2016 Kinship Assembly – Black Love Beyond Borders

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Join the Black Immigration Network for the 2016 Kinship Assembly to be held in Los Angeles, CA April 8-10 2016. Visit www.BlackImmigration.net/Kinship for more information.

The Black Immigration Network (BIN) is a Kinship of organizations and individuals connecting, training and building towards policy and cultural shifts for a racial justice and migrant rights agenda. The Kinship Assembly, known for its rich content and camaraderie, brings together leaders from organizations and programs that serve, organize in, advocate for, and/or provide research for African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino and African American communities in the United States and that are run by members of these communities. The 2016 Assembly will include compelling plenary sessions, enriching workshops on a variety of topics, relationship building opportunities and an empowering, uplifting and strengthening space.


Linking Black Struggles on International Migrants Day

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.


Connecting the Diaspora on International Migrants Day

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International Migrants Day is held annually on December 18 to recognise the efforts, contributions and rights of migrants worldwide. The Black Immigration Network (BIN) will gather in recognition of International Migrants Day  to hear from leaders in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Caribbean via teleconference.

 

As Black people around the globe experience structural racism, xenophobia, religous intolerance and the adverse impacts of globalization, connecting across the diaspora to build a movement that protects the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, is key to our liberation.

 

 

 


Black Lives Matter Visits Cuba

A group of Black Lives Matter activists reflect on the lessons they learned during a recent solidarity trip to Cuba

 

By Anita, Chapter Coordinator and Community Organizer with Black Lives Matter,
Amity, the BYP100 NYC Communications Co-chair,
Shannon, organizer with NYC Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Outreach Director for 2013 documentary film Black and Cuba

 

“Venceremos, my favorite word in Spanish, crossed my mind. Ten million people had stood up to the monster. Ten million people only ninety miles away. We were here together in their land, my small little family, holding each other after so long. There was no doubt about it, our people would one day be free. The cowboys and bandits didn’t own the world.” – Assata Shakur

 

Ninety miles south of the United States is a truly different world. As Black Lives Matter activists, from various groups in the movement, who have been calling for massive structural, political and social changes in our country, we decided to see just what change can actually look like. So in late July we came together with 45 strangers to embark on a life-changing journey to visit and learn about Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade.

 

In 1969, a coalition of young people formed the Venceremos, “We Shall Overcome”, Brigade, in order to show solidarity with the Cuban revolution and challenge U.S. policies towards Cuba, including the economic blockade and our government’s ban on travel to the island. Our trip, like those that came before us, consisted of work, educational activities, and travel.

 

We were introduced to a highly educated, politically conscious and diverse society that our government has tried to keep us from for more than 50 years. We met resilient, inspirational, loving people who taught us about generosity, community, humility, and the one simple truth of socialism: that people are consistently prioritized over profit. We found that even within socialism, racial justice is a struggle that must be fought for and encouraged. While we cannot claim to be Cuban experts after one or two weeks, we did learn a great deal about ourselves and what it will mean to continue to build and win a revolutionary movement in our own country.

 

The three of us — Anita, Chapter Coordinator and Community Organizer with Black Lives Matter; Amity, the BYP100 NYC Communications Co-chair and Shannon, organizer with NYC Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Outreach Director for 2013 documentary film Black and Cuba– came with different perspectives, met and bonded over our questions and analysis of the experiences we had during the trip.

 

We found that In Cuba, people do not like to talk about race.

 

For Cuba, racial discrimination is a curse that both fled the country with the Cuban exiles and stayed behind with the revolution.

 

To be fair to the Cuban revolution, many of the Black Lives Matter movement’s “radical” demands to alleviate the effects of structural racism have been fulfilled in Cuba: all education (including higher education) is free, healthcare is free, housing is subsidized, healthy food is subsidized, and more. In 1962 the Cuban government declared the end of racial discrimination through the implementation of these egalitarian policies. In the U.S., racism is aggressive and deadly, systemic and carefully calculated. Although not fully eradicated, we found it true that Cuba’s socialist model diminishes the presence of structural racism and Cubans rightfully take pride in being more socially advanced than the U.S. in their “pursuit” for racial equality.

 

But, more than 50 years into the ongoing revolutionary project in Cuba, racial equality has still not been fully achieved and is often not addressed directly. While Cuba is an amazing example of how socialism can work to benefit the good of all people, Cuba is also proof that socialism or any tactic other than deliberately and intentionally working towards eradicating institutional and structural racism will not yield total racial equality.

 

Read the full blog HERE.


Surveillance and Black Political Futures

Movement for Black Lives activist surround Cleveland Police vehicle demanding the  release of a 14 year old detained by transit  police.

Movement for Black Lives activists attendig the M4BL convenings surround a Cleveland Police Department vehicle demanding the release of a 14 year old detained by transit police.

There is something different about the air we are breathing today. As much as we are expecting something there is also a sense that by our every action history is expecting us. The arc of history does not naturally bend in a particular direction so BAJI and the Black Immigration Network joined hundreds of activists and organizations in Cleveland for the Movement for Black Lives Convening (M4BL). We expected to get some answers, but we may have left with more interesting questions.


Many of you have heard about the confrontation with police officers at the end of the convening but our first confrontation with security forces came during a night out at a local Cleveland lounge. What appeared to be an especially powerful night out for Black activists turned Michael Jackson werewolves and afro-beat mavens was in reality laced with aggression as Black trans men and women were surveilled throughout the night as they used facilities many take for granted. In response marching orders came from the DJ booth but for many the story that a Black trans man was forcibly removed from a bathroom came by mouth to mouth under the din of music cutting across the dimly lit lounge. We changed rhythms from dance to protest and the music stopped.


Mark Winston-Griffith argued convincingly that, “Black Love Matters.” If this principle of Black love is as central to our new rhythm then we must come to terms with the modes of surveillance different Black bodies face. This can be frightening and it is fear that in part explains the erasure of Black people who have no hope of translation, citizenship, or basic empathy. But if we are honest we are all under surveillance because anxiety over Black movement as any immigrant will tell you is central to understanding policing, the American Dream, or anything for that matter. And for that matter we can take for granted that M4BL was under heavy surveillance.


READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.


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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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.


World Social Forum – Tunis

nunuInternational Human Rights Activist Nunu  Kidane Shares Updates from World Social Forum

 

At least 70,000 delegates representing more than 4,000 grassroots movements and organisations from 128 countries are participating in the five-day forum, which serves as an human rights centered space to counter  the Davos World Economic Forum, where top political leaders and business elites meet to discuss economic issues.

The event aims to provide a space for a mosaic of youth and labour unions, environmental and peace associations, as well as various communities and activists from across the globe to develop and put forward alternative ideas for a fairer society based on the principles of equality, reciprocity and solidarity.

Over 1,000 workshops will be held during the event, discussing a number of issues such as the fight against hunger, immigrant rights, labour rights in the global economy, gender equality, and climate change.

Nunu Kidane, past Director of Priority Africa Network, BIN Steering Committee and board member of Black Alliance for Just Immigration is attending the Forum. Follow her blog for updates  and perspectives throughout the week at: http://tuniswsf2015migration.blogspot.com/


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.