BIN Members Making News!

BIN Steering Committee member Francesca Menes of Florida Immigrant Coalition featured on Facing South Florida on CBS Miami.

BIN Steering Committee member Francesca Menes of Florida Immigrant Coalition featured on Facing South Florida on CBS Miami.

The Black Immigration Network is a national network of over 40 organizations as well as individuals leading and serving black immigrant and African American communities who are focused on supporting fair and just immigration, as well as economic and social policies that benefit these communities and all communities of color in order to create a more just and equitable society. These leaders are making news with their leadership, groundbreaking advocacy and raising issues of importance to Black communities. Check out this week’s BAJI Blog, the organization which hosts and coordinates BIN, highlighting some of the recent coverage.

 

 


Real Story Behind European Migration Crisis

The Real Story Behind European Migration Crisis

 

by Opal Tometi, Executive Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration reflecting on her recent trip to Europe meeting with migration and racial justice advocates there:

 

“This past month I had the opportunity to travel to Europe and meet with immigrant rights activists from Greece, Russia, Germany, Brussels, France and more – and the common story that I heard was that economic hardships were leading to increased migration and migrant and refugee presence was being criminalized through various means across the continent of Europe.

 

In this video I shot and edited, Koray Yilmaz-Gunay, a Turkish immigrant who works with the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation and Migration Council of Berlin, discusses the root causes of migration across Europe and the political crisis that leads to tens of thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean Sea each year.”

 

WATCH THE FULL VIDEO HERE.

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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.


2014 BIN Kinship Assembly – Scholarships Now Available

BIN Conference, May 23-25, 2014 Miami, Florida

The Black Immigration Network Conference Scholarship gives kin that might otherwise not be able to attend the opportunity to participate in the Kinship Assembly.  Limited scholarship funds are available to applicants with financial need, to apply towards travel and/or hotel expenses to support attendance at the 2014 Kinship Assembly, May 23-25 in Miami, FL.  Scholarships are provided to encourage ongoing interest in and involvement with Black Immigration Network. Attendance helps in understanding the BIN framework, increases capacity, and develops key relationships. Participants are responsible for covering non-applicable expenses such as ground transportation and non-conference meals and materials.  All scholarship recipients will be required to pay the conference registration fee.

 

Scholarship Criteria:

  • Membership: Priority given to current BIN Members. Non-members are encouraged to apply as well.
  • Financial need
  • Represent an organization or be an individual serving, organizing, advocating for, and/or providing research for African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino and African American communities in the United States
  • Able to benefit from attendance at kinship assembly

Additional factors taken into consideration include: financial need, geography, underrepresented communities, and area of practice.

 

Scholarship Recipients will be required to:

  • Commit to attend assembly activities
  • Complete a pre-conference and post conference survey

The priority deadline for stipend applicants is Monday April 21, 2014.

TO APPLY – CLICK HERE to complete the Scholarship Application Form or copy and paste this link into your browser (https://tinyurl.com/lmglhp2)

 

QUESTIONS? Contact Tia Oso, BIN Coordinator – Tia (at) BlackAlliance.og or call 917-310-3785.


BLACK IMMIGRANTS AND CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS UNITE FOR HISTORIC RALLY FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

BLACK IMMIGRANTS AND CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS UNITE FOR HISTORIC RALLY FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

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


WATCH: Black Perspectives on Immigration Reform Webinar

On Thursday February 28th the Black Immigration Network held a webinar entitled “Black Perspectives on Immigration Reform. You can simply download the power point here  –  OR you can watch the video below.

During this engaging webinar panelists provided informative analysis on the current immigration enforcement landscape; U.S. racism and how it informs the immigrant experience; and the root causes of global migration. This webinar will help diverse black communities and allies understand what we should be uplifting in this current wave of immigration reform.


Webinar Invite: Black Perspectives on Immmigration Reform

WEBINAR INVITATION   IMG_6060

BLACK PERSPECTIVES ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

 

Thursday February 28, 2013
2:00pm EST

RSVP HERE:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4410770407843324160

 

During this engaging webinar panelists will discuss the current components of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) and how it may impact Black Immigrant and African American communities. Panelists will also provide informative analysis on the current immigration enforcement landscape; U.S. racism and how it informs the immigrant experience; and the root causes of global migration. This webinar will help diverse black communities and allies understand what we should be uplifting in this current wave of immigration reform.

