A Global Movement to Stop Anti-Black Racism in the Dominican Republic

African-American and Black Immigrant Leaders Condemn the Government of Dominican Republic Ethnic Cleansing

Decry Racist Policy Denationalizing Dominicans and Children of Haitian Migrants as a violation of Human Rights



Approximately two weeks ago, an estimated 250,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent have been stripped of legal status due to a court decision that denationalizes generations of native and foreign-born Dominicans of Haitian ancestry. The ruling codified as Resolution 168/13 by the Dominican Republic’s Tribunal Constitution on September 23, 2013, retroactively removed the citizenship status of Dominicans of Haitian descent, rendering them stateless. This action denies these community members the required documentation to exercise basic civil rights such as: travel, work, voting, public education and housing. In essence, this ruling strips Dominicans of Haitian descent of their human rights and dignity, forcing them off their land, tearing families apart and violently deporting residents without a moment’s notice or due process.

End Apartheid banner

U.S.-based national formation the Black Immigration Network stands with the international community in condemning the Dominican Republic’s actions. The expulsion of Dominicans of Haitian Descent and Haitian migrants, regardless of immigration status, is unconscionable and wrong. The Black Immigration Network, a national organization of Black immigrants and African Americans, recognizes the racialized realities of the mass deportations and criminalization of black people as a human rights crisis. The policy is in violation of international human rights law, including the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR). The practice of denationalization and deportation is a continuation of the legacy of anti-black racism in the Dominican Republic and must be stopped.

 

Resolution 168/13 has enshrined and bolstered a social and political climate that puts black people in the Dominican Republic in grave danger. Xenophobic violence including public lynchings of people presumed to be of Haitian ancestry. Raids and arson has plagued this nation for years and is currently on the rise. Already, over 30,000 people have fled to neighboring Haiti, in fear for their lives and uncertain of their status and ability to return to their homes in the Dominican Republic.

 

The Black Immigration Network (BIN) stands with people of conscience around the globe, international stakeholders, civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to demand the Dominican government immediately halt the removal of denationalized Dominicans and Haitian immigrants, and guarantee that individuals are not arbitrarily, unjustly, and permanently deprived of their civil and human rights.

 

BIN supports a boycott of all tourism to the Dominican Republic and urges the United States government to use this period to expand the U.S. Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP) in an effort to provide reprieve and justice for those adversely impacted by lagging immigration policies in the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic.

 

The Black Immigration Network calls for a Week of Action July 27- August 1, in partnership with grassroots activist and organizations to bring attention to this injustice and international solidarity to end this human rights crisis. All Black lives matter, beyond borders — the time is now for a global movement to stop anti-black racism in the Dominican Republic and promote national reconciliation.

This statement is published publically and available via Huffington Post Black Voices

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Media Inquiries: Tia Oso, BIN National Coordinator  – 480-382-1753 – Tia (AT) BlackAlliance.org


Take Action Against Apartheid in The Dominican Republic

5 Ways You Can  Stand In Solidarity With Dominicans of Haitian Descent

 

As of June 17, approximately 210,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent are under  threat  of deportation  by the Dominican Government. Since 2004, the Dominican government has implemented a rigorous set of policy  including the Ruling Sentence 168/13 of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic, including a 2010 interpretation of the citizenship provisions of the Constitution which ”ruled that the children of undocumented migrants who have been in the Dominican Republic and registered as Dominicans as far back as 1929, cannot have Dominican nationality as their parents are considered to be “in transit.”

 

The enforcement of this ruling, aimed at revoking the citizenship and civil rights  of people of Haitian descent, both native born and immigrants has  rendered those affected  stateless. The rulings and actions of the government have fueled anti-Haitian sentiment, leading to violence against “Haitian looking” people and an increase in widespread discrimination. June 16 marked the deadline for those who could prove their nationality rights to “regularize” and all are now subject to deportation. The Dominican government has reportedly secured dozens of busses  and built “Welcome Centers” at the Haitian/Dominican border in preparation for removals.

 

As the international community watches this ethnic cleansing, the Black Immigration Network reached out  to members organizations and allies in the Haitian American  community for ways that community, organizations and leaders can support advocacy efforts, raise awareness and stand in solidarity with the communities of Dominican people affected by this human rights crisis.

