Recently, we urged everyone to remember to include black immigrants in the DACA/Dreamers conversation.
Thankfully, two organizations are doing the work to ensure just that … and beyond.
Nonprofit public foundation, Ms. Foundation for Women and nonprofit organization National Black Women’s Justice Institute have drafted a report calling for including black women, girls and gender non-conforming people in the conversation surrounding sanctuary cities: “Centering Black Women, Girls, Gender Nonconforming People and Fem(me)s In Campaigns For Expanded Sanctuary And Freedom Cities.”
“In recent decades, as anti-immigrant rhetoric has intensified and policing, detention and deportations of immigrants have dramatically increased, social movements have responded with calls for the creation of sanctuary spaces, institutions and cities offering protections to immigrants,” authors Monique W. Morris and Andrea J. Ritchie write in the report. “In response, a growing number of municipalities have declared themselves ‘sanctuary cities’ by enacting administrative policies and legislation limiting collaboration with federal immigration authorities to varying degrees.”
The authors go on to explain why now is the time for action: “In the wake of 2017 federal executive orders and a proposed 2018 federal budget advancing an agenda of mass deportation which relies on criminalization of immigrants as both a mechanism and justification for deportation and exclusion, immigrant rights and racial justice groups have issued renewed – and expanded – calls for sanctuary. Progressive legislators and institutions have responded to this call to action – and to attacks on ‘sanctuary cities’ by the federal government – by recommitting to protecting immigrant communities.”
In the report, organizations such as BYP100, Mijente and Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) are cited as having taken concerted steps to make sure the sanctuary and freedom cities’ “doors” are also opened to communities whose voices aren’t as prominent in the larger conversation.
The report’s rallying cry is “Black people need sanctuary too,” which not only includes black immigrants, but non-immigrant black people who suffer the brunt of police brutality and other forms of institutional racism.
In a step-by-step and detailed requirement list, the report calls for sanctuary cities, institutions and community spaces to provide protection from information sharing, protection for sensitive locations, to decriminalize offenses that target black women and girls within deportation systems, to create pre-arrest diversion programs, to eliminate mandatory arrest policies, to end criminalization in learning environments, to protect against gender-specific police violence and to “imagine, develop, implement and assess community-based responses to violence that will ensure safety for black women, girls, gender nonconforming people and fem(mes) within our families, homes, relationships, communities and institutions.”