Donors Urged to Take Action and Support Black Migrants Organizing Their Way to Freedom
A new community-led fund to support the urgent needs of Black migrant communities and build power with and for Black migrants in the U.S. has been announced. The Black Migrant Power Fund has been launched in the midst of heightened immigration enforcement focused on Black migrant communities, as evidenced by last September’s media images of U.S. Border Patrol officers attacking Haitian migrants, which went viral and sparked national outrage.
The Black Migrant Power Fund (BMPF) is a community-led fund housed at the Four Freedoms Fund, a collaborative fund the builds power in the immigrant justice movement in the U.S., and launched in partnership with leading Black migrant organizations and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). The fund seeks to raise $10 million in seed investment for immediate, no-strings distribution to Black-led, grassroots organizations fighting for immigrant and racial justice, and is calling on donors to step up and support the work.
Last September, video of officers on horseback wielding their horses’ reins as they intimidated and abused Haitian migrants and their families on the U.S.-Mexico border painfully hearkened back to centuries of racial terror and violence inflicted on Black communities in the U.S. Sponsors of the BPMF say that, sadly, this appalling mistreatment is not an aberration, but emblematic of the U.S. immigration system’s historic and ongoing discriminatory treatment, exclusion, incarceration, and deportation of Black migrants.
Black migrant organizations have responded by meeting the urgent needs of their communities, who are facing life and death migration situations, and by leading the way for change – including freeing families from detention, winning Temporary Protected Status and immigration relief, and challenging Title 42 expulsions and the virtual wall on the border.
These organizations continue to face critical challenges, and their efforts are hampered by philanthropy’s underinvestment in Black migrant organizations’ crucial work. NCRP has reported on the lack of support from foundations to explicitly benefit immigrants and refugees in the U.S., whose population is 14 percent foreign-born, with Black, indigenous, AAPI, and LGBTQ+ immigrants receiving even less support. NCRP also notes that community foundation support for Black communities trails local demographic numbers, despite a groundswell of news and activism on racial equity and justice.
The goal of BMPF funding is to support the leadership and resilience of Black migrant communities as they transform the U.S. immigration system to embrace the humanity and dignity of all migrants. Key to that effort is trusting that Black migrant-led organizations involved in BMPF and doing the work will make funding decisions and move money to grassroots groups oft-neglected by philanthropy.
“The creation of the Black Migrant Power Fund is vital and important as it emphasizes the importance of the work being done on the ground by Black migrants and Black migrant-led organizations, whose work is usually overlooked. These are individuals in the community, from the community, and from the culture doing the much-needed grassroots work, and most are doing it without much-needed financial support,” said Glory Kilanko, Founder and CEO of Women Watch Afrika.
Leading Black migrant organizations involved in the BMPF and sounding the call to action for donors to contribute include: African Bureau of Immigrant and Social Affairs, African Communities Together, AfroResistance, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Black Immigrant Collective, Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, Family Action Network Movement, Haitian Bridge Alliance, Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants, Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, Undocublack Network, and Women Watch Afrika. These organizations will play a lead role in distributing the money raised through the newly-created fund, with support and direction from Four Freedoms Fund, which is housed at NEO Philanthropy.
“Despite growing calls for racial justice and investment in Black leadership, philanthropy continues to underfund Black migrant organizations, forcing these groups to confront the intersecting crisis with woefully inadequate support,” said Rini Chakraborty, director of Four Freedoms Fund, and Ola Osaze, advisor to the BMPF. “Through the Black Migrant Power Fund, philanthropy has an opportunity to right that wrong at a time when the support is needed most and can have real impact.”
Individual donors and others interested in the BMPF may click here to make a contribution and learn more. Institutional funders who want to join this critical effort and support Black migrant organizations should contact BMPF@neophilanthropy.org.
Photo by Adrian Childress, courtesy of African Communities Together