 

 

Here are 5 ways you and your organization  can help:

 1.SIGN: Add your organization’s name to an Open Letter to President Danilo Medina, Dominican Republic: bit.ly/HaitianLivesMatter
2. TWEET: the Twitter Rally all day today using the hashtag #HaitianLivesMatter.  Tell @PresidenciaRD #HaitianLivesMatter!
twitterrally

3. EDUCATE: Use and share these links and resources to learn more about the denationalization of Dominicans of Haitian Descent

4. JOIN: A solidarity action in your  area or plan one – https://endapartheidinthedr.wordpress.com/actions/
5. BOYCOTT: many groups are calling for a boycott of travel and tourism to the Dominican Republic until the government rescinds its denationalization  of Haitian descendents and addresses racism in the Dominican Republic. Follow the  campaign on social media  #ENDAPARTHEIDINDR, #DONTGO2DR, #BOYCOTTDR 

boycott

 

 

 


New American Media Covers BIN Panel on Engaging African Immigrants

New American Media Covers Black Immigration Network Panel on Engaging African Immigrants

 

On April 22, The Black Immigration Network partnered with University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration to present a panel on the sharp  increase of African immigrants migrating to California and what this means for engaging these communities in migrant rights, racial justice and other key causes. BIN Steering Committee member Nunu Kidane worked for several years to make this very important event happen. Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African  Communities Together presented demographic analysis and BIN Natioanl Coordinator Tia Oso shared key insights into how to best engage African immigrants  and how important BIN is as a space for connecting African immigrants with other Black immigrants and African-Americans. Many BIN member organizations participated as attendees including Priority Africa Network, African Communities Public Health Coalition, African Advocacy Alliance and many individual  members from the Southern California region.

 

New American Media covered the event in  “Growing National Alliance: African Diaspora and Immigrant Rights Groups”: “BAJI’s founders “believed that blacks and immigration rights activists should be working together to fight racism and support immigration reform and they wondered, ‘Where are the black voices?’” said Gerald Lenoir, the first BAJI executive director, in an interview with New America Media.


Those voices are now being heard in cities throughout the country as BAJI and some civil rights groups representing African immigrants join with immigration rights advocates. They are calling for a broader social justice movement and – more recently – speaking out on issues related to police violence in black communities.

Some leading members of this emerging coalition met last week at Engagement and Mobilization of African Immigrants, a forum hosted by the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California.” FULL ARTICLE HERE.


“This Was My Friend”- Communities Respond to LAPD Murder of “Brother Africa”

BLACK IMMIGRANT AND AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS MOURN THE LOSS OF “BROTHER AFRICA”

africas wingsOn Sunday March 1,  Charley “Brother Africa” Leundeu Keunang, a 43 year old Cameroonian  immigrant living on Skid Row was killed by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers. Members of Black Immigration Network in Los Angeles are actively involved in organizing the community to seek justice in his case. Read the Black Alliance for Just Immigration statement regarding this horrible tragedy.  (http://www.blackalliance.org/brotherafrica/) Follow #CantKillAfrica on social media for updates on ongoing actions.

 

Brother Africa’s death brings into focus the convergence of state violence in the lives of Black people, and particularly the implications for Black immigrants. Ota Omoruyi, a Nigerian immigrant and friend of Keunang told Complex: “Why did this happen? It’s a mystery to me. I didn’t know [his life] was going to end like this—he didn’t know it was going to end like this,” says Ota Omoruyi, a Skid Row resident from Nigeria. He’s known Africa for about six months, and calls him “Cameroon,” Africa’s home country. He wrote this nickname on a piece of cardboard that’s now the centerpiece of the memorial that stands where his friend once lived.

 

“I’ve never known him to be violent, I’ve never known him to be confrontational,” he says. “I’ve known him to be intellectual, and to talk with purpose. I cannot say what went on in his mind when the police came. But I know he was depressed for about a week, thinking about sending money home, to his people, and about getting out of homelessness.” Full Article Here

 


Remember Haiti, Reunite Haitian American Families

This week marks five years since the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010 devastating Haiti’s capitol Port Au Prince and the surrounding area. This anniversary is a sobering reminder to all that families in Haiti are still struggling and we must do all that we can to assist. The Reunite Haitian Families Campaign, along with the ongoing efforts of organizations and individuals fighting for nearly five years, successfully petitioned the department of Homeland Security (DHS) to initiate a Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) program. Today it is time to take action to ensure that implementation is full, fair and just!



