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HomeFamily & RelationshipsBlack-Asian-American Pacific Islander Action Day: Here's What Happened!

Black-Asian-American Pacific Islander Action Day: Here's What Happened!

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Undocublack, a network for Black undocumented immigrants and NAKASEC, an immigration rights group for Asians, were hosting the event. The leaders of Undocublack informed me that my flights and lodging would be taken care, more ample reason to go. So the following Friday I was off to D.C. excited about the new people, places, and information I would encounter. The email I received was about an Action Day where both organizations would hold workshops to discuss white supremacy, the divide between Asian and Black communities, the Akai Gurley case, and the battle to pass a Clean Dream Act and a permanent solution to Temporary Protected Status (TPS). A Clean Dream Act demands a pathway to citizenship for all Dreamers without increased border security, no funding for interior reinforcement and detention centers, and no more usage of E-Verify. TPS demands that recipients of this status  be given a solution to the “in limbo” circumstances which leave them 1.) without a safe home country and 2.) in a country that once protected them but now wants them out. An example is Haiti. Many Haitians are in America because of catastrophic damages due to hurricanes but are now forced to relocate somehow in one year’s time. I met a TPS recipient who has been in America for two decades; he is 24.

After workshops the mood changed from quiet action to loud action. NAKASEC members carried drums, posters were brought out, chants started, and the march to Capitol Hill began. I was assigned to a group of people who would meet with a Republican New York Senator to discuss passing a Clean Dream Act and a permanent solution to TPS. The Senator was of course unavailable so we met with the scheduled staffer who handles immigration matters for him. The staffer was friendly, nodding his head and saying “of course” to the information we provided him including what a Clean Dream Act would entail, the history of TPS and their recipients stories, and the devastation of TPS’ recipients home countries, etc.
  I was surprised at the support that the Dream Act received from Republican members of the Senate, many writing their own letters to Congress and signing petitions. After speaking with additional Senate staffers from Illinois and Texas, our group left with a sense of excitement about what the future holds for Dreamers. When meeting with staffers, more than anything I remember how I sat envisioning the changes I wanted to see in my near future. All of the staffers we met with were White, one male and two females. Actually, the only people of color I saw in the building was my group and several security officers. Surely, the power balances were in play. If the only time these type of discussions are held are when people of color are asking White Senators who have not experienced life like them, to do the humane thing, then change may come….But slowly.]]>

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