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A Unified Voice for Racial Justice And Immigrant Rights
Auburn Avenue Library for Research on African American Culture & History Atlanta, Georgia
Sunday, April 22nd - Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Welcome Letter ………………………………………………………………… 3
Special Thanks ………………………………………………………………… 5
Statement on Racial Justice Landscape ………………………………… 6
Conference Agenda ……………………………….………………………… 7
Guide to Atlanta ……………………………………..……………………… 13
Dear Sisters and Brothers: Welcome to the Third National Gathering of the Black Immigration Network (BIN) in Atlanta, GA! We are pleased that you chose to spend your time helping to plan for and organize the BIN as part of a social justice movement anchored in racial equity, immigrant rights and economic justice. This conference comes at a time of unprecedented polarization of wealth and poverty and a surge in racial and religious bigotry in the U.S. and throughout the world, with record numbers of people streaming across borders in search of safety and employment. We see BIN as a critical player in fighting back against the rising tide of racism, xenophobia and economic exploitation that is impacting all of our communities. We are coming together to build BIN as 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. More concretely, BIN has been envisioned and discussed as a vehicle for its members to share strategies and resources, organize joint public policy campaigns, and provide training and technical assistance. We are mindful that we are meeting in the Cradle of the Old Confederacy. The history of the struggle of people of African descent for freedom, justice and equality in the South and throughout the nation will inform our deliberations. We also expect that discussions about the root causes of immigration and migration—powerful economic, political and social forces that we must confront on a global scale—will be a critical part of the conference. Since the first BIN conference in Baltimore in 2009, we have been working to develop a proposed structure and decision-making process as well as some ideas about BIN’s work. At this conference, we hope you will work with us to further develop these proposals and to leave Atlanta will a clear path forward. The Black Immigration Network is an idea whose time has come! Together, we can make a difference in our communities, this nation and throughout the world. Thank you for joining us. Sincerely, BIN Steering Committee Members James Johnson, Alethia Jones, Chad Jones, Darryl Jordan, Nunu Kidane, Gerald Lenoir, Francesca Menes, Paul-Andre Mondesir, Oni Richards, David Thurston, Opal Tometi and Elandria Williams. 3
Thanks and Acknowledgements
Major Donors Ford Foundation Contributors Akonadi Foundation Auburn Avenue Library for Research on African American Culture and History Center for New Community Common Counsel Foundation General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church Office New Ministry, California Pacific Conference, United Methodist Church USA for Africa Cascade United Methodist Church Supporters Casa de Maryland Tessa Rouverol Callejo We are humbled by the generosity of Auburn Avenue Library for Research on African American Culture and History for partnering with the Black Immigration Network to host this conference. Learn more about the library by visiting: http://www.afpls.org/aarl Upcoming Photographic Exhibit: Resettled: Clarkston, Georgia Monday, May 21, 2012 through Sunday, July 29, 2012 This exhibition is part of a larger body of work from a long-term documentary project of the same name by renowned photographer Bryan Meltz. Meltz has been documenting the life of Arbai Barre Abdi and her family, Somali Bantus, since their resettlement in Clarkston, GA, from a Kenyan refugee camp in 2004. Curated by Julie Delliquanti, with an illustrated time-line and info-graphic designed by Atlanta-based illustrator Blue Delliquanti, the goals of the exhibit are to illuminate the complicated story of refugee resettlement, particularly of people of African descent, through photographs, illustrations, text, and community-generated artwork; provide an opportunity to catalyze conversation around the issues, and empower, and make visible, this disenfranchised and often invisible group. Special thanks to the efforts of all the conference planners: Tanisha Bowens, Ajamu Dillahunt, James Johnson, Alethia Jones, Darryl Jordan, Nunu Kidane, Glory Kilanko, Gerald Lenoir, Francesca Menes, Taliba Obuya, Sian ÓFaoláin, Tia Oso, Rev. Kelvin Sauls, Everette Thompson, David Thurston, Opal Tometi, Kwame Wilburg, Elandria Williams, Leah Wise and Emery Wright. Thanks to Project South for welcoming us to Atlanta, Georgia and for being the Host Organization for the 3rd National Black Immigration Network Conference. 4
Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century: Building Solidarity Across Communities