The HFRP program as announced only benefits a few of the 110,000 approved petition holders and no details are available regarding implementation. The Reunite Haitian Family Campaign is rallying advocates to call for a fully implemented Haitian Family Reunification Parole program to speed recovery efforts, reunite families on years long waiting list and provide much needed relief to thousands still struggling as the economy and infrastructure are rebuilt.



Take action! Every effort is needed to help as Haiti’s communities work to rebuild. Sign and share the petition and add your organization endorsement to join this campaign today! The Black Immigration Network is committed to fighting for family unification and advocating for policies that bring Black immigrant families together is crucial. Your support and voice in this effort has helped to win the creation of HFRP, and now we need you to ensure that a fair and just program is carried out.



In recognition of the anniversary, this video report by the Miami Herald shares a compelling update on the status of recovery in Haiti and why we must continue to fight and work together for the resilient, strong families rebuilding their lives after this tragedy.



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.
 
Resources

Poetry Inspired by the BIN Kinship Assembly – “Revolution” by Cindy Acona

The 2014 BIN Kinship Assembly featured a special dialogue and performances by three Afro-latino poets, Anthony Polanco, Robert Oriyamaat,and Cindy Acona, discussing the importance of arts and cultural expression in movement building, and the experiences of movement artists. One of the poets, Cindy Acona, was inspired by the work of BIN and her experience at the Kinship Assembly to create this piece and share it during their performance.

 

 

Cindy Acona

Poet Cindy Acona – aka Black Angel

Revolution – by Cindy Acona

 

Revolution

has been commercialized so much

That our youth have no clue

what it is about

 

Ignorant in the ways of conflict resolution

thinking war is the only conclusion

furthering political affiliations

 

Welcome

to the American broken system

Where unity is discouraged

Financial segregation as subtle

As a hurricane in season

 

So my question

How do we really go about bringing change?

How do we surpass the obstacles put in place

In order to watch our downfall?

 

How do we become that village again

That raises our children?

Conferences like B.I.N.

Needs to be held globally more often

but why isn’t it?

 

Its simple, their response

There’s no profit in solutions

It seems as though if I have no monetary backing

My plights go unheard

My fight unseen

Snuffed out by media black outs

 

As police states drown out cries

silencing our leaders

by any means necessary

dumb down children in order to perpetuate

imprisoned slave system

keep the revolving door of escapism rotating

rehabilitation never actualize

for privatized stock options

if my name isn’t Chad, Chet, Amanda or Tiffany

I’m profiled to be arrested

No matter how much of good Citizen I may seem to be

my skin has become the determination factor

of my freedom

brown paper bag theory in full effect

 

We have unfamiliar pale faces

Invading once occupied spaces of the un-free

Migration of a culture

Escaping gentrified purity

Now seeming too equitable,

A mockery of suffering

As ethnicity becomes a commodity

 

Something to admire, acquire

& become

but with less flavor, for a more sensitive gluten free tongue

Long vowels replace native tongues

Habitats become unaffordable

Once inhabitants, now paying tourists

for their former homes

Pushed out economically

To make way for the financially stable

Upkeep is easier with them out of the way

Things look prettier now that the poor are gone

epitome of gentrification

Audacity made fun of by new comers

“If they really wanted this place, then why keep it so rundown?”

As though the 99% can provide for the one

 

This beautiful melting pot has become

A place where financial segregation

Has feigned it’s way into forced integration

 

So how do we move forward on a chess board

Filled with pawns protecting the hierarchy?

Answer:

If we don’t feed the predators,

eventually they become the prey

 

Cindy Peralta better known as Black Angel with parents of Dominican decent, this Queens resident Afro-Latina has been hard at work writing poetry since the age of 13 and never looked back. While in H.S. her poems were published in the weekly paper as part of the Literary Arts section. Now at the age of 32, She has performed at the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Bar 13, Culture Shock at the Sutra Lounge, Latino Cultural Festival at Flushing Hall of Science as well as several colleges including LaGuardia Community College to which she’s an Alum. Also, as a motivational poet, she has performed at prison facilities including Eastern Correctional Facility and Riker’s Island. Contact Cindy at www.facebook.com/blackangelthepoet  or Blackangelthepoet@gmail.com. 