 

Question and Answer Session will follow presentations.

 

Webinar panelists include:

 

Nunu Kidane, Priority Africa Network (PAN)
An activist originally from Eritrea, Nunu is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley and has worked in Africa related program and policy developments for over two decades. For the past nine years, Nunu has worked in grassroots mobilization of new African communities in the Bay Area and nationally.

 

Gerald Lenoir, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
Gerald Lenoir has been a leader in progressive social movements for over 30 years.  He is currently the Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and a board member of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

 

Francesca Menes, Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC)
Francesca, the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), was born and raised in Miami, Florida in the community of Little Haiti. For 2 years, Francesca was the coordinator of a national network of organizations fighting for the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status.

 

Abraham Paulos, Families for Freedom (FFF)
Abraham is the Executive Director of FFF, although he joined as a member, after facing immigration detention for a crime he did not commit. He was vindicated, but his experience moved him to advocate with others. Abraham is an Eritrean refugee, born in Sudan and raised in Chicago.

 


BLACK VOICES CALL FOR NEW APPROACHES TO IMMIGRATION REFORM

BLACK VOICES CALL FOR NEW APPROACHES TO IMMIGRATION REFORM 

Article by by Leah Wise and Gerald Lenoir

 

It’s A New Day

Neoliberal[1] Globalization has changed the political and economic landscape –domestically and internationally—and is forcing us to think and work in new ways.   Now that the bankruptcy of unfettered capitalism has been exposed and people in every class are getting a taste of the insecurity and lost wealth, if not hunger and homelessness, experienced by the droves of people of color, extreme poor, workers and others who have been the primary casualties of the corporate driven neoliberal agenda over the past 2½ decades, there is a broader base of people wanting reform.   Not enough, however, are addressing the system of policies and institutions that are the cause of our miseries and are still locked into piecemeal strategies.  Immigration is an urgent issue precisely because 200 million people across the globe have been propelled into migration by these policies, by the wars, collapsed economies, destabilization, ruined environments, and genocide they have engendered.  Only 2% have come to the US, yet their presence is transforming local communities and base organizing, in rural and urban areas alike.  Rather than create a Marshall plan to help these survivors [at home and abroad] cope, nations, particularly in the West, have criminalized many of them.

These new realities challenge our social justice movements to:

  • Think macro and micro [global/national/state/local] and long and short-term simultaneously, taking into account specific on-the-ground circumstances and histories.
  • Learn to appreciate, respect and “negotiate vast diversities and tremendous complexities that inclusivity requires.
  • Focus on causes –structural impediments, policies & practices –and overlapping impacts, rather than isolated disparities, which implies intersectional analysis, or locating targets at the intersections of the overlaps, to maximize impact and building the broadest base of support.
  • Grapple with racism and wedge issues, in recognition of their historic role in defeating every social movement, blatantly, as in the 1898 Wilmington (NC) coup d’etat and massacre, or more subtly, as in the more recent use of demeaning racially coded language and images (Willie Horton, welfare queens) in political campaigns or “immigrants are taking jobs nobody wants” to thwart union campaigns.
  • Forge a new model of work that marries the shaping and content of policy reforms with base building practice that can galvanize communities across the nation into a powerful movement.  To us this means building an inclusive peoples movement of scale, encompassing the widespread and various sectors that have been casualties of neoliberal policies, AND crafting and linking policy reforms in ways that benefit everyone.
  • Walk our talk.  We must model the society we say we are trying to build –be the justice we want to live and exemplify accountability—if we are to have any authenticity and credibility to offer real change.  To the Immigrant Rights movement, for example, black immigrants—Africans, Afro Latin@s, Caribbean—have been largely invisible and excluded, both in participation, leadership and issue priorities.  Racism in the immigrant rights movement is its Achilles’ heel.  If the Movement is to forge and lead a disparate and diverse base, then it must include the voices, perspectives and leadership of the marginalized, including the young, African descent immigrants and native born, and poor women.
  • Recognize national policies must address regional specificity if they are to have national impact.  National policy cannot rely on state implementation when “states rights”—which governs political will—and inadequate infrastructure eclipses impact in the South and other localities across the nation.  The failure to address the structural conditions in the South have rendered the region the nation’s sinkhole, which has dragged down wages, jobs, conditions, safety net, the nation towards the South’s level of underdevelopment

How we respond as a progressive movement, particularly in these times of economic crisis, has everything to do with whether we can maximize a progressive movement that can win real change that will bring us economic prosperity, full political participation, social justice, accountable democracy and peace –for everyone, or whether we become more fractured and weak and lose the opportunity that the Obama victory has promised us for the next 7½ years.  People of color, particularly younger generations, are the strategic center –and mass base—of progressive change in America.  We have power collectively, but none of us have power by ourselves.  All for one and one for all is not a new idea, but the era of globalization and internet technology has definitely given it new meaning and new possibility.

