immigration activism

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Hundreds of people are volunteering to translate for lawyers fighting Trump’s Muslim ban

  • In the process of rushing to get detainees released and offering pro-bono legal services to those affected by the ban, another challenge emerged: the language barrier.
  • “We needed people who spoke Arabic, Farsi and Somali,” Francey Youngberg, a former tax attorney who volunteered at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., said in an interview. 
  • “So we started recruiting attorneys and non-attorneys who speak those languages. We’re creating a national database of translators.”
  • Youngberg — herself an immigrant from the Philippines — said she’s received an overwhelming response to the call-outs she’s made through her personal networks and on social media since Sunday.
  • “Close to 300 translators signed up from across the country,” she said. After combining her list with two others that were circulating, the estimated number of people in Youngberg’s database clocked in at more than 500, she said. Read more
Re: The Immigration Ban

I received a good script that can be used for calling senators:

Hi, my name is [name] and I’m a constituent calling to urge [senator name] to go on the record rejecting Trump’s executive orders targeting refugees and immigrants from Muslim countries. Targeting people based on their religion is wrong and unconstitutional. Shutting the doors on some of the most vulnerable people in the world—refugees seeking safety—makes our country look shockingly morally bankrupt. Please vocally and resoundingly reject Trump’s Muslim ban.

This is going to put me on the other side of a lot of people on this site but as the son of a Cuban immigrant whose father remains actively involved trying to help the people of Cuba start their own businesses and join the 21st century (and has been detained for this by Castro’s secret police) - Fidel’s record is…checkered, at best, repressive for the people liberated by his ‘Revolution’ in more cynical terms, and tyrannical when viewed uncharitably, and that cannot be just chalked up to the effects of the embargo, as the left likes to do. Sure, he fought imperialism during the Cold War. He also oversaw decades of human rights abuses, a society that was not remotely egalitarian, and a country that in many ways remains frozen in time. In the 21st century, when Raul follows his brother, Cuba will be better off.

He frankly does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Nelson Mandela. He had Cuban Nelson Mandela’s jailed without fair trial.

Cuba might have enviable and free healthcare. It also has a chronic shortage of basic medicine - cough syrup, laxatives, pain killers - for its working classes in the capital city of Havana, which I visited in 2012. It was a remarkable experience in which I met many strong-willed and hardworking but underserved people. It was neither a socialist paradise nor a communist hellhole. But it was also a decaying city, lacking in public investment and afflicted by severe poverty.

Frankly, don’t assume you know better than those celebrating in Little Havana, a not inconsiderable number of whom know what it was like to live under his regime, and risked their lives to escape it.

I leave you with an insightful quote by Yoani Sanchez:

“The best thing that Fidel Castro left us is the lesson that we don’t want any more Fidel Castros in Cuba. The lesson is that a man like that ends up absorbing the whole nation, ends up seeing himself as the embodiment of the homeland, and ends up simply taking away our nationality. The lesson of Fidel Castro is no more Fidel Castros. Some people admire him, but they admire him for what they think he was, not for who he really was. Staying in power that long is no merit.”

Movements need political moments, and this is one. Already, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest Trump’s election and proposed political platform. The stakes seem insurmountably high. Immigrants, activated by legitimate fears that they will be rounded up and deported, are taking to the streets, daring to be seen and heard.

There’s truth in words that, “Once black people get free, everybody gets free.” That means that policies of policing, surveillance, social welfare, even drug reform, that begin in black communities are often scaled to white ones. Black activists have been saying this throughout 2016.

We didn’t have to be in this moment, but here we are. We’ve been here before. And we’ll no doubt be here again. History is not linear, it’s cyclical. And in this case, that’s a powerful statement of what’s to come for grassroots organizers and activists across the country.

— Jamilah King, It’s 1968 again — and maybe that’s good for America

When Being Indo-Caribbean is Just a Number

I live in New York City. One of the most diverse cities in the world, you don’t need me to tell you. Most of the activist work I do is in NYC and centers around South Asian communities. Here’s something interesting: 

Guyanese folk are the 5th largest immigrant group in NYC. (largely Indo-Guyanese)

Indians and Bengalis are 9th and 10th respectively. 