The Black Immigration National Conference is convening at a difficult period for black immigrants, African Americans and other people of color. Despite the rhetoric that the election of Barack Obama has ushered in a new “post-racial era”, individual, institutional and structural racism is still alive and well in the U.S. and across the world. All of our communities are besieged by the effects of a society-wide economic crisis; the demonization and criminalization of people of color, including immigrants; and a surge in racist ideology and white supremacist groups as well as racist and xenophobic federal, state and local laws and policies. The case of Trayvon Martin is only the latest example of a virulent trend in U.S. society. On the issue of immigration, the rightwing framework still holds considerable sway in the U.S., especially, but not only, among white people. The frame posits that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants are criminals, pose a threat to national security, suck jobs and resources from native born Americans, and threaten the national identity of white citizens. Increasing militarization of the border, aggressive detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, limited labor rights and restrictions on public benefits for immigrants are key demands of anti-immigrant groups. Several national anti-immigrant groups, like the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR), are well funded and are able to get their message out to a broad national audience. In addition, the explicitly white supremacist and potentially violent anti-immigrant hate groups are growing in numbers and membership. While national polls show that a majority of U.S. citizens favor some type of legalization program, a majority also supports raids, detentions, deportations and other anti-immigrant measures. This atmosphere makes it extremely difficult to have a rational discussion on immigration, let alone to pass a bill in Congress that will speak to the legitimate needs and aspirations of immigrants. While black, brown and Asian immigrants are being harassed, detained and deported, African American and Latino citizens are also being marginalized, demonized and criminalized. U.S. jails and prisons are filled to overcapacity with black and brown youth as seen by the established school-to-prison pipeline. Increasingly, African Americans are being locked up and locked out of the formal economy and immigrants of color are being locked into a superexploitative labor market, which many have coined as modern-day slavery. A new wave of Jim Crow/Juan Crow laws and policies are ushering in a new era of human rights violations in the U.S. At this moment, the South is at the center 5
of a key historical moment in this country. Many Southern states have passed or are considering legislation that will strip the dignity of personhood from millions of immigrant workers who have low-wage jobs in our farms, factories, nursing homes, hotels and other industries this country. At the same time, several Southern states and states outside the South have passed voter identification laws in an effort to suppress the vote of African Americans and Latino citizens. In many states and localities, racial profiling has been legitimized, public education has been gutted, and affirmative action has been outlawed. Historically and currently, the South is the bastion of the extreme right that controls the political agenda of the country, making the region a critical place for social justice organizing. On the other side, there is a rich legacy of African American resistance to racism and exploitation in the South that expanded U.S. democracy to disenfranchised populations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the twenty-first century, race, racism and racialization continue to permeate the political and social climate. The many faces of “race” create a complex and dangerous landscape for organizing, movement building and creating deep alliances for justice. The Black Immigration Network is born out of an understanding that our shared African ancestry and similar experiences with racism and exploitation in the U.S. and globally provide a common frame of reference for joint efforts in the fight for economic, social and racial justice. We stand against the scapegoating of immigrants and anyone appearing to be foreign. We stand against pitting of African Americans against immigrant workers driven by underpaying one group of workers. We stand for a just and inclusive economy of fair and equal wages for all workers. We seek and support leaders and policies that will eliminate the disproportionate negative effects of globalization, racism and economic exploitation on everyone, especially black communities. But serious tensions between African Americans and immigrants (including black immigrants) exist and are fueled by fear, economic competition and blame fostered by a toxic public debate that pits the economic hardship of many African Americans against the economic exploitation of many immigrants. The Black Immigration Network’s challenge is to turn the common ancestry and the common struggles of African Americans and black immigrants into a common and concerted advocacy and action agenda that benefits all of our communities. We are further challenged to combine our efforts with those of other communities struggling for justice. The future health and well being of all of our communities depend upon what we and other like-minded people do today. It is up to us to build understanding and solidarity among communities and to contribute to forging a new human rights movement in the U.S. and the world. This is the challenge of the 21st Century. 6