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

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Reflecting on March on Washington and Black immigrant presence in US

Post by Nunu Kidane, BIN Steering Committee, Director of Priority Africa Network 

 

 

Among the many issues of contention in this year’s debate over Comprehensive Immigration Reform, particular focus has been paid to Diversity Visa.

 

Does Diversity Visa in fact meant to “diversify” racial populations by allocating more visas to Black and Brown people? What is the history of this policy and significance to Black populations in particular? In answering these questions, my goal is to not only to state facts and set the record straight but to raise a broader issue of the moral imperative race in the current immigration debate.

 

This is particularly significant this week as we focus on the 50th Anniversary of The March on Washington.  The national march on washington immigration reform debate isn’t exactly gripping the attention of Black America and is unlikely to get more than mere mention by speakers this week.  It is however gaining considerable mention from some African-American institutions and leaders.  Unlike previous years, the Congressional Black Caucus and progressive national groups like the Black Immigration Network have taken the lead to speak out on immigration through race lens. For Black immigrants and African-Americans, the immigration issue is primarily seen in two relevant areas: 1. Issue of labor and jobs and 2. Shifting demographic trends in the racial makeup of this country.

 

It is on the latter that the case of Diversity Visa is often cited.  It is claimed that presence of Black populations (particularly from Africa) would not have been possible if not for Diversity Visas.  This argument is increasingly made as a push back to recent conservative’s proposals to do away with DV in order to allocate the entry privileges to “more deserving” professionals and highly skilled foreign workers.

 

Diversity Visa is a national immigration policy introduced in the mid-1990s with 55,000 visa allocations each year to people coming from countries of “low rates of immigration to the US”.   Of the tree categories through which foreigners gain entrance to the US on “immigrant visas” Diversity visa is one; the other two are employment and family sponsorship.

 

To most readers, the word “diversity” implies mixed populations of racial and ethnic origin.  Federal immigration policies however make absolutely no reference to race or ethnicity.  The word ‘diversity’ in DV is entirely in relation to “regions of the world” (not persons of an ethnic group) with a history of “low admission” to the US.   Visa allocations from countries therefore include Europe and Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, in addition to Africa.

 

The emphasis on DV as one of the most coveted avenues for entry of Black populations in the U.S. is factually wrong.  While it does provide an opportunity for a small group of Black immigrants (amongst European and Asian) to come to the US, the figures do not make it the single most deserving issue of protection on the debate over race and immigration.

 

The majority of Africans coming to the U.S. do so by far on visitor visas, followed by visas of family sponsorships, employment and students.

 

The 2012 visa allocation for Africa:

 

Diversity Visa Visitor Visas Family Sponsorship Employment & Student Refugees
13,321 295,125 30,493 20,242 12,000

 

 

Moreover, residents of only five countries in sub Saharan Africa were recipients of the DV lottery in significant numbers that exceeded one thousand.

 

Congo Egypt Ethiopia Ghana Nigeria
1,219 2,004 1,416 1,677 1,850

 

 

The growing influence of Black voices on the current immigration debate goes beyond advocacy for a single-issue of Diversity Visa.  It is one of the many issues on the table and it does not by any means define the broad spectrum of the call for “just immigration.”

 

Black solidarity in immigration policy debate is about racial justice. Groups like the Black Immigration Network approach this through layers of history and understanding of the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-apartheid movement and current critical issues economic and social justice. This broader framework is important to understanding what immigration debate brings to progressive African Americans and Black immigrants.

 

As we advocate for maintaining DV and fight for policy changes, let us be as militant and vocal about issues of family separation. Hundreds of families are separated each day, in lengthy detentions and without due process.  Let us raise issues of increasing criminalization of immigrants in much the same way Black communities are criminalized and racially profiled.  It is about building alliances between those who call for end of mass incarceration of largely Black people to the mass detention of largely Hispanic immigrants.

 

This anniversary of The March on Washington makes us mindful more than ever, of King’s message.  It was not only about integration and racial equality; it was about the true meaning of citizenship and full rights, it was about access to jobs, fair housing and employment.  Most of all, it was about recognizing the inter-sectionality of all these issues and the inalienable right and dignity of human beings, deserving universal rights regardless of color or creed or national origin.  That is at the heart of what the Civil Rights Movement was about.