Linking Black Struggles on International Migrants Day

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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.


Black Struggles in a Global Context

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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

Reflecting on BIN’s Development on International Migrants Day

Blog post by Amanda Jackson, BIN Steering Committee Member

 

In honor and recognition of International Migrants Day, the Black Immigration Network (BIN) is highlighting a necessary and critical element in the national dialogue on immigration—racial equity. For much of the recent immigration dialogue, black immigrants have not been a part of that conversation in constructive and meaningful ways. A necessary factor of cohesion and mutual understanding is encompassing all elements and aspects of a debate. Coming out of the October Steering Committee retreat in Chicago, Illinois spurred an initiative to thrust foreword BIN’s mission, that will be the “judge and the jury” of the inclusiveness of the immigration conversation henceforward. These efforts will consist of supporting a policy framework on immigration, reducing and hopefully ending enforcement only approaches through the use of prosecutorial discretion, an enhanced concentration on Haitian Reunification Visas, and ensuring that a global context is included in any framing of the immigration conversation.

 

My colleagues on the Steering Committee and I view today and the next year as pivotal, as we guide the development of the policy plan and move forward with a revamped structured for the launch.  Key issue areas for BIN are the common struggle among African Americans and Black immigrant communities, and the inclusion of black immigrants in both policy and practice. The main issue areas support BIN’s goals of forming a migrant rights connection, our mission and values, an opportunity for advancing a racial justice agenda, and hopefully produce a cultural shift around racial justice.

 

In moving forward with building a movement on immigration, I echo the thoughts and sentiments of the previous post by my colleagues, “If the immigrant rights movement is to overcome its internal divisions and build lasting cross-racial and cross-community alliances that wield power, it must broaden its strategic outlook and willingly grapple with the tough and complicated problems.” To effectively address this concern, together we must hone in on the seeds that sprout global migration and work to bridge the multiple understandings of imposed and self identity; form and maintain alliances for the long-overhaul not only regarding immigration dialogues, but any trans-continental conversation; and lastly, just immigration reform must identify the impact on African Americans and formalize an economy that everyone can benefit from.

 

How will the launch affect migrants? One expected outcome is better clarity supported with action of who BIN is, our mission, and vision for migrants, which we believe will help drive and reform many national conversations concerning communities that affect us. BIN has already put forth its principles for comprehensive immigration reform. With engaged communications, education and training and fundraising working groups, BIN has a mass incarceration campaign embedded in critical research on reversing the historical trend of incarceration rates. Webinars and calls will kick off the New Year to train and mobilize member organizations, along with new efforts to reach both black immigrant and African American through shared media outlets and historical alliances. Today’s launch triggers a new threshold activates action and kinship to shine the migration movement.