As an organization, the National Immigration Forum has rooted its work in the goals of advancing equality, justice, and fairness in our society and in our immigration system. Today is no different.
We begin June 2020 reeling from a global pandemic that has killed over 100,000 Americans, an economic collapse that has put tens of millions of people out of work, and the sights and sounds of black civilians killed by police. As a friend wrote to me over the weekend, it is a grim day in America.
So I want to start this week with what I am grateful for: the thousands of protesters peacefully calling for change; the families of those we have lost, from violence or virus, for sharing their grief; the law enforcement leaders who are committed to holding themselves and their departments accountable; the faith leaders who fill the vacuum of national leadership with moral clarity; the business owners who support protesters, providers and patients; the entirety of the health care workforce, from the janitor to the doctor, on the front line; the journalists reporting the stories we need to know; and so much more.
But the fact is communities are impacted by these crises differently.
COVID-19 has hit Latino and Black communities’ health the hardest. The economic domino falls the heaviest on communities of color. And Black families across the country look at their daughters, sons, sisters, brothers with a sense of fear that has never gone away — a fear that is now renewed and broadcast on video and national television.
These crises shine a light on the failure of our systems, and a lack of willingness by lawmakers to advance constructive and necessary changes.
For those of us fortunate enough to be working, safe and healthy, we are empathetic toward people who are more directly affected. We take individual actions. But we live in a very different reality. Because we are insulated from much of the fear and pain, these systemic injustices do not impact our day-to-day lives.
Therefore, we have a responsibility to live up to the moment. Make the case that all of us should be treated with dignity, fairness and justice — by systems and by each other — regardless of where we were born.
The lack of national leadership requires us to meet this moment as individuals and as organizations.
We commit to:
– Standing with our partners in the civil rights, faith and business communities, speaking to the injustices, advocating for solutions.
– Supporting law enforcement officials who commit to treating all communities with dignity and fairness.
– Providing information and opportunities for Americans across the political spectrum to engage in efforts for systemic change.
Silence is no longer an option.
(Link to this statement on the Forum website here.)