The Black Workers for Justice Say: Unite in the Fight for Immigration Reform
March 21, 2010 represents the next step in the long and powerful struggle for justice that caught the attention of the world on May Day 2006. On that day, but starting in April, the Latino community along with other immigrants stood up by the millions, all over this country, to demand justice and an end to the unfair and undemocratic immigration system in the U.S.
Those powerful marches, rallies and demonstrations helped to revive May Day in the country where it was born. It also showed non-immigrant workers that they must stand up and fight no matter how great the challenges and no matter how afraid they are. The struggle for Immigration reform is on the cutting edge of the social movements in this country which have been guided by the idea that “Another World is Possible.”
In the days since those first protests many promises have been made but little has been done. The raids continue, Sheriffs continue to enforce 287g and Immigrant families continue to be devastated by the results of these actions. In the workplaces, the employers continue to take advantage of undocumented workers while racist right wing politicians want to deny young people the opportunity for an affordable education after high school. Nonetheless, there has been and will continue to be resistance.
U.S. trade policies, like the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have helped to impoverish workers in Latin America forcing them to migrate. They are now an integral part of the US working class and as such their struggle is one for Workers Rights and power. The right to fair wages, union representation and protection from retaliation is fundamental for immigrant and US workers. We must fight for them together. We believe that workers rights are human rights.
We struggled together with the Farm Labor Committee (FLOC) to win a contract with Mt. Olive Pickles; we struggled together with Black and Latino workers to win a union victory at Smithfield Foods; and we are struggling together with FLOC again to force the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company to treat agricultural workers fairly. Latino and other immigrants must join us in the fight for collective bargaining for public employees and the battle to keep our schools diverse and not resegregated.
Since 2000, the Black Workers for Justice (BWFJ ) has fought to build the unity of African American and Latino workers. More recently we have worked together in the HKonJ Coalition. We vigorously reject the anti –immigration views of Black groups who are financed by white conservatives and racists. They are trying to foment even more distrust among us based on lies and half truths. Our differences are small while our common interests are tremendous.
We ask that your courageous work always include the voices and plight of African descendant immigrants. Specifically, the situation facing Haitians and Afro-Colombians as well as African immigrants demands our attention and solidarity.
Black people across the country are inspired and proud that you have adopted the song “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize”.” As the song says, “the one thing we did right was the day we decided to fight.” Brothers and Sisters, let’s fight together.
Black Workers for Justice
March 19, 2010