Claude McKay, Marcus Garvey, Miriam Makeba, Shirley Chisholm, Cicely Tyson, Kwame Ture, and Chinua Achebe were all either Black immigrants or had immigrant roots. Each of these individuals knew the importance of finding ways to uplift the Black community. The UndocuBlack Network strives to continue this uplifting work by deepening connections within the Black community.
Founded in January 2016, the UndocuBlack Network (UBN), with local chapters in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, is a multi-generational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access to resources, and advocates to transform the realities of Black people, to help them live their fullest lives. UBN believes that the extent to which Black Americans fight for Black immigrants’ safety and security is the degree to which Black Americans secure their own future. No one is free unless we all are free, particularly as the same system oppresses both communities.
Thus, their vision is to have truly inclusive immigrant rights and racial justice movements that advocate for the rights of Black undocumented individuals and provide healing spaces, and community to those with intersecting identities. UndocuBlack™️ has fought for DACA and is now involved in the legalization fight for all 11 million undocumented people, public health, mental wellness, while also fighting criminalization through unjust deportation and detention. UBN is also working with several organizational partners to make various resources available to the Black community and plans to launch its own resource guide that will include low-cost and inclusive legal, health, housing, and educational resources.
During Black History month, the UndocuBlack Network is working to embrace all shades of blackness within the United States and beyond by cultivating freedom conversations and highlighting diverse Black narratives. Patrice Lawrence, Executive Director of UBN, sat down with us to discuss UBN’s strategies for building bridges of understanding and empathy within the Black community during Black History Month and beyond. Originally from Jamaica, Patrice is a graduate of Hollins University and firmly believes that the sum of one’s experiences makes them whole regardless of their immigration status. She leads the work of those who are Black, currently, or formerly undocumented across the diaspora and is steadily leading the charge on what they need by making their demands clear on a local and national level.
For more information on the UndocuBlack Network’s current initiatives, check them out on social media Instagram: @UndocuBlack, Twitter: @UndocuBlack, TikTok: @UndocuBlack, and their website: https://undocublack.org/.
Chante’ Gamby is a writer passionate about social justice and empowering others to live their healthiest lives. You can follow her on Facebook at Fringefam, Instagram@fringegram, or on her website, www.fringefam.com.