“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” ― Lilla Watson
State-sanctioned police brutality and racial violence is an unbearable reality of life in the United States. And the countless black lives lost as a result leave indelible scars.
As we reflect on how we can contribute to ending this systemic abuse, we are clear that were it not for the struggles and civil rights victories led by Black people in this country, our collective community would not have:
- Birthright U.S. citizenship;
- Laws that prohibit discrimination in employment;
- Laws that prohibit discrimination in housing;
- Laws that prohibit discrimination in education;
- Laws that prohibit discrimination in public spaces; and
- Equal access to voter registration.
State-sanctioned police brutality is not just limited to local police. Federal agents, including those in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) likewise brutalize our immigrant communities. We have been witness to the myriad ways in which the lawlessness in these agencies has been unleashed on our clients in the form of abuse.
Immigrants and their descendants have long been active and vocal participants in the fight for freedom and civil rights in this country. This moment must be no different because the fight is not over!
We mourn alongside George Floyd’s family and commit to continue affirming in our work that:
Black lives matter period—be they queer, trans, disabled, undocumented, with criminal records, women, and all along the gender spectrum.
NMCIR invites you to join us on a special historical memory project that was inspired by conversations with my five-year-old daughter. As we made signs and talked about the protests happening across the United States, their historical context and the importance of our present-day reality she suggested we make a coloring book from photographs from the protests. Join us on this journey by emailing us your photos and drawings to BLM@nmcir.org.
In the movement,
Alba Lucero Villa
Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR)