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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