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BLACK IMMIGRATION NETWORK 2012 NATIONAL CONFERENCE REPORT

Overview Over 125 people attended the 3-day Black Immigration Network National Conference at the Auburn Avenue Library for Research on African American History and Culture in Atlanta, Georgia from April 22 24, 2012. As a network we convened to build a national alliance that can: 1. Promote an analysis that puts immigrant rights squarely within a racial justice framework; 2. Develop and implement strategies for bringing our diverse communities together to fight for justice; and 3. Advance the leadership of black immigrants within the immigrant rights movement. People came from across the country. Twenty states and the District of Colombia were represented at the conference including Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, California, Florida, Arizona, New Jersey and of course Georgia. Conference attendees originally came from over 25 nations of originally from Honduras to Nigeria, Haiti, Mauritania, South Africa, Nicaragua and Panama. The United States, Canada and England were also represented. Please reference the BIN National Conference 2012 Program1 for more detailed explanation of workshops that were offered. The five main conference goals were to: 1. Uplift racial justice as central to immigrant rights struggle. Provide space for increased political education about the issues impacting U.S. born Blacks and Black migrant population. 2. Increase capacity/effectiveness of members in network by having spaces for skills building, resource sharing, and additional education 3. Educate the Black Immigration Network Conference attendees about Southern landscape - including history, and current backlash against immigrants and communities of color. Support base building in the south and develop a response as a network to crisis in the South. 4. Consolidate the network by developing BIN culture, ratifying network structure and developing work plans for BIN Committees. Provide 1 http://www.scribd.com/doc/90373244/Black-Immigration-Network-3rd-National-ConferenceProgram BIN Conference Report Page, 1

opportunities for conference attendees to build relationship, network strategically and share about current work. 5. Create an action plan. Decide as a network to endorse and partake in a campaign, policy work and/or create a new one. CONFERENCE DELIBERATIONS Day 1: Mapping the Black Immigration Network Community During this session of the conference participants addressed the following topics: 1. Understanding where African Americans and black immigrants live geographically in our various cities 2. Sharing what we believe are the critical issues impacting our community 3. Conversation about the organizing landscape in our respective cities 4. Examining the relationship between African Americans and Black Immigrants and opportunities for improvement 5. What support and connections are needed in order to move work forward The conclusions that can be drawn from the questions answered above are that black immigrants and African Americans often live in similar neighborhoods depending on the respective city or state. It is important to continue to conduct geographic mapping and referencing census data to accurately assess community interaction. The theme of cross cultural support among African American and black immigrant communities seems to be a large issue that includes considerations about deep relationships not only among organizations, but more instructively needing to be actualized among communities at the grassroots. The need for sharing of African American history and immigrant histories is critical and spaces for dialogue would be a key way to address this, in addition to, talking points, and other tools that an organization such as BIN may be able to compile or create. Critical issues in the community that were raised by BIN participants include police brutality, racial profiling, HIV and AIDS; public education; lack of political engagement; deportation of black immigrants; wage theft; violence against women; foreclosures as well as substandard housing; health disparities and overall violence and mass incarceration. Close attention needs to be paid to leveraging the energy and deepening the generation of African-Americans tremendous histories and rich cultural capital, developing a strong sense of ethical values, as well as celebrating our diverse BIN Conference Report Page, 2

and complicated identities. The organizing landscape requires this kind of cultural sensitivity as well as radical embrace. In various cities across the country people are organizing around a number of issues including: against voter suppression laws; violence against black youth, especially Trayvon Martin; border brutality in Southern and Northern states; Dream Act; mass incarceration; reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act; ending secure communities program, 287(g) and other ICE Access programs; fighting against the criminalization of people of color at various levels; stopping racial profiling and copycat SB 1070 legislation and other immigration reform items. BIN Conference attendees identified that there are a few challenges remaining to organizing within our communities, principally, the need to be proactive in drafting legislation, addressing the political and cultural shift that has taken place in African American and black immigrant communities in the last 30 year; civic engagement at all levels; creating a centralized message about our issues and addressing the corruption that exists in the US American political system and the collusion with transnational corporations. In order to move a black agenda forward there will be a need for increased respect, trust and love within our community. The need to rewrite the public narrative about black communities is central to accomplishing our goals as well as developing grassroots leadership and empowering youth to be involved. Communication is central to all this and this includes face-to-face conversations as well as technology and social media. While we do our work we must keep this intention in mind in order to deepen the bonds in our network, building a shared analysis, and creating an environment where new community members can feel welcome. Day 2: Assessment of the Network via SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threat) 1. Strengths a. Pan-African identity and orientation b. Using racial justice and human rights political framework c. Political Power d. Resource sharing; sharing best practices e. Using intersection of oppression and commonality to find common ground and move to higher ground f. Working in a coalition g. Authentic relationship h. Members commitment and honesty BIN Conference Report Page, 3