BLACK IMMIGRATION NETWORK
SUNDAY APRIL 22, 2012
[Focus: Who We Are/ Collective Mapping] Registration Begins 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Location: 3rd Floor Lunch will be offered as conference attendees arrive. Welcoming Remarks & Lunch: The Past, Present and Future of the Black Immigration Network 1:00 – 2:00 pm Location: 3rd Floor Gerald Lenoir, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Opal Tometi, Black Alliance for Just Immigration & Emery Wright, Project South Conference introduction and overview by conveners. During this time we will share about the hopes and expectations of the 3rd National Black Immigration Network conference. We will learn about the objectives of the conference and share information pertaining to the logistics and layout of our days together. Group Orientation & Getting to know Our BIN Community Shared Migration, Mapping Our Work Together 2:00 – 4:00 pm Location: 3rd Floor Elandria Williams, Highlander Research and Education Center & Leah Wise, BIN Conference Planning Committee This session will serve as a grounding for both building relationships and mapping of the state of black communities and immigration. Five key questions will shape this session and lay the framework for the conference moving forward. Where do we come from/who are our people? What are the critical issues in our communities? What is the relationship between African Americans and Black immigrants and refugees and what will it take to improve those relationships? What is the organizing and policy landscape? What connections or support are needed to move the work forward? Break 4:00 – 4:15 pm Reception Dinner Sponsored Cascade United Methodist Church and Office of New Ministries, California Pacific Conference, United Methodist Church 4:30 – 5:30 pm Location: 3rd Floor Remarks by Imam Soulieman Konate and Reverend Kelvin Sauls
Public Plenary - The South: A Critical Arena for Winning Just Immigration and Racial Justice 6:00 – 7:30 pm Location: 4th Floor Auditorium Moderator: Rep. Henery "Hank" Sanders 23rd district Alabama State Senator. Panelists: Brenda Hyde, Southern Echo Jackson, Francesca Menes, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Elandria Williams, Highlander Research and Education Center & Leah Wise, BIN Conference Planning Committee This plenary will address how immigration and immigration policy has impacted the organizing landscape and black people [immigrants and non-immigrants] in the nation and particularly the South. It will discuss immigration abuses in the context of the mounting attacks against people of color in other spheres, such as education, criminalization, voter suppression, workplaces, environment, reproductive freedom, and housing among others--and highlight how drawing on the assets of the South can offer can provide insights and guidance can point to a pathway to just immigration regionally and nationally.
MONDAY APRIL 23, 2012
[Focus: Skill-Share and Strategy Development] Breakfast at Auburn Library 8:30 – 9:30 am Location: 3rd Floor
Moving the Conversation Forward: Who is BIN and what is our Strategic Framework 9:30 –11:30 am Location: 3rd Floor Session facilitated by Elandria Williams, Highlander Research and Education Center & Leah Wise, BIN Conference Planning Committee This session will build upon the lessons and learning from day 1 and lay the groundwork for our work ahead toward creating the glue that will bind us as a network. This session will inform the upcoming workshops and strategy sessions to help determine BIN’s strategic role and presence for the future. Break 11:30 – 11:45 am STRATEGY-WORKSHOPS [Sessions Theme: Sharing Analysis and Building Understanding] 12:00 – 1:30 pm Option 1: Fighting Back on Criminalization Location: 3rd Floor Although people of color have been criminalized throughout US history, the systems of criminal justice, immigration enforcement, and national security are 8
increasingly fusing together, resulting in institutionalized criminalization of communities of color. This session will delve into the complexities of these intersections especially as they impact African American, black immigrant, and black Muslim communities; share current local and national campaigns and relevant work that can address these intersections; and discuss the role that black communities and leaders play in the various silos, as well as strategic opportunities for action for BIN. Option 2: Black Immigrant Perspectives on Migration & Globalization Location: 4th Floor Tandia Bakary, African Services Committee, Glory Kilanko, Women Watch Afrika, Francesca Menes, Florida Immigrant Coalition (invited) Colonization and neo-colonization as espoused through globalization has disastrous effects on black populations throughout the world. As a result people of African descent have been forced to