Immigrant solidarity with the Black Liberation Movement

Wednesday, July 8, 2020 - 5:23pm

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Graphic by Hibah Chugtai

From one immigrant to another, 

We both know the fight for migrant rights has been a long battle against divisive laws and historical injustices over-policing our immigrant lives. Our immigrant communities have faced injustice at the hands of those in power who value political rhetoric over the well-being of human lives. America is a nation built on immigrants, yet, we immigrants are historically disregarded as second-class citizens whose statuses are constantly threatened and whose identities are commonly exploited in various social institutions. 

Racial profiling, police abuse and discrimination are not commonalities exclusive to the immigrant community — they are fiercly prominent in the Black community as well. The Black Liberation Movement and the fight for immigrant rights continuously run parallel and are currently both receiving great attention. From Emmett Till to George Floyd, we have seen the monstrous violence imposed on our Black brothers and sisters. This centuries-long racial inequity perpetuates all levels of social institutions including education, the work-force, the criminal justice system, healthcare, housing and even food security. Current statistics show that Black American mothers are dying at 12 times the rate of white mothers during childbirth in NYC. This inequity is reflected in our law enforcement system where the extrajudicial killings of Black people at the hands of law enforcement has turned to American tradition. Police abuse extends to the immigration community through racial profiling. Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 was passed in 2010 asserting an individual can be detained for “reasonable suspicion” if they are not legally residing in the United States— Meaning a police officer can detain you based on how “American” you do or do not look and sound. 

To my immigrant brothers and sisters, we cannot abolish Immigation Customs and Enforcement, nor the immigration detention centers without dismantling the racism rooted in U.S. policies and anti-Blackness notions in our society. Our merited freedom can only be in alignment with communities of color where we all stand united. We must recognize and expand our knowledge on anti-Blackness to stand in solidarity with the Black American and Black-immigrant communities. This is not only a fight for equality but a fight to stop the continued oppression of Black people in our country. 

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Graphic by Hibah Chugtai

Things we can do to stand in solidarity with Black Liberation movement: 

  • Make calls to local and state officals for the creation of sustainable, anti-racist solutions for police brutality.

  • Join a local pro-Black-activist organization to actively work toward restorative justice.  

  • If you are a documented immigrant, attending Black Liberation protests and events are an active avenue through which one can express solidarity and protect their Black brothers and sisters.

  • Donate money to support the families affected by police brutality and racial injustices, instead of donating to large, strange organizations — go to the immediate cause. 

  • Shop at Black or Black-immigrant owned businesses instead of large establishments.  

  • Email your local congressional leaders to defund the police and allocate funds to communities of color. 

  • Dismantle racism in our own communities by actively calling out anti-Black statements or notions in our households and larger circles. 

  • Listen. Center Black voices. Center Black women’s voices. Most importantly, center Black trans women’s voices.

We, immigrants, need to stand together for the fight to live in a better world where no human is dehumanized nor threatened for the color of their skin. We must not only empathize but fight for a country where Black lives are not just humanized — they must be honored and they must be given justice. 

Shay Szabo can be reached at szabos@umich.edu.