News and Announcements

As we celebrate the coming of Spring we are also gearing up for May Day. This year will be historic as immigrant groups join with labor unions and the Occupy Wall Street Movement. May Day, has historically been a day to celebrate workers rights, and in recent years has shifted to focus on the rights of Immigrants, since the historic marches in 2006. Families for Freedom has consistently participated in May Day protests over the past 6 years, taking to the streets and making sure that immigrant voices are heard. This year we have been involved with the planning of May Day protests along with the Immigrant Worker Justice Group of Occupy Wall Street. We will be joining with the May 1st Coalition for Worker & Immigrant Rights, OWS, the Alliance for Labor & Immigrant Rights & Jobs for All, as well as many other groups. Throughout the day immigrants, students, the undocumented, the organized and unorganized, teachers, postal workers, and low wage workers of all nationalities will gather to send a message to the 1% that the 99% will Legalize, Organize and Unionize! If you can take off work or if you are unemployed or laid off, gather at Union Square at 12noon. Or join us after work at 4pm for a united march & rally at 5:30 at Union Square .
While deportations have skyrocketed over the past ten years, we know that in the history of the US they have long been used as a tool to exile “undesirable populations.” The government arbitrarily declares people “potential subversives” and then deports them. There is a long legacy of women immigrants playing strong roles in US social movements for worker's justice, black liberation, gender equality and immigrant rights. Here we celebrate Emma Goldman, Claudia Cumberbatch Jones and Elvira Arellano, all social justice activists who were eventually deported for their political activities.

Families for Freedom just moved to our new office on April 1st.  We are now located at 35 West 31st Street Suite 702, New York, NY 10001.  It is a whopping two blocks away from our current office so we hope you can easily find it.

Members of Families for Freedom joined with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Immigrant Worker Justice working group and the OWS Prisoner Solidarity working group to protest the connection between investment in private prisons and the mass incarceration of prisoners and immigrant detainees. Hundreds of protestors marched in Harlem highlighting the role private prison companies have played in supporting anti-immigrant policies, leading to record detention and deportation rates. The protest ws part of a national day of action during which over 15 cities held protests in solidarity with the ongoing hunger strike at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison, with communities dispossessed by the criminal injustice system, and with political prisoners everywhere. Photo by Marina Ortiz
2011 will be remembered as the “year of the protestor” and of global revolutions, with people across the world rising up against systematic poverty, oppression, and violence. When the Occupy Wall Street movement erupted in NYC and spread like wild fire across the country, we started participating showing that immigrants are part of the 99% and highlighting the ways in which Wall Street exploits immigrant communities. Families for Freedom has been participating in actions, workshops and more to draw attention to the fact that banks and corporations, supported by the government, continue to profit from immigrant detention and deportation. Click here for photos, videos, and more about our participation in Occupy Wall Street.
Some may say that we fully entered the 21st century in 2011 with the launch of our new website, a new @familiesfreedom twitter account, an electronic newsletter, a re-designed print newsletter, a new logo, War on Immigrants Report Radio Podcast, a Vimeo Video channel, A flickr photo page and a hyped up Facebook. We're assuming if you're reading this, you may have noticed. But if not- take notice and check out our website like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and sign up for our monthly mailing list (right hand corner of front page of our site). Also be sure to listen to the War on Immigrants Radio report First Thursdays of the month from 10PM-11PM on WBAI community radio in NYC 99.5 FM WBAI.org We are using media as a tool for justice!
In 2011, FFF armed hundreds of New York families who were most at risk of criminal and deportation prosecution with vital information about their basic rights allowing them to speak out against unjust immigration enforcement in New York. Our continual education work has deepened our community's response to the increasingly brutal enforcement of immigration laws in New York City and helped people fight their deportation cases. Throughout 2011 we conducted Know Your Rights trainings for people locked up in Rikers Island, a weekly clinic for family members with loved ones facing deportation, in depth Deportation 101 training for immigrant rights allies and Speakers Bureau training community leaders on the intersections between the criminal justice and deportation systems. Families for Freedom's educational philosophy is deeply grounded in our belief that those most directly affected by destructive immigration laws once armed with the proper information, can organize against these policies.
Last year we had a major victory along with the NY State Working Group against Deportations keeping the misleadingly named “Secure Communities” program out of New York. In June 2011 Governor Cuomo suspended the "Secure Communities" (S-COMM) program in New York City and State while championing the basic human right to family unity. Since Families for Freedom's inception we have been organizing against ICE access programs believing that criminal law enforcement agencies should not be turned into frontline enforcers of civil immigration laws. We have continually organized against racial profiling and police tactics like Stop & Frisk and highlighted the devastating affects that they have on immigrant communities of color as ICE & law enforcement work more closely together. Shortly after Cuomo's suspension of Secure Communities, President Obama announced in August 2011, that the program will be mandatory come 2013. We will continue to organize so that it doesn't enter NY and support nationwide efforts to end this destructive program.

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