Yesterday was an important day in the struggle for justice for Cameroonians in the United States. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) and Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) introduced the Cameroon TPS Act of 2021 which would designate Temporary Protected Status for an initial 18-month period. And the same day, a new coalition was officially launched, the Cameroon Advocacy Network. This week is Black Migrant Week of Action with a particular focus on the situation of Haitians seeking asylum at the U.S. border. Today we lift up the call for TPS for Cameroonians under the leadership of the Cameroon Advocacy Network which will have a whole Week of Action next week. Today’s blog post is an article by Amanda Craft, Immigration Issues Office, about the many opportunities to learn, pray and speak out in solidarity with Black Migrants.
For Presbyterians who are from Cameroon, we extend a special invitation to join legislative visits with the Cameroon Advocacy Network that will take place on Wednesday, October 20th. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to sign up.
We know the abusive and violent treatment of Black Migrants is not new. We know that Black migrants are held longer in detention and are deported at higher rates. We witnessed deportation flight after deportation flight return Cameroonian migrants last year as the country was in the midst of armed civil conflict. We witnessed flight after flight of Haitian migrants returned to Haiti, a country in the midst of civil unrest. As people of faith, we have a responsibility to stand with our siblings; we have a responsibility to help magnify their stories and their asks; we have a responsibility to ensure our government meets every migrant with dignity and respect. The immigration system will not change unless we push for that change.
So, will you show up with Black Migrants? Join the national Week of Action for Black migrants this week. Vigils will be hosted across the country on October 14th to show support and solidarity. Many of the organizations hosting events are Presbyterian Church (USA) partners and the Interfaith Immigration Coalition is also supporting events.
Find an event or register here. Events are planned around the country during the day. Some on are in-person and some are virtual. Join one!
Black migrants, Haitian migrants, and all migrants deserve to be welcomed with dignity. Those coming to our doorstep seeking safety should be met with compassion and our values, not with force and violence. Join the Haitian Bridge Alliance, Undocublack Network, Cameroon Advocacy Network, and many others this week and show up for our immigrant community and Black migrants seeking safety and their right to asylum. We’re calling on our government to halt expulsions and deportations immediately.
Haitian Bridge Alliance Toolkit for Action Here
Black Alliance for Just Immigration Partner Packet
How to Plan a Faith Vigil Resource Here
Faith Resources on Defending Haitian Migrants at the Border
October 11-17 – National Week for Black Migrants – Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) and TX Civil Rights Project is hosting a virtual 24-hour fast. You can register to fast any time during the week.
As coalition partners with other Black-led immigrant groups, I highlight other events that are happening these next two weeks. In particular, I lift up the work of the Cameroon Advocacy Network (CAN), a newly formed network launched by Haitian Bridge Alliance in collaboration with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, UndocuBlack Network, CASA of Maryland, and Alliance in Defense of Black Migrants. The space hopes to bring together everyone in unity to work for the dignity and rights of all Cameroonians – whether in Cameroon, in the United States, or anