For Black History Month 2018, MelaNation, BYP100, and several other collectives are engaging with #28DaysOfBlackLove – a social media campaign in which each day is devoted to uplifting different Black communities. February 5 is #UndocuDay, a day to discuss and support Black undocumented immigrants. BYP100 DC activist Trinice McNally explains the significance of this below.
As a Black person, every time you walk outside of your home (sometimes not even leaving your home) you are an instant target to either be harassed, funneled into the criminal justice system or killed. This can be be more intense for Black immigrants, especially those undocumented or have conditional status warrants a faster-track for potential deportation. Immigration detention remains “one of the fastest-growing sectors of the carceral state.” When we talk about divesting from policing or creating jails, we aren’t only talking about prisons, but we are also saying divesting from the “detention centers” that are literally jails for immigrants. We cannot feed into harmful rhetoric that feeds into the xenophobia and anti-Black political agenda rooted in white supremacy.
Contrary to popular belief, low-wage undocumented laborers don’t undermine Black achievement. This way of thinking has been heightened during the 45 regime as well as the very limited analysis of how power, oppression, white supremacy and patriarchy has worked to silence, limit and reinforce violence amongst Black & Brown communities since the founding of the United States of America. Somehow, folks (even some of our own) don’t think of Black people when we hear about DACA or TPS. Well the truth is, everyone knows someone who is an immigrant, whether they are undocumented or not, and there isn’t a country where you can’t find Black people in this entire world.
This Black History month, I challenge all Black folks (whether US born or not) to engage in conversations and share your lived experiences. I guarantee that you will learn of the similarities we all possess as Black people of the Diaspora. Regardless of our accents, dialects, national heroes or dances, one thing is for certain (and I’m not just talking about our skin or hair texture) our culture is what binds us. See, when our ancestors were forced on those boats 400 years ago, what they didn’t know is that they couldn’t steal or kill our spirit of connectedness. The way we move, dance, season our food and even love on each other is deeply rooted in our tradition and unfortunately our pain. In 2018, we really can’t afford to only care about a certain type of Black person – we are all being disproportionately impacted. When we say “Black Lives Matter,” make sure we are centering those undocumented and/or immigrant lives too. We are all Black and when you’re living in America, that usually means the same thing or worse for some of us depending on our gender expression, sexual orientation, class or immigration status. On this 5th day of February, love on each other. Bridge that gap, break those barriers –cuz at the end of the day “we all we got”.
— written by TJ, BYP100 DC activist