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On April 17 –20, 2009, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the Which Way Forward Program of the Center for New Community and the Third World Coalition of the American Friends Services Committee convened the inaugural meeting of Black Immigration Network (BIN). Fifty participants from 30 cities and 17 states born in 16 different countries were present at the gathering in Baltimore, Maryland. BIN is a national network of people and organizations serving black immigrant and African American communities focused on supporting fair and just immigration, as well as economic and social policies that benefit these communities and all communities of color and create a more just and equitable society. BIN was convened a second time at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, Mich. in June 2010. A gathering of 39 people affirmed BIN ‘s mission and purpose and provided specific input into BIN’s potential work. Those who gathered at the BIN meetings agreed: 1) BIN should continue as a national network; a Continuations Committee (CC) should develop proposals for an organizational structure, membership criteria and recruitment, organizational principles, internal and external communications strategies and mechanisms, and areas of work; 2) BIN should develop a framework statement, a set of principles and specific recommendations for humane immigration reform; 3) BIN should have as a high priority to develop working relationships with faith-based groups and institutions serving African American and black immigrant communities, including, churches, mosques, seminaries and theological institutions. 4) BIN should have a focus on relationship building and alliance building between and among African American communities and communities of African, Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean immigrants. 5) BIN should consider work on Temporary Protected Status for Haitian undocumented immigrants, permanent status for Liberians, and the issue of FBI surveillance and harassment of Somali communities. 6) BIN should facilitate ongoing trainings and meetings on topics of interest to BIN members; 7) BIN should facilitate ongoing discussions on race and identity begun at the conference. At the end of the first BIN gathering, the conference participants created an ad hoc body, the Continuations Committee (CC), and charged it with the task of developing proposals on the following topics: BIN principles, organizational structure, decision making, membership structure, resources and capacities, and advancing the work and campaigns raised at the conference. To accomplish this work, there were task forces formed to present recommendations. The task forces were: 1) The Structure Task Force to draft a proposal for BIN’s structure, decisions making, and membership requirements; 2) The Logistics and Capacity Task Force to make recommendation on methods of BIN outreach as well as internal and external communications; and 3) the Policy Task Force to draft a BIN statement on immigration reform This document specifically contains a CC proposal for BIN’s purpose, structure, decision-making process, membership requirements and potential programs and activities.
Why a Black Immigration Network? The mission of the Black Immigration Network (BIN) is to contribute to the social and economic well-being of U.S.-born Blacks and Black immigrants (immigrants throughout this document means immigrants and refugees) by organizing in these communities, developing the leadership of Black people, and advocating for policies that benefit Black communities. BIN is a national network of organizations and individuals in the United States that works at the intersection of race, immigration and globalization. BIN also seeks to build alliances with other organizations and networks in immigrant communities and communities of color for mutual benefit. Our shared African ancestry and similar experiences with racism and exploitation in the U.S. and globally gives us a common frame of reference for our struggles to achieve justice. The diversity amongst Africans of the Diaspora can generate divisions when misconceptions and misunderstandings about one another and competition for education, employment and scarce resources prevails. BIN is a vehicle for mutual education, appreciation and collaboration. Our network furnishes an important space for gathering the African Diaspora for joint strategizing, information sharing and work for the benefit of all of our communities. We believe that the struggle for immigrant rights is one of the cutting edge issues in the fight for racial justice and democracy in the United States today. Racism and economic globalization has created displacement and poverty in all of our communities and countries. Black immigrants, other immigrants of color and people of color in general are being exploited and scapegoated for many of the economic problems the U.S. has experienced. Increasingly, African Americans are being locked out of the formal economy and immigrants of color are being locked into an economic arrangement in which they are super-exploited as a way to undercut the wages, rights and working conditions of the U.S. workforce as a whole, creating greater profits for U.S. corporations. We believe that bringing a range of groups and individuals together to address the issues of race, immigration, globalization and related issues can magnify the impact of all of our groups in changing immigration policy and promoting racial justice. We also believe that BIN can be instrumental in bringing the issues, perspectives and leadership of various Black immigrant communities and African Americans born in the United States to the broader immigrant rights, racial justice and economic justice movements. BIN will help to build the capacity of its members to meet the global challenges that face all of us and to bring together a durable social movement that transcends the lines of race, gender, religion, sexual identity and nationality. BIN Goals The Black Immigration Network (BIN) works to promote just migration policies and practices grounded in racial and gender equity domestically and 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. To this end, BIN engages in activities that provide opportunities to:
1. Address critical issues around the relations between African Americans born in the U.S. and immigrants
of African descent by promoting dialogue, relationship building, alliance building and solidarity between and among black communities;
2. Share strategies, opinions and information to address race, immigration and globalization issues and other
key social and political issues facing African descendant communities and to intentionally seek to end the negative impact of economic globalization that is the root cause of global migration;
3. Share resources and engage in collaborative efforts to foster racial and economic justice for people of
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African descent and people of color in general. BIN is a Black-led network which: 1. Reflects the communities it serves by having a leadership body made up of people of African descent 2. Plays an active role in fostering dialogue on policy formation and implementation and ensuring perspectives of African-American and Black immigrants are included. 3. Fosters education and alliance building between communities of African descent. 4. Assists communities in examining critical issues surrounding relations between U.S. born Blacks and Black immigrants & refugees. 4. Creates, promotes, and initiates strategies to address immigration and refugee issues facing communities of African descent. 5. Undertakes documentation and issue periodic reports that focus on the unique experiences of migrant communities of African descent and/or receiving African American communities. 6. Fosters alliance building between communities of African descent and progressive organizations committed to racial equity, gender justice, economic justice and immigrant rights. BIN Initiatives and Activities BIN members will be organized into committees and task forces to accomplish its work. These bodies would submit quarterly reports to the Steering Committee for dissemination to the entire BIN membership. Some of the areas of potential work are: Strategizing and Information Sharing. BIN will be a vehicle for briefings, strategizing and information sharing on critical issues (e.g., briefings on migration patterns of Black immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America or strategizing about building alliances between African Americans born in the U.S. and black immigrant communities). Joint Projects and Campaigns. BIN members will collaborate on joint projects (e.g., speaking tours, forums, workshops or advocacy campaigns, like the recent campaigns against the deportation of Haitians and Liberians). It would not be necessary for all BIN members to participate in any given project. Members may choose which project they want to be a part of. Technical Assistance and Training. BIN members will share their expertise through technical assistance and training for other BIN members (e.g., trainings on alliance building or media outreach). Policy Position Papers. BIN committees will prepare policy position papers and submit them to BIN members for endorsement. Communications. BIN will build a website and communications network to make its positions, projects, campaigns and resources readily available to its members, potential members and the general public. BIN will also develop the capacity to get its messages out through the mainstream, ethnic and alternative media in the U.S. as well as the international media.
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Membership Development and Outreach. BIN members will actively work to expand BIN’s membership and its outreach to partner organizations and individuals.
BIN Governance Structure
The work of BIN will be overseen by a diverse steering committee (SC) comprised of eleven volunteers. Diversity in US regions, gender, religion, country of origin, sexual identity and visa status will be sought. The majority of the SC (six members) will be elected by the membership, including the two co-chairs. Five members will be appointed by the SC in order to insure the desired diversity. Officers will be elected by the SC. An interim Steering Committee (of at least 6 members) will be created by the BIN membership body. They will create the guidelines to transition to the permanent process and the rules governing the organization. The duties of the SC are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. To coordinate BIN’s work; To speak on behalf of BIN; To raise funds for BIN initiatives; To manage BIN’s finances; To supervise BIN staff (if any).
The SC will meet either in person or by telephone conference call at least quarterly, according to its own schedule. A majority of the SC members constitutes a quorum. Decisions will be made by consensus, if possible. If consensus is not possible, then a vote of the majority of those present and voting will determine a decision. The SC will report to the membership at least semiannually on its deliberations and the work of the network. Standing and Ad Hoc committees and work groups will conduct the organization's work. The entire BIN membership will meet at least biennially. BIN organizational members will vote on the organization’s purpose, structure, steering committee members, position papers, dues structure, and major initiatives.
BIN Membership Structure
BIN is a membership organization open to individuals as well as organizations and programs that serve, organize in, advocate for and/or do research on progressive policies for Black communities. At least 50% of the governing body or the senior staff members of an organization or program must be of African descent (the BIN steering committee is responsible for determining if an organization meets these qualifications). All BIN members must adhere to the BIN mission, purpose, and values. The BIN steering committee will be comprised of representatives of organization or programs to insure that the members represent a constituency. However, if an elected steering committee leaves the organization that he/she represents before the end of his/her term, he/she will fill out the remainder of the term.
BIN is an organization that promotes, supports and pursues a progressive Black voice on immigration issues. It will offer two levels of membership: 1) Organizational Membership: 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
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United States and that are run by members of these communities;
2) Individual Membership: Individuals that serve, organize in, advocate for, and/or provide research for
African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino and African American communities in the United States.
BIN members must agree to:
1. Work to promote the mission, principles and values of BIN; 2. Attend BIN membership meetings and conferences regularly; 3. Participate in BIN campaigns, policy development, work groups and committees; 4. Pay annual dues.
Organizational members receive the following benefits:
1. Space for at least 2 representatives at membership meetings and conferences; 2. 20% discounts on publications, events, trainings, and other activities; 3. Regular updates and information; 4. First priority to attend BIN trainings, conferences, forums, workshops and other activities; 5. 6. Access to members-only information on the website (to be developed); Right to join BIN work groups and committees; 7. Right to propose and influence BIN policymaking through participation in work groups, committees and membership meetings; 8. Eligibility for nomination to serve on the BIN Steering Committee. 9. Right to vote for members of the BIN Steering Committee.
Individual members receive the following benefits:
1. 20% discounts on BIN publications, events, trainings and other activities; 2. Second priority (after organizational members) to attend BIN trainings, conferences, forums, workshops and other activities; 3. Regular updates and information; 4. Access to members-only information on the website (to be developed); 5. Right to join BIN work groups or committees; 6. Right to propose and influence BIN policymaking through participation in work groups, committees and membership meetings.
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Budget Under $50,000 $50,000 - $99,999 $100,000 - $199,999 $200,000 - $299,999 $300,000 - $399,999 $400,000 - $499,999 $500,000 and over Minimum Annual Dues $50 $75 $100 $125 $150 $200 $250 $35 $20 $10
Regular Students/Low Income Unemployed
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