Thursday, April 23, 2009

Black Immigration Network Lifts Voice for Human Rights

"Our refugee brothers and sisters are experiencing the same fear and harassment from law enforcement that we live with each day in the black community. The black community, immigrant and non-immigrant are beginning to act together...with an eye on migration policy that lifts up both the nation and the black community.”
Rev. Cheryl Green, African Methodist Episcopalian (AME) Church

A recent gathering reiterated the broad concern and commitment to human rights for immigrant and refugees in the United States. The historic meeting was attended by more than 50 representatives and advocates from the nation’s African-American communities, people of African descent who live in the United States, and allies from other communities of color, immigrant and refugees, and U.S. born Latinos and Arab-Americans.

The gathering concluded with the formation of the Black Immigration Network (BIN) and a celebratory group closing exercise from Kenya.

Organizations serving as primary conveners included the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI); Which Way Forward: African-Americans, Immigration and Race; and, the American Friends Service Committee’s Third World Coalition and Project Voice. “This was an important step toward a united dialogue. The issues of economic justice, human rights, and worker rights are concerns that stretch across every community. AFSC is ready to support this critical exchange of ideas and just solutions,” observed Esther Nieves, director of AFSC’s Project Voice initiative and an invited gathering participant.

BIN’s national agenda focuses on racial equity issues and immigration policy concerns that impact African Americans and immigrants of African descent. In the coming weeks, BIN will endeavor to met with policy leaders, bring attention to the urgent need for Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for Haitian, Liberian, Somali and Sudanese communities, and engage in efforts that bridge worker justice issues and future immigration policy.

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