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Friday, May 29, 2015

Black and Latino Communities Unite on Housing, Immigration Campaigns

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 10:01 AM

click to enlarge A KATZ / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
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Community activists in the Bay Area's Black and Latino communities are uniting today around issues facing both groups: displacement and incarceration. 

This morning, activists from the immigrant rights and #BlackLivesMatter movements will hold a press conference at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters in San Francisco to kick off a "Free the People" caravan that will travel to Bakersfield’s Mesa Verde detention facility over the weekend. 

According to the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), one of the detainees at the facility is Christopher Henry, a Jamaican immigrant who has been cleared of charges for marijuana possession but has been held in custody for over three years, away from his three daughters. Organizers say that Henry's case is an example of how Black people face disparate treatment from immigration law enforcement. According to BAJI, Black immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America are five times more likely to be detained or deported than non-Black undocumented immigrants. 

The multi-racial group of activists seeks to assert the idea that "Black lives matter in the migrant rights movement." 

The Mesa Verde facility is privately run by the GEO Group, the controversial for-profit prison operator called "Prison Profiteers" by the ACLU. 

Another Black & Brown unity effort is being headed up by Dr. Amos Brown, president of the SF NAACP. According to a news release, Brown and Dr. Michael Gilmore of the New Providence Baptist Church are holding a "Unity Meeting" this morning for members of the Black community to "strategize for a non-violent and civil protest movement in collaboration with the Latino Community in the Mission." 

Blacks and Latinos are both facing high rates of displacement from San Francisco. Recently, community groups in the Bayview Hunters Point suggested that the proposed Mission housing moratorium should be extended to their neighborhood as well

Brown and Gilmore hope to, "launch a movement to stop the domination of African Americans and other marginalized groups who have lost wealth, housing, quality education and public safety because of the evil fallout of gentrification."

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About The Author

Julia Carrie Wong

Julia Carrie Wong's work has appeared in numerous local and national titles including 48hills, Salon, In These Times, The Nation, and The New Yorker.

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