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

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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

 


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

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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