Race is at the Center of Immigrant Justice and Reform

Race, racism, and the struggle for racial justice are central to the immigrant experience and character of the movement for three main reasons:

1)    Globalization policies have been an engine of racism, negatively impacting peoples of color disproportionately

2)    Different understandings of race, identity, and racism, ill equip most immigrants to enter the racialized context of US society and politics, especially in the South.  Most immigrants lack the savvy and organizing skill needed to address systemic racism, particularly in ways that enable them to build upon the successes of the struggles for civil and human rights and Native American sovereignty and to link with black folk.  Many come to the US with negative stereotypes about African Americans and think Dr. M.L. King, Jr. corrected discrimination once and for all.  We are seen as weak and powerless, in short, as unworthy allies.  We are not regarded as the revolutionary change-makers who, along with our allies, were the creative force behind social transformation in this country.  They don’t know our sacrifices and struggles succeeded in dismantling US apartheid and igniting a successful anti-war movement along with other social struggles that extended US democracy, civil rights and economic opportunity to many more than us – to women, immigrants, workers, environmentalists, LGBT, the poor, and the differently abled, —most of whom are white.   They also don’t appreciate that our victories were incomplete and have been unraveled by administrations over the past 25 years.  These views prevail even now that we have a black president! .

3)    US Immigration policies, structures and the way they are implemented (e.g. racial profiling) themselves are discriminatory and exclusionary, fraught with preferences and bias according to race, class, gender and sexual orientation.  They perpetuate white supremacy and racial disparities.  They allow employers, lenders, landlords, politicians, bureaucrats, and the organized Right to exploit, abuse, and manipulate native and foreign born people of color, driving a wedge that poses the most urgent threat to progressive politics in America. Thus, just immigration cannot be accomplished without addressing systemic policies as well as individual, institutional and structural racism.

Today, the struggle for immigrant rights is at the cutting edge of the struggles for racial and worker justice and to mounting a campaign to scrap neoliberal policies across the board.  This recognition alone should be a uniting factor of labor, civil rights and immigrant rights movements. Addressing black exclusion from the formal economy, the super exploitation of immigrants, and the structural impediments that have perpetuated race/wealth/gender disparities in the U.S., most notably in the South, is at the heart of linking just immigration policy to sustainable economic recovery, one that installs a new set of just economic relations and can win broad support.

It will take native born blacks and immigrants joining together to shape policies for mutual benefit, which means recognizing how our struggles are intertwined and our successes are dependent upon one another.

Towards this end the African American community must come to grips with the new realities of race in the U.S.: the black-white paradigm has given way to a much more complex picture, marked not only with rising Latin@s and Asian populations that have brought people of color majorities to several states, but with ethnic constructs, such as Latin@, that defy race as we understand it.  Thus, the political landscape for organizing is new to everyone, and to have impact, we will have to learn together how to organize and collaborate effectively, in mutual solidarity and equality.

A Human Rights Approach to Immigration

A holistic and comprehensive approach to just immigration policy must:

  • Encompass values and principles that uphold the dignity, rights, justice and prosperity (not just opportunity) for everyone;
  • Be linked to economic recovery policy that allows for the participation, decision-making, and benefit to everyone, particularly lifting those on the bottom;
  • Address all who are affected, including black (African-descent) immigrants and poor women.

Because migration is a global phenomenon, just immigration cannot be achieved by domestic policy alone.   The global nature of migration and suggests that fair and just policies must address:

1)      The development needs in countries and communities from which people were compelled to depart.

2)    Respect for and protection of the human rights of  migrants in the countries where they arrive

3)    The infrastructure and development needs of communities to which migrants come.

The right of people to stay in their own countries and to be productive, prosperous and safe is a fundamental part of the UN Human Rights Convention, which also requires that we challenge racial and religious profiling, immigrant raids, detentions and deportations without due process; and the militarization of the US border.  The Far Right has championed these actions in the name of national security, but they have undermined the fundamental rights and political space of us all.

 

The Need for A Southern Strategy

Interestingly, immigration from the Global South and from other regions of the US has made the South an even more strategic region for winning a progressive agenda in America.  Overwhelmingly black and white historically, this still largely rural region has and is undergoing stark transformation to one of vast diversity where over 100 languages are spoken.  This new reality has brought both promise and serious challenges.  The South now has the fastest growing Latino population in the nation AND the majority of African Americans (over 55%), many of whom reside in majority black districts.  As was evidenced in Obama’s election, the bastion of the Conservative Right is now undergoing political shifts, due in large part to the increase in majority minority counties and voting patterns of young white voters.   Yet, the legacy of slavery, which established an economy of pollution, exploitation by outsiders, and exclusion, primarily through institutionalized perpetuation of white supremacy, lingers. Barriers to black voting still exist.   And 287G, for example, has been implemented aggressively and abusively in the South, particularly in North Carolina.  But, serious tensions between African Americans and immigrants have burst forth like geysers.   Unfortunately, instead of seeing the South as critical to the possibility for national transformation, many national organizations and funders regard it as peripheral.

Movement Building

If the immigrant rights movement is to overcome its internal divisions and to build lasting cross-racial and cross-community alliances that wield power, it must broaden its strategic outlook and willingly grapple with tough, complicated problematics that defy quick fixes and sound bites.   There are many questions progressive movements must solve together.  Here are a few:

How do we take to scale educational strategies that address the causes of global migration and bridge multiple understandings of race, racism, and identity?

 

How do we balance the deep and longer-term work we all have to do to become authentic allies with the urgency of immediate campaigns?

 

How is comprehensive, just immigration reform linked to economic recovery that brings marginalized African Americans back into the formal economy, benefits everyone, and sustains the planet?


[1] By neoliberal we are referring to free trade, structural adjustment, privatization, deregulation, dismantling the public sector, union busting, restricting civil rights, militarization, and other “free market” policies that allow capital to flow and corporations to operate without restrictions, and, of course, the institutions like the WTO, IMF and World Bank that help implement them.

2012 Conference was a Success!

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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. Increase capacity/effectiveness of members in network by having spaces for skills building, resource sharing, and additional education;
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


Why Bin?

The mission of the Black Immigration Network (BIN) is to contribute to the social and economic well-being of U.S.-born Blacks and Black immigrants (immigrants throughout this document means immigrants and refugees) by organizing in these communities, developing the leadership of Black people, and advocating for policies that benefit Black communities.  BIN is a national network of organizations and individuals in the United States that works at the intersection of race, immigration and globalization. BIN also seeks to build alliances with other organizations and networks in immigrant communities and communities of color for mutual benefit.

Our shared African ancestry and similar experiences with racism and exploitation in the U.S. and globally gives us a common frame of reference for our struggles to achieve justice.  The diversity amongst Africans of the Diaspora can generate divisions when misconceptions and misunderstandings about one another and competition for education, employment and scarce resources prevails.  BIN is a vehicle for mutual education, appreciation and collaboration. Our network furnishes an important space for gathering the African Diaspora for joint strategizing, information sharing and work for the benefit of all of our communities.

We believe that the struggle for immigrant rights is one of the cutting edge issues in the fight for racial justice and democracy in the United States today.  Racism and economic globalization has created displacement and poverty in all of our communities and countries.  Black immigrants, other immigrants of color and people of color in general are being exploited and scapegoated for many of the economic problems the U.S. has experienced.  Increasingly, African Americans are being locked out of the formal economy and immigrants of color are being locked into an economic arrangement in which they are super-exploited as a way to undercut the wages, rights and working conditions of the U.S. workforce as a whole, creating greater profits for U.S. corporations.

We believe that bringing a range of groups and individuals together to address the issues of race, immigration, globalization and related issues can magnify the impact of all of our groups in changing immigration policy and promoting racial justice.  We also believe that BIN can be instrumental in bringing the issues, perspectives and leadership of various Black immigrant communities and African Americans born in the United States to the broader immigrant rights, racial justice and economic justice movements. BIN will help to build the capacity of its members to meet the global challenges that face all of us and to bring together a durable social movement that transcends the lines of race, gender, religion, sexual identity and nationality.