We, as descendants of enslaved African people, stand here today in solidarity, in determination, and in righteous outrage at the unwarranted and heavy-handed actions of the federal government. On August 7th, 2019, hundreds of ICE agents descended upon four cities in our state, where they arrested nearly 700 workers because they believed that they might be undocumented. These men and women were hauled away, busload after busload, with none of the workers able to see to their families and their children—children who would return from the first day of school to find their parents ripped from their lives.
The federal raids in Mississippi are immoral, cruel, inhumane and inherently undemocratic. The words on the Statue of Liberty eloquently state “Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./ Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The people that were swarmed upon and herded away from their jobs like cattle did not experience this America. Under this administration, the “poor huddled masses yearning to breathe free” are treated with contempt. They are called criminals. They are separated like slaves and caged like animals. Because these immigrants are Brown, the President and some of our own elected officials have decided that these people are not worthy of compassion, inclusion, or basic human decency.
The Brown people that are being targeted are indigenous peoples to this land called America. They were here before Christopher Columbus. Yet, they do not feel the welcome that Polish, Italian, German, and other European immigrants were and are granted. Lady Liberty’s “golden door” is slammed in their faces, as the policies of the President reinforced the fact that America’s immigration policy is a “Whites Only” welcome.
This is a nation of immigrants. Its strength lies in its diversity. Its shame lies in its racial bias. People of color —whether citizens or immigrants, legal visitors or desperate individuals seeking a better, safer, happier lives— are not nameless, faceless pieces to be shuffled across a political game board.
The anti-immigrant, anti-Latinx, anti-Black, anti-human rights policies created by this administration shocks the conscience of all reasonable people. We call on the United States government to rescind these policies and reverse all prior decisions that deny affected people their basic human rights.
We in Mississippi demand better.
The People’s Advocacy Institute
The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Jaribu Hill/the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights
One Voice of Mississippi
The Children’s Defense Fund of Mississippi
Black Voters Matter of Mississippi
FWD.us, Mississippi Office
Black With No Chaser
Higher Ground Strategies
To see the original statement and petition, go here.