i. Incorporated 2. Weaknesses a. Slow process to make decisions b. Miscommunication c. Lack of consensus and need to ascertain commitment of network members d. Follow up after meetings e. Not enough face time f. People not being empowered g. Vision not clearly spelled out h. Leadership still needs to be developed and address challenges i. Setting goals that are unattainable; need to account for stage of network development 3. Opportunities a. Leadership rotation b. Share best practices c. Work toward specific goals d. Incorporating healing and wellness practices e. Establish unity in the front-end f. Avoiding duplication f work g. Increasing BIN visibility h. Co-power; acknowledging different groups do different things and allow that to be the networks strength 4. Threat a. Network is extra work b. Those with particular viewpoint trying to sabotage c. Avoiding duplication of work Workshops: Option 1: Fighting Back on Ciriminalizaliton Session Recommendations 1. Develop a process to come to a shared analysis of race and immigration 2. Create a space for sharing resources among members (listserv) 3. Participate in national conversation debate on race and immigration, responding to the silencing of race conversations in national immigration campaigns 4. Share #s on black immigrants, such as numbers being deported, and information on consequences of deportation 5. Inclusive approach to immigration enforcement, including people with criminal records 6. Encourage a conversation on race and migration globally

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7. Identify leadership internally for BIN and externally 8. Educate BIN members and broader community: challenge narrative of who is a criminal, challenge current priorities and contradictions within BIN membership and broader black communities 9. New leadership in BIN to create new discussion on race 10. Clear legislative agenda. Suggestions: Secure Communities, End Racial Profiling Act, state and local racial profiling policies Option 2: Black Immigrants Perspectives on Migration and Globalization Session Recommendations: 1) Outreach and networking 2) Building bridges with African American and African Immigrants a. Development of stories and exchange b. Stories of survival migration (audio, video, written) c. Leadership needs to participate in US Africa, Caribbean trip and ongoing interaction 3) Commission a study a. Corruption of multinational corporations i. Recommendations and Calls to action 4) African American to share their stories of shared migration, crossfertilization 5) Recognize expertise we have African Immigration-globalization (divide and conquer) a. Parallels between SAPs 6) Allow for Teachable moments and take advantage of them 7) Broad principles to include all (imperialism economic) strengths the rhetoric long term development of broad network 8) Allow coalition of different forms of issues 9) Strengthening bridges BIN should apply for 501c3 status 10) To contribute to the debate can use international instruments to apply them to national debate 11) Social media 12) Analyzing economic alternatives to get our folks but of there current conditions 13) structures (multi-age) 14) Build and strengthen relationships among us 15) Promoting trainings 16) Get BIN into schools 17) Using direct media to educate our communities (educate African American; Latinos; Afro-Caribbean shared stores; educate on histories)

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18) Developing curriculum (curricula) to education communities on all the issues mentioned (shared stories; globalization; neo-liberalism; SAPs) 19) Shared Stories Your Struggle is my Struggle a. Pan-African Stories (conscious and unconscious) i. E.g. Marcus Garvey b. Isabel Wilkinson Author A Warmth of Other Sons 20) Role of Theater, Culture and the Arts Option 3: Attack on Our Rights: Stopping the Reversal of Civil Rights Gains Session Recommendations: 1) Get information and share information about ALEC 2) BIN should be debunking myths and lies 3) Share Frontiers of Racism video - http://bit.ly/frontiersofracism 4) Popular education methodology 5) Popularizing History of Alamo 6) Knowing about Tanton Network; share fact sheet created by Center for New Community 7) Share about economic factors and follow financial institutions 8) Work within multicultural coalitions 9) BIN should challenge systemic racism 10) We need to understand the value of the vote beyond 2012 election and share our analysis 11) Media outreach 12) Creation of toolkits shared among network members 13) Continue to add to list of resources available on the BIN website with data, fact sheets, etc (http://blackimmigration.net/resources/) 14) Share research with BIN network 15) BIN should have a list of events that members of the network are doing 16) Legal, civil and labor rights community should be engaged in BIN work 17) Working in faith communities, labor and other sectors to dispel myths with language that is relevant in those spaces 18) *** Outcome during large group session: BIN Non-partisan statement regarding the attacks on voting rights and immigration during this presidential election cycle Black Immigration Networks Mission Statement Current mission statement as stipulated in BIN Document drafted by original BIN Steering Committee: The Black Immigration Network (BIN) works to promote just migration policies and practices grounded in racial and gender equity domestically and BIN Conference Report Page, 6

