Photo: An Rong Xu, The Chinese Americans
Photographer An Rong Xu’s series “The Chinese Americans” connects the experiences of immigrant Americans by threading together the narratives of Asian Americans across several cities in the United States. In the essay that accompanies this New York Times feature, the artist writes that these pieces are reflections on identity. Her childhood in Queens was shaped in part by anti-Asian racism. Xu revisits the journey of her great-grandfather, documenting the physical and psychic spaces of contemporary Asian immigrant communities in New York City, Seattle and San Francisco.
Xu’s visual art responds to her painful formative experiences by mining familial and community histories that are contextualized by their immigration to America and their roles in American history. To this end, she locates relatives who have worked on the Transcontinental Railroad. Continue reading An Rong Xu’s “The Chinese Americans”
On Wednesday, February 25th, the Northwest Queens Financial Education Network, including the Community Development Project, Chhaya CDC, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), and Queens Community House (QCH), held an event at the Murphy Institute to release a new report entitled Bridging the Gap: Overcoming Barriers to Immigrant Financial Empowerment in Northwest Queens. Check it out!
Immigrant youth organizing has grown to become one of the most vital social movement in existence today. How has this movement grown to where it is today? What are some of the pivotal strategic moments that have brought immigration reform to the center of mainstream discourse? An article in the latest issue of New Labor Forum provides some answers.
One of the most important social movements in the United States is the undocumented youth movement (Dreamers). The movement has not been successful in passing the federal Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. It has, however, worked closely with its allies to rack up an impressive string of local and state-level victories and pressured the Obama administration to pass Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012. This latter measure provided approximately 553,000 undocumented youths with temporary relief (two years) from deportation. DACA was an important victory in its own right, but it also provided the legal and political precedent for the broader immigrant rights movement to push for a similar measure to cover all undocumented immigrants residing in the country (“DACA for all”). The Dreamers also helped politicize large segments of the undocumented youth population while inspiring thousands of older immigrants to take a more assertive and contentious stance in asserting their rights to stay in the country. Youths and adults now undertake high-risk civil disobedience actions including chaining them- selves to the White House, blocking deportation buses, occupying offices of national politicians, and engaging in hunger strikes, among other things. The importance of the Dreamers should therefore be understood broadly: they have achieved gains for undocumented youths, and they have unleashed political and legal dynamics that stand to alter the status of the broader undocumented population. Such dynamics contributed to an executive order introduced by President Obama on November 17, 2014 to provide temporary residency to an expected four to five million immigrants with tenuous legal status.
This article highlights contrasting moments in the movement’s development. The first reflects a strategy of the “bounded Dreamer,” aimed to construct political messages that stressed the “deservingness” of this specific population and an organizational infrastructure that instilled disparate youths with discipline when making arguments in the public sphere. The second reflects the strategy of the “unbounded Dreamer,” enabling the incorporation of youth activists into other mobilizations and struggles, especially the anti-deportation campaigns of recent years (2011-2014). The Dreamers in this latter instance are less bound to the tight framing categories of the earlier strategy, feel freer to express broader and more contentious arguments, and make much more use of informal organizations and social media to organize their political work. This article identifies these two strategic moments and assesses the factors that helped the transition from the former to the latter.
Read more at the New Labor Forum online.
Photo by peoplesworld via flickr (CC-BY-NC).
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A number of articles in the January 2015 deal with political battles surrounding education:
The issue also provides:
From all of us at New Labor Forum – have a wonderful 2015!
Paula Finn & Steve Fraser
New Labor Forum
By Steve Brier
One of the persistent tragedies in the history of the U.S. labor movement has been the repeated opposition of unions to organizing new immigrant workers into their ranks. Not only the old AFL, but even the more progressive and inclusive Knights of Labor, attacked new immigrants (the Chinese, in the case of the Knights), refusing to organize them into their ranks and even working politically to restrict the entry of international workers into the U.S. Those moments when the labor movement shed its xenophobia and actually organized immigrant workers — the 1919 steel strike and the early CIO organizing drives in basic industry — stand out as beacons of light and organizing success in an otherwise grim and dark history of exclusion and labor defeat. Even the contemporary AFL-CIO, as recently as the late 1980s and early 1990s, actively opposed organizing the rising numbers of immigrants from Asia and Latin America entering the U.S. workforce, precisely at the moment that the labor movement was in sharp decline in the face of employer and government intransigence and attacks. Continue reading Organized Labor Hopes to Grow by Helping Immigrants Gain Citizenship
About the Center for Community Change
The Center for Community Change is a national social justice non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1968 to honor the life and values of Robert F. Kennedy, our mission is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to have a significant impact in improving their communities and the policies and institutions that affect their lives.
The Center for Community Change is committed to help build powerful and dynamic movements in diverse communities across America that will be the impetus for creating a society in which everyone has enough to thrive and achieve their full potential. Inspired by a belief in the dignity of all people, the Center has been instrumental in the fight for comprehensive and fair immigration reform, a push for a bold jobs agenda, and protecting essential retirement security programs. The Center played a major role in recent positive changes to immigration laws that will keep thousands of immigrant families together. Our Housing Trust Fund Project has helped bring affordable housing to millions of people.
The Immigration Campaign Manager is responsible for implementing a nationally coordinated campaign with Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) member organizations focused on building the power and capacity of the immigrant rights movement and achieving state and federal policy immigration reform change. Currently, FIRM is advancing a national “Keeping Families Together Campaign” aimed at securing comprehensive immigration reform. The ideal candidate is a self-starter, experienced organizer, good manager, and strategic thinker capable of producing consistent quality work in a fast-paced environment.
Find out more here