migrate for centuries and have been displaced from work, culture and family. This session will explore the myriad reasons that people migrate and the specific challenges that immigrants of African descent face in the United States; including the unique experiences of women. We will also discuss the challenges and opportunities for organizing in these communities. Option 3: Attack on Our Rights: Stopping the Reversal of Civil Rights Gains Location: 1st Floor Gallery Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, The Ordinary People Society, Reverend Timothy MacDonald, Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta, Gina Perez, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Benard Simelton, Alabama NAACP (invited) & Charlotte Williams, Center for New Community Throughout the U.S. we are seeing unprecedented attacks on people of color through various legislative means. From attacks on voting rights, immigrant rights and organized labor these are causing unprecedented rollback of gains made by civil and human rights movements. This session will delve more in depth at who is behind these attacks, as well as what they are looking like particularly in the South. If knowledge is power, then you want to be in this session to know who’s behind the scenes and how people are organizing to stop them. Lunch 1:30 – 2:30pm Location: 3rd Floor
Interactive Activity – The Shape of Leadership 2:30 – 3:00pm Location: 3rd Floor Facilitated by The Kindred Collective, a network of grassroots energy, body and earth based healers and medical practitioners seeking to create mechanisms for wellness and safety that respond, intervene and transform conditions of generational trauma and violence in our communities and movements. 9
Building the Black Immigration Network 3:00 – 4:30pm Location: 3rd Floor Gerald Lenoir, Black Alliance for Just Immigration & Alethia Jones, Center for Policy Research, Albany, NY Discussion of BIN's Structure and Decision-making Process Nominations for the BIN Steering Committee Proposals for BIN Campaigns and Endorsements STRATEGY-WORKSHOPS [Sessions Theme: Skill-Sharing and Capacity Building] 4:30 – 6:00pm Option 1: Communication for Our Movement – Challenging the Status Quo Location: 4th Floor Trina Jackson, Network for Immigrant and African American Solidarity & Opal Tometi, Black Alliance for Just Immigration We use a narrative power analysis and some storytelling tools to consider a social change strategy for racial justice and immigrant rights. This framework provides tools to challenge assumptions, intervene in prevailing cultural narratives, and change the story around an issue. The approach is grounded in the recognition that since the human brain uses stories to understand the world, all power relations have a narrative dimension. At the end of the workshop, we will develop some communications recommendations for BIN's messaging and media implementation. We will also provide handouts and other tools such as “spokesperson tips” that can be used at a later time. Option 2: Organizing and Capacity Building in African American & Black Immigrant Communities Location: 3rd Floor Ajamu Dillahunt, Black Workers for Justice, Emery Wright, Project South and Monica Hernandez, Southeast Immigrant Rights Network In order to build strong movements and networks it is essential to go beyond just mobilizations and popping from campaign to campaign. Organizing a base of support and building the capacity of organizational and network leadership and community are the building blocks to successful community transformations and campaign wins. Organizing and capacity building recognize that there are many wins along the campaign trail and how you get there is where you are going. This popular education workshop will provide tools and lessons learned in the US and globally and will end with developing recommendations for how BIN can help support organizing and capacity building. Option 3: Resourcing our Movement: Strategic and Grassroots Fundraising to Grow Our Movements Location: 1st Floor Gallery
Henry Der, Four Freedoms Fund of Public Interest Projects, Chad Jones, Community Investment Network & Eric Ward, Program Officer, Atlantic Philanthropies (invited) The session will focus on the challenges and opportunities for developing financial and other resources for immigrant rights and racial justice movements. The discussion will include traditional sources of funding (e.g., foundations) and nontraditional sources (e.g., giving circles). Dinner 6:00 – 7:00 pm Location: 3rd Floor
Public Plenary: Building Black Solidarity for Racial and Economic Justice 7:00 – 8:30 pm Location: 4th Floor Auditorium Moderator: Alethia Jones, Center for Policy Research Albany, NY Panelists: Darryl Jordan, American Friends Services Committee, Glory Kilanko, Women Watch Afrika, Gerald Lenoir, Black Alliance for Just Immigration & Kwame Wilburg, African Community Centers The panelists will discuss the potential for bringing black communities together to build leadership and to address the issues of economic justice and racial equity. They will also speak to the link between racial justice and immigrant rights.
TUESDAY APRIL 24, 2012
[Focus: BIN Structure Consolidation] Breakfast Caucus Gatherings 8:30 – 10:30 am Location: All floors This session is an opportunity for groups with shared interests and/or identities to discuss their experiences of the conference sessions and the implications for their constituency. Groups should plan to report on how BIN can help them advance their work as well as share ideas for strengthening BIN's ties to this constituency. Some Suggested Caucuses: Proposal 1: Prophetic Role of Faith Traditions in Social Movement Organizing Proposal 2: Labor and Worker Rights Proposal 3: Organizing in Black Immigrant Communities Proposal 4: Allies of the Black Immigration Network Proposal 5: Gender and Migration Proposal 6: Policy Roundtable Break 10:30 – 10:45 am 11
Report backs From All Sessions 10:50 – 12:00 pm Location: 3rd Floor Report backs facilitated by Francesca Menes, Florida Immigrant Rights Coalition & Elandria Williams, Highlander Research and Education Center Lunch 12:00 – 12:30 pm Location: 3rd Floor
Elections, Ratification of the Black Immigration Network & Next Steps 12:30 – 2:30 pm Location: 3rd Floor Chad Jones, Executive Director, Community Investment Network, Tia Oso, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Opal Tometi, Black Alliance for Just Immigration Closing Activity & Evaluations 2:30 – 3:00 pm Alethia Jones, Center for Policy Studies Albany, NY & Leah Wise, BIN Conference Planning Committee New Black Immigration Network National Steering Committee Meeting 4:00 pm Location: TBD
Guide to Atlanta
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION MARTA http://www.itsmarta.com MARTA buses operate weekdays from approximately 5 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. and until 12:30 a.m. weekends and holidays. Train Service Hours Weekdays: 4:45 a.m. to 1 a.m. Weekends: 6:00 a.m. to 1 a.m. After 7 pm, Red line travels between Lindbergh & NorthSprings After 7 pm, Green line travels between Bankhead & Vine City Frequency: 15 – 20 minutes all lines LOCAL LANDMARKS The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (449 Auburn Avenue, NE Atlanta, Georgia 30312) www.thekingcenter.org Established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (“The King Center”) has been a global destination, resource center and community institution for over a quarter century. Nearly a million people each year make pilgrimage to the National Historic Site to learn, be inspired and pay their respects to Dr. King’s legacy. Hammonds House (503 Peeples Street, SW, Atlanta, GA 30310) www.hammondshouse.org Established in 1988 as an institution of artistic and cultural magnitude, the more than 10,000 people who attend Hammonds House Museum annually experience the opportunity to gain a wider understanding of the contributions that diverse artists of African descent make to world culture. Lectures/symposia, workshops, demonstrations, panel discussions, youth programming and special events educate, expose and nurture appreciation for the visual and related arts. Atlanta History Center (130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30305) www.atlantahistorycenter.com The Atlanta History Center is one of the largest history museums in the nation, featuring award-winning signature exhibitions that tell the story of the region's people, from its earliest settlers to the international city of today.
LOCAL EATS Paschal’s 180B Northside Drive Southwest Atlanta, GA 30313 (404) 525-2023 www.paschalsatlanta.com Metro Fuxon 554 Piedmont Avenue NE Suite A, Atlanta, GA 30308 (404) 996-2485 www.metrofuxon.com Mary Mac’s Tea Room 224 Ponce De Leon Avenue NE Atlanta, GA 30308 (404) 876-1800 www.marymacs.com/ Soul Vegetarian Restaurant 652 North Highland Avenue Atlanta, GA 30306 (404) 875-0145 www.yahkhai.com Healthful Essence Caribbean Vegan Vegetarian 875 York Avenue SW Atlanta, GA 30310 www.healthfulessence.com Tassili’s Raw Reality 1059 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard SW Atlanta, GA 30310 (404) 343-6126 tassilisrawreality.com
BLACK IMMIGRATION NETWORK c/o Black Alliance for Just Immigration 1212 Broadway, Suite 842 Oakland, CA 95612 (510) 663-2254 www.blackimmigration.net
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/blackimmigrationnetwork TWITTER: www.twitter.com/blackimmnetwork YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com/blackimmnetwork
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