MIAMI – The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists [CBTU] has organized a July 10 Town Hall Meeting on Immigration. This is an event for South Floridians from the African American, Caribbean and Latina communities to discuss the meaning of migration. We will explore the similarities and differences of our diverse identities, educate one another about our many histories, and hopefully build unity.
The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists [CBTU] was founded in 1972. The organization, with members from over 50 national unions, has fought for the rights of Black workers within their unions and in the broader community. CBTU has a long history of speaking out on human rights abuses and was instrumental in the anti-apartheid movement. More recently, CBTU actively fights unfair trade practices and the abuse of workers around the globe.
Lately (some would say at long last), the fight for immigrant rights has been in the forefront of American politics, due to massive protests by immigrant communities across the nation. There is not political agreement about these phenomena, though every Black community in the United States has experienced some form of migration in its history.
At some point in time all African American, Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean communities were comprised mostly of immigrants. Some of us were forced to migrate, shipped all over Latin America, the United States and the West Indies. Some of us have come to the United States escaping civil war, unrest or poverty. Still others come to the United States in search of greater opportunity. Whatever the reason, we have made our home in the same nation.
Even with different histories, those of us in the African Diaspora share a common bond: the struggle for dignity and respect. Through the centuries, Blacks have fought to take their rightful place in this country, a nation that they helped create and continue to make successful.
Early on, some in this nation suggested that all Blacks should be shipped back to Africa [even though many of us aren’t from the African continent]. And it wasn’t that long ago when Blacks were forced to migrate again: Many African Americans left the U.S. South for the U.S. North during what is called the Great Migration. They traveled to find employment at the numerous factories and industrial plants that sprang up in the early 1920’s.
These are just some of the issues we will explore during the Town Hall Meeting. So come out for this ground breaking forum and join an honest discussion about our similarities as well as our differences. Let us use this as an opportunity to build bridges and educate ourselves about one another’s cultures. It is our hope this event will bring a spirit of cooperation, allowing us to stand up to the forces which attempt to diminish our humanity.