The Tahirih Justice Center joined more than 400 immigrant justice organizations and ally groups to express our solidarity with Black communities. Read the full text of the letter below:
Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Tony McDade. George Floyd. Yassin Mohamed. Finan Berhe. Across the country, people of conscience are saying ‘Black Lives Matter!’ ‘Enough is Enough!’ in our grief and rage. From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin to Rodney King, Latasha Harlins to Sandra Bland, we bear witness to the injustice, to the pain and rage of our Black brothers and sisters. For too long, we have lived within a system that perpetuates institutional and direct violence against Black people. We reject this anti-Black violence and demand justice.
White supremacist institutions and the historical criminalization and over-policing of Black communities have led to heavily militarized police forces and a system that uses prison beds as a form of punishment and social control but denies people an opportunity, a job, an education, healthcare, or equal access to thrive. These are the same systems that enable the for-profit incarceration of humans, and trigger discrimination against Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Historically we have repeatedly seen massive transfers of wealth from communities of color to corporations. In the midst of a global health pandemic, this racialized inequality has only increased – corporations have been given billions of dollars while millions of Americans are not able to have their basic health care and economic needs met. Communities of color are left struggling to pay for food and rent, and in the case of many immigrants, excluded from federal relief packages altogether.
When asked to do more for Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities, state and local governments claim budget shortfalls. Yet they either maintain or increase inflated and unnecessary police budgets. We know that support systems, services, quality housing, and dignified jobs are what keeps our communities safe, not law enforcement. The recent violence directed at protestors has shown that the police state values property over the lives of people they’ve sworn to serve.
In order for resources to be brought back to communities, governments at all levels must divest from harmful institutions such as the prison industrial complex, surveillance, and policing. We call on governments to instead invest these funds in basic needs like quality housing and education, financial and economic support, climate justice, healthcare for all, and mental health support.
As immigrant justice organizations and ally organizations, we commit to:
- Standing in solidarity with Black communities to demand justice by advocating for their recommendations and solutions.
- Working to dismantle white supremacy, white nationalism, and the anti-Blackness that permeates our society, including within the immigrant justice movement.
- Joining the calls to dismantle the police state by defunding and decreasing police budgets.
- Demanding governments invest in communities by increasing funding for housing, education, healthcare, and other supports.
- Demanding a COVID-19 recovery and reconstruction that benefits communities, not corporations.
- Denouncing the use of criminalization and militarization as a response to people’s pain and people demanding more change.
- Rejecting the “national security” frame and redefining “public safety” so that it truly means communities — including Black communities — are free to live without fear of being killed.
Just as COVID-19 has taught us that we are interconnected, our collective well-being depends on all of us being healthy and safe, not criminalized and dehumanized. We grieve with our Black neighbors and are committed to building a country where Black Lives Matter.