There are smaller groups of Indo-Caribbeans who migrate here from other countries, mainly Trinidad and Jamaica. 

Despite this, I can say with complete honesty and even regret, that not a single South Asian space I have ever been in has been run by Indo-Caribbeans. 

Not a single South Asian space I have ever been in has had more than 3 Indo-Caribbean participants at a time, myself included. 

In comparison with the few Indo-Caribbean specific spaces there are, to the many general South Asian spaces there are, the numbers are low and disheartening. 

There is an abundance of Indian, Bengali, and Pakistani participation in South Asian activism, which is great. But what does it say about the subcontinental diaspora when, although we outnumber them, they have access to greater amounts of resources? What does it say about how little Indo-Caribbeans are regarded as “real” South Asians when the solidarity South Asians seek and mission to build a community never reach us? 

I do not feel in solidarity with my diaspora. I do not feel like we are yet a whole community. 

I have always known, as my family has always known, and as I’m sure many other Indo-Caribbeans have always known, that subcontinentals have several issues with including Indo-Caribbeans in the diaspora and community spaces. This ranges from ethnic bigotry, to anti-blackness, to casteism, to just a pure lack of knowledge in their own history. 

Whatever the reason may be, to find out that there are empirical numbers that prove what we’ve all long suspected to be true, is sad to say the least. 

To all the South Asian organizers, activists, and leaders- Do more. Do better. 

The history of the painful colonization of the country you call home, is living, breathing, and manifesting in every Indo-Caribbean. Do your best to remember that. Use the tools and resources which you have privileged access to, to include Indo-Caribbean communities in your South Asian activism, otherwise call it “me activism”. Because without Indo-Caribbeans, that’s what it is. 

It hurts me to say this. It hurts me to acknowledge that even after fighting our way halfway across the world, and then some, my people are still not seen as good enough. 

South Asian solidarity can never exist, as long as the diaspora keeps pretending Indo-Caribbeans don’t either. 

- Shabana B.

concept: instead of saying shit like “I’m not X-American I’m just American uwu” how about we think critically about why PoC must hyphenate their identities when white people can just be “American”, and also recognize that assimilation into the popular image of “America” should not be the goal of immigrant communities’ activism

Something that deeply bothers me about most mainstream social movements is their lack of inclusion for Hispanics and Latinx. The bigger part of the feminist movement and the racial injustice movements literally do nothing for undocumented immigrants, who face the same problems they do but on a much bigger scale. No, this is not a competition of who suffers more, but it is deeply alarming that a group who suffers so much is given such little attention. Also not to say that ALL activists from these groups ignore the following, because truly there are some amazing activists out there. But here’s a few things I’ve noticed: Hispanic & Latina women (and gender fluid people, non-binary, others who identify as women, etc) make the lowest amount of money for every white man’s dollar, yet I rarely see that mentioned. Undocumented immigrant women (same as the last parenthesis, and for any time I mention the extremely simplified word: “women”) are raped in massive numbers and at much higher rates than other women, yet I rarely see that mentioned. Undocumented immigrants are one of the groups that fall under modern slavery, and yet I rarely see that mentioned. And those are only some problems they face in America, don’t get me started on the atrocities they are faced with in their home countries which force them to flee here to somehow look for something better (while they’re met with this bullshit).

Recently a group of activists with Black Lives Matter interrupted a talk about immigration reform with presidential candidates, Sanders and O'Malley. I’ve always deeply respected Black Lives Matter, but that day they lost a good amount of my support (not the entire current civil rights movement, of course, but that specific group of activists within BLM). The injustices that immigrants face are massive, and an injustice allowed against one group of minorities makes it easier to oppress all. I’ve always stood by BLM but some of their members seemingly decided not to stand by their Hispanic & Latinx brothers and sisters and steer attention from their issues. Thats not right. Immigration reform needs to be talked about. Police brutality needs to be talked about. Neither at the expense of the other.

Now, I understand that any conversation about big issues such as immigration with presidential candidates probably won’t be very honest or candid. But then that’s exactly what we should be protesting at that time and place. Just like the heckler who stopped Julian Castro at the civil rights summit in Austin, Texas pleading for him to speak of DREAMer issues while he spoke of immigration. That was the time and place to request better, more honest answers for that particular marginalized community. It would not have been the time to completely stray from their hardships and steer it to another group.

Essentially what I want to get at in this post is that we really need to be paying attention to ALL injustices proportionally. Black lives DO matter, their struggles are asinine and could not be more clearly unjust, AND Hispanics and Latinx need more comprehensive immigration reform and better treatment in this country. Neither are mutually exclusive, and neither should be overshadowed by the other. They don’t have to be. We can join together and fight both, and attempt bring justice to ALL without ignoring a huge group of oppressed people. So please, if you’re part of an activist movement, PLEASE don’t forget your Hispanic and Latinx brother and sisters. We haven’t forgotten you, and we do our best to educate those who have. Please do the same.

*Also I just want to say that the group who I’ve seen include Hispanics and Latinx the most in their fight are the Black Panthers and I’m hugely thankful to them for that. A cause so often demonized truly does so much for the good of most (I don’t want to use absolute terms like “all”) oppressed people, and they deserve a lot more great recognition than they get.

~Rant semi-over. I would love to RESPECTFULLY talk to anyone who agrees or disagrees with me, or who finds anything problematic with this that I could learn from. I didn’t proof read this, so I’m sure I let things slip that are problematic even though I tried while I wrote, haha~

here’s hoping if by some horrible mistake Donald does get elected, he will be the third president in history to ever be impeached and forcibly removed from the white house

it scares me that people share his abhorrent views on lgbtq people and women and immigrants and are actively supporting a man who not only wants these people’s rights stripped away but also has zero political experience in any way shape or form, and people think he’s suddenly fit to help rule an entire country??? are you serious????

he’s not an experienced political candidate fit to be president, he’s bored

he’s sitting on his daddy’s money and he’s fucking BORED

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2015 - The BBC went with a group of British Muslims from the Peterborough Active Youth organisation who are bringing water, food and clothing to the thousands of refugees living in primitive conditions in “the Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, France.

There they meet up with French volunteers who are also doing their best to help the refugees out. They also talk with refugees there, who have some important things to say about the situation, although for some reason one of them seems to be under the impression that David Cameron has a heart. [video]

28 August 2015 - Four hours after the Australian Border Force announced they would be doing ‘random’ visa checks (so racial profiling to catch ‘illegal immigrants’ basically) on the streets of Melbourne in what they called Operation Fortitude they were forced to cancel it, after they were blocked in by a crowd of protesters against the racist plans. [video]

I don’t think it’s naive to believe you can change the world. I don’t think it’s naive to wake up every morning with the desire to break free from the shackles and rebuild society from scratch. But I do think it’s naive to believe that everything will fall into place. The world needs a wake up call. We’re going to have to scream a lot louder if we want them to open their eyes.
—  Zelda O’Brien

Privileged, rich conservative white trans lady: *comes out*

Mainstream gay movement: “WOW!” *applause and praise*

Undocumented trans woman of colour: *risks safety and well-being to come out against racial injustice and institutional abuse perpetuated by the Obama administration*

Mainstream gay movement: “HOW DARE YOU INTERRUPT OBAMA!” *comments with racism and transmisogyny and ignores the issues at hand*

I, for one, am hoping that Jennicet Gutiérrez gets more positive attention in the media than Caitlyn Jenner.

Shame on President Obama for not letting Jennicet Gutiérrez’s voice be heard.

Shame on the President for helping to further the abuse and sexual assault that trans and queer prisoners in detention camps face every day. 

Shame on the lgbtq “activists” and “allies” in attendance for booing Jennicet Gutierrez and cheering when she was escorted out.

Shame on the mainstream gay media for trying to silence these immigration activists by reducing their act of bravery into merely “heckling” and “rude behaviour.”

Shame on the mainstream gay movement for praising Obama for his behaviour.

Shame on the people commenting on these terrible articles misgendering, demeaning, and further insulting Jennicet Gutierrez and her valuable work.

The time to act was ages ago. 

We are past the point of being silent and"playing nice" while politicians have elitist celebrations of faux LGBTQ equality for privileged people in power.