3rd Space Support: Immigrants Rights
A Brief History
Ever since the Audre Lorde Project’s early years of existence, Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Trans and Gender Non Conforming Immigrants of Color were one of the first groups of people ALP made center to its work. The Immigrant Rights work was organized by a working group made up of ALP volunteers who were either immigrants or children of immigrants. They focused their energy in three areas:
- providing and expanding access to legal support.
- political education and mobilization for legalization/comprehensive immigration reform.
- supporting economic sustainability through the creation of an interpreters/translators network, legal support, health and wellness support.
The working group also did a community research project which culminated in the 2004 published report, “Community at a Crossroads: U.S. Right Wing Policies and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit and Transgender Immigrants of Color in New York City.” This report is a compilation of information gleaned from interviews with over 30 organizations from various sectors of the LGBTST, immigrant and religious communities in New York City.
Read ALP's statement on immigrant rights here
Current Immigrant Rights Work
Current work has focused on creating network of LGBTSTGNC Immigrants of color within ALP where they can build community, further develop their political education, build their skills, receive support and share resources. Our current work breaks down into the following current activities:
The annual interpreter training project is a part of a larger vision of Language Justice in LGBTSTGNC Immigrant of color communities. The Interpreter Training Project seeks to provide opportunities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming immigrants of color who are already informal community interpreters to:
- gain greater skills in interpretation.
- learn resources and strategies to use interpretation to generate income.
- better understand how to make our community spaces more accessible.
- share knowledge about health, social and community resources.
- share resources on translating health, sexuality and gender issues.
The National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) is a national coalition that ALP has a long history with. ALP’s previous work with NNIRR included facilitated homophobia trainings at their national conferences and supported the national political strategies through sitting on their National Advisory Council. Currently, ALP is working with NNIRR to build regional relationships among organizations who are looking at the LGBQ Immigrant intersections. Our work with NNIRR keeps us connected to and able to report on local and national immigration policy.
ALP has recently endorsed a statement which calls for the immediate elimination of ICE's "Secure Communities" program. Read here to find out how the “Secure Communities” program harms LGBT communities.
We do political education workshops and forums about immigration and how to understand US immigration policy in relation to other policies.
Some basic ones we’ve done are:
Understanding Immigration History and Globalization, US Immigration, and War Profiteering. These workshops are open to both LGBTSTGNC people of color and allies.
The Response Team is a group of ALP members who work to support LGBTSTGNC immigrants of color around issues of employment, education, health care and immigration status. The Response Team hopes to encourage and create space for organic methods of community support and community building to occur. However, the Response Team will also engage with social service systems to provide support through one-on-one advocacy suggests resources and referrals. If you are a LGBTSTGNC Immigrant of color seeking support in one of these areas, please contact responseteamalp [dot] org.
Main Points of Unity:
- We are building a broad base of all LGBTSTGNC Immigrants of Color in New York City and are particularly committed to building the leadership of those who are undocumented, low wage workers, and Trans/ Two Spirit/ and Gender Non-Conforming due to the particularly vulnerable conditions for these communities. We make a commitment that every campaign and action that we participate in will be relevant to these priority communities.
- We are part of a movement to achieve legalization for all people within the United States, and for all residents of the U.S. to have access to the same rights and benefits regardless of immigration / migration status.
- We are part of a broader movement of justice and peace globally, and are committed to building our work in solidarity with liberation struggles around the world. Because many of us are still connected with our communities of origin – we reject the us/them divide of citizens and foreigners, and are working toward a US foreign policy rooted in non-violence, fair distribution of resources, and equity.
- We are committed to increasing the understanding of transphobia and homophobia within broad movements for immigrant rights and social justice
- We are committed to increasing the understanding of transphobia and homophobia, as well as other forms of oppression, within our immigrant communities in New York City.
For more information on the Immigrant Rights work of the Audre Lorde Project, please contact Becca Wisotsky at 212-463-0342 ext. 16 or bwisotskyalp [dot] org.