Several months ago in April, NIAAS participated in the Black Immigration Network‘s 2012 national conference in Atlanta. In so many ways, it was a historic gathering. More than 125 people attended from across the country and more than 30 different countries of origin were represented in the plenaries, workshops, and movement building dialogues.
Many wonderful and forward-moving issues and ideas were discussed and NIAAS contributed by sharing its work to build solidarity between African Americans and immigrants of color in Boston. But now more than ever, deep relationship building and cross cultural understanding are urgently needed across the country for us to mobilize as a unified front for racial justice and immigrants rights.
One of the most poignant presentations was a call to move from “common ground to higher ground”. These were the impassioned words of the Rev. Kelvin Sauls, who in sharing his migration experience from South Africa to the U.S., challenged us “to crossover from a place of comfort, familiarity, and self-interest to build a real movement.” He urged us as people across the African diaspora — as immigrants, as African-Americans — ‘to see ourselves in each other’s stories’ and that “none of us has a monopoly on suffering.” Powerful words that struck a chord.
So what is our converging narrative? Share your thoughts.