internationally, serves to strengthen the relationship and build solidarity between all people of African descent regardless of place of birth, and intentionally seeks to end the negative impact of economic globalization that is the root cause of global migration. As the network develops its body of work it will become clearer if additional elements will need to be made explicit in the mission statement. However, another option as suggested by conference participants is to include supporting written statements such as a context piece or pre-amble. If such a document were to be prepared some points to be elaborated upon could be: 1. race and identity 2. clarification of terminology such as refugee, black immigrant, black, African American. 3. The nature of a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multicultural space 4. BIN in connection to broader social, racial and economic justice movements 5. Educating our communities is a main area of work for BIN Discussion of BINs Core principles - Understanding how our work affects everyone (having dialogue prior to taking action to know the affect of the action) - Authenticate Relationship Building (create space and time to ensure relationships, to know each other as people) - Use framework of racial justice and human rights - Create safe space to explore diversity and richness of our communities (respect and value every individual with sincerity and honesty) - Accountability: Full Circle! (work, practice of theory) - Vision: long term, evaluations current analysis - Radical Inclusivity: think beyond consensus and majority rules - Non Individualistic Accountability - Building solid relationships - Sincerity - Deliberate about anti oppression work - Shared leadership through rotation of responsibilities across balanced representation of age, gender, immigration status, sexual identity, ability and more. - We use the intersections of our oppressions to find common ground and move to higher ground. We are rooted, not bound, in our heritages. We recognize our #1 work is human work that preserves, protects and restores each persons humanity and dignity. BIN Conference Report Page, 7

Be the change you wish to see in the world. Ghandi Our unity is our strength, respect and embrace diversity. An injury to one, is an injury to all. Build anti oppression organization, culture - respect, give voice to people in the shadows, trust-building. Transparency and accountability

BIN Communications External Communications 1. Partner with Praxis Project, Center for Media Justice, smartMeme and other Justice communications Allies to do messaging, and media production work a. Work with BIN members for creation, input, etc. i. Identify audiences, messages, and methods for sharing our demands ii. Story telling (documenting, various methods, video, audio, photography, etc.) iii. Debunking myths iv. Share talking points based on our values, mission that reframe issue v. Public Service Announcements 2. Create a communications plan with elements from session brainstorm 3. Social media channels (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc.) a. Facebook; encourage reposting of information (eg. Hearing about Somali dispute in Seattle and showing solidarity in other places; being aware of peoples struggles) b. Use current events, spoofs on songs, (eg *ish people say); popular ways 4. Seek funding for implementation of a communications plan a. Training related to communications for BIN members 5. StoryCorps 6. Arts and culture 7. Symbols and branding is key, visceral and resonates in strong ways a. BIN logo is great, continue to use and create materials (eg paraphernalia) 8. using video that Barni shot during conference and can upload 9. targeting black media outlets 10. Direct communications to promote BIN members and their work in different places 11. context of things in a visual communication (eg. Kony 2012 campaign) 12. comic books and other popular education tools BIN Conference Report Page, 8

13. seeking stories and encourage Spanish media to cover it a. (eg. Get Spanish media to cover Trayvon rally) 14. Online petitions 15. Narrative re-writing the public narrative a. Creating our own language Internal Communications 1. Using listserv for member communication (blackimmigrationnetwork@googlegroups.com) 2. learning about victories and struggles of our network 3. BIN Newsletter a. Share Best practices, network news, victories, etc. Membership and Governance Recommendations Types of Membership 1. Organizational 2. Individual 3. Youth/Young Adult 4. Affiliate Members Criteria for Members 1. People of African Descent 2. People who agree with the vision and mission 3. Organization or Programs Majority African Descent 4. See immigration as a racial justice issue 5. African Descent people who feel that this is an important issue and are directly impacted including Afro-Asians and Afro-Europeans Steering Committee Members and Structure 1. Individual and Organizational members only 2. Each committee has a standing seat on the steering committee and the steering committee will choose representative 3. BIN member driven Steering Committee and not Institutional membership 4. Minimum 11 and Maximum 15 5. If 11 members- 8 or 9 elected by members and 2 current SC members remain for institutional continuity 6. Diverse representation by US Born and Immigrant 7. Regional Representation 8. Members commitment and obligations to each other and BIN vise versa 9. *** Outstanding Question: How does staff interact with steering committee? Should they serve?

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Organizing and Capacity Building Recommendations 1. Folks directly affected by criminal justice and detention systems 2. BIN as a resource for information on black immigrants and share with members 3. Opportunities to educate African Americans re black immigrants and vice versa 4. Build black diaspora conversations for ourselves 5. Highlight invisible and ignored voices 6. Resources on how to build relationships among communities Fundraising and Resourcing BIN Recommendations 3 core facets/ principles: - Holistic: money and human - Comprehensive - Ongoing Recommendations 1. Deliberate relationships- asset based- mutual, leverage, sustainability 2. Individual membership 3. Grassroots fundraising 4. Organizational giving 5. Intentional and strategic mapping and follow-up 6. Clear communication of needs 7. Cultivate individual donors 8. Acknowledge- across organizational assets thru time, talent and treasure (in-kind) 9. Explore earned revenue- good and services 10. Technical Assistance including information and analysis 11. Strategies to replace funders BIN Policy Recommendations Proposed areas of work 1. 287(g) and SCOMM a. Map current landscape and mobilize b. Develop position paper for advocacy tool 2. End Racial Profiling (Federal Bill) a. BIN letter to congress 3. * Voter ID (State) a. Create toolkit and educate by state BIN Conference Report Page, 10

Develop repeal strategy/pushback Mobilize people to vote despite obstacles Document disenfranchisement (rapid response team) Reach out and media (PSAs), mainstream media, NAACP, faith outreach f. Resources list-serve 4. Arizonas SB 1070, Georgias HB 87, Alabamas HB 56, South Carolina, etc. - immigrant racial profiling is spreading to other states 5. Haiti-BAJI proposal 6. USHRN proposal How to Determine BIN Policy 1. Develop criteria to determine if federal/state legislation advances BIN Principles and Mission 2. Identify and prioritize top legislation 3. Develop rapid response team to monitor and ID new legislative bills and apply BIN criteria 4. BIN needs to affirm clear mission statement 5. Taskforce should be geographically diverse Outcomes of BIN National Conference The agenda for the conferences covered a wide range of issues including those relevant to African Americans and immigrants of African descent. Some of the primary outcomes of the gathering were: 1. There was consensus on the broad goals for BIN, i.e., a) promote an analysis that puts immigrant rights squarely within a racial justice framework; b) develop and implement strategies for bringing diverse communities together to fight for justice; 3) advance the leadership of black immigrants within the immigrant rights movement. 2. A set of issues to explore for national focus by BIN was agreed upon, including advocacy around racial profiling, Haitian immigration issues, detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, the prison industrial complex/immigration detention regime, and comprehensive immigration reform, among others. 3. BIN will organize a training and technical assistance project on race, immigration and globalization for BIN members and allies. 4. BIN should become a resource for the sharing of original and secondary research on people of African descent; 5. BIN will organize dialogues and discussions on race and identity, given the diversity of experience and opinions on these issues within the African Diaspora.

b. c. d. e.

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6. It was agreed that the current BIN Steering Committee would continue for a year. It was given a mandate to add additional members, up to 15. In selecting the new members, there should be some attention to a range of balance issues, including age, gender, and geography. The new Steering Committee will meet in a planning retreat. 7. The gathering ratified the membership structure proposed by the Steering Committee except that it was decided to open up membership on the Steering Committee to individual members. Closing Summary The 2012 Black Immigration Network Conference was a tremendous success. And although we were unable to achieve our goal of selecting a campaign to endorse or creating one of our own, we were able to begin the process of incorporating a new steering committee that will follow up on the task. The new steering committee will make rigorous use of online and traditional communications methods such as phone calls to be in conversation with network members and will hold a retreat on October 6 8, 2012 to finalize plans for the network. Black Immigration Network promises to be a critical player in a variety of movement sectors providing rigorous racial justice perspective to US social movements as well as mobilizing black grassroots for immigrant rights, economic justice and racial equity,

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