work they may not return home for fear of being detained or deported.


America can and must continue striving for a better immigration system that keeps families together.


Congresswoman Karen Bass represents California’s 37th Congressional District and is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.  



One Thousand Caribbean and African Immigrants Rally in DC to Demand that Their Distinct Needs Be Addressed in Policy


WHAT: Black Communities for Immigrant Justice Rally


WHO: An estimated 1000 Progressive African Americans and Black Immigrants from the Caribbean, African, Latin America and around the globe. Led by Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH), Black Immigration Network (BIN) and The Black Institute (TBI).


WHEN: Wednesday March 20, 2013 at 11:30 am to 1:00 pm


WHERE: Washington, DC – United States Capitol Grounds


BACKGROUND: For years several grassroots black-immigrant led organizations have been advocating for different types of immigration reforms pertaining to their distinct community. On Wednesday March 20th they are coming together to demonstrate their strength and unity when it comes to having the needs of black immigrants met in the immigration reform debate.


Black Immigrants in the US make up approximately 10% of the foreign-born population. And African immigrants are the most highly educated of all immigrant groups in the U.S. However, black migrants (from Africa and the Caribbean) face unprecedented adversity and are often forgotten in the immigration debate. What’s worse black immigrants are being detained at deported at 5 times the rate despite the fact that they’re not the largest undocumented immigrant group in the US. In New York City those who are deported the most are Jamaicans, Haitians and Dominicans, which illustrates the racialized nature of the issue. Nigeria and Brazil also made the top 10 list of countries where deportees come from.


African Americans are also joining this fight to lend their voice and to stop the reversal of civil rights gains under the guise of immigration enforcement. African American communities are also impacted by the changing demographics and have joined this coalition of groups in order to envision creative and just solutions to the immigration system.


Many grassroots organizations have been part of the larger primarily Latino-led immigrant rights rallies, however black immigrants have decided it’s time to be the decisive and leading voice on these issues as they are particularly impacted.


CUSH Chairman, Bishop Orlando Findlayter says, “We’ve been advocating with our communities for many years now and this is because the moral conviction we have about the issues, and our quest to keep families together.”


Pastor Gilford T. Monrose explains, “Our parishioners face many challenges in the immigration system and this is not right. Black Immigrants are an integral part of the society and have contributed greatly to the cultural and economic fabric of the United States.”


Bertha Lewis of the Black Institute says, “We’ll be rallying on March 20th to ensure black immigrant voices are heard and to demand full citizenship for all. Our Caribbean and African immigrant sisters and brothers cannot afford to live in limbo without documentation or temporary statuses.”


National Coordinator, Opal Tometi, of the Black Immigration Network adds, “We’ve seen an attempt to reverse the gains made by the civil rights movement through the anti-immigrant movement, and now it’s time to put a decisive end to the regressive politics that only further disenfranchise and criminalize communities of color. The time for full citizenship for all is now.”


Three main organizations that have come together to ensure the success of this rally are Clergy United to Save and Heal, The Black Institute and The Black Immigration Network.


Other organizations who are also participating in the rally are: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, New Sanctuary Coalition, NY Communities for Change, Make The Road NY, Caribbean American Faith-Based Leadership Network, Cameroon American Council, Women Supporting Women, Families for Freedom, African Diaspora for Change, 32 BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Caribbean Women Health Association, National Action Network and Latin American Caribbean Cultural Centers.


Flyer Capitol Rally