On July 18, close to one hundred New Yorkers, including members of black and immigrant communities, convened at Foley Square to launch the New York Immigration Coalition’s Immigrants Vote! Campaign and demand justice and accountability from our political system on the eve of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
This year’s Campaign launch comes at a time of great mourning and crisis for black and immigrant communities. With four months to go before the Presidential and Congressional election, communities across the U.S are looking to our leaders to address the complex issues facing immigrants, black people, and other communities of color. The launch kick-off, featuring speakers representing black and immigrant communities, called for justice and accountability for the systemic failures facing black and immigrant communities.
Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition said, “Our Immigrants Vote! Campaign has mobilized over 1.2 million voters and registered over 375,000 new voters in the last 10 years. Today we escalate our get out the vote platform in this crucial election year that has huge consequences for communities of color who have first-hand experienced systemic failures that have left many feeling disenfranchised. We are here today to say that we are putting all of our energy towards mobilizing our communities to vote with solidarity, justice and accountability for black and immigrant communities in mind.”
A diverse group of advocates, representing members of the Immigrants Vote! Campaign, as well as other partners spoke at today’s rally, speaking towards the deep systemic changes that communities of color are demanding. They energized rally participants to get out the vote with the needs of our most vulnerable communities at the heart of mobilization efforts.
Bertha Lewis, executive director of The Black Institute said, “Communities of color across New York State and the Nation are being faced with a system that has failed them. We have police killing black men and women with impunity. We have an immigration system that’s ripping apart families. And we have elected officials who do nothing to assist our community. With the upcoming State and Federal elections, The Black Institute is proud to be part of the Immigrant Votes! Campaign to bring out voters to the polls. The system has failed us and now we must stand up for justice and accountability. “
“Our voices and votes have been underestimated for far too long. We don’t vote based on people or party, we vote based on issues we care about. We will vote for those who stand with Black people, immigrants, Muslims, and women. We will vote for real solutions not empty rhetoric. We are building power every day in numbers and in coalition, and we are very proud of our #ImmigrantVote Campaign,” said Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.
Ben Ndugga-Kabuye, New York Organizer, Black Alliance for Just Immigration said, “Let us rally our power and our vote to repeal the 1996 immigration legislation deporting and separating families across the country, and abolish the NYPD’s Broken Windows policing practice that killed Eric Garner, David Felix, and traumatizes countless others every day.”
“All people must be equally protected without any forms of discrimination,” said Bakary Tandia, policy director at African Services Committee. “As African immigrants, we are urging decision-makers to have the courage to adopt bold policies which ensure that the lives of our communities are effectively protected.”