Last week I made my first trip to New Orleans for The Accidental American reception with Danny Glover, Rinku Sen and Fekkak Mamdouh. I’ve read and heard so many stories about post-Katrina New Orleans, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everyone I met said it’s very different but there’s still a special energy unlike anyplace I’ve ever been.
That energy filled the Community Book Center for The Accidental American book reception. In a space defined by its focus on Black-centered literature and culture, people came together to discuss immigration. As anti-immigrant advocates do their best to pit the interests of Black workers against those of Latino immigrant workers, immigrant rights has become a contentious issue in New Orleans with the influx of primarily Mexican immigrants that has changed the demographic and cultural face of one of this country’s most renowned cities. It was powerful to be in a space of Black power, with a predominantly Black audience and hear Danny Glover call for unity between immigrant and native-born workers: “Mamdouh’s story is not simply his story alone. It’s not simply the story of immigrant workers. It’s the story also of native-born workers as well.” Mr. Glover is right, our collective power is what will guarantee our future.
At the center of the immigration debate is race and attempts to divide us along racial lines. The need to unite our communities to secure just and fair immigration reform that protects the rights of all workers is imperative. Join Rinku Sen along with Eric Ward and Marissa Graciosa for further discussion on Race and Immigration. Be part of the ongoing conversation by RSVPing to ARC’s Compact for Racial Justice Race and Immigration forum call March 17th at 1PM PST/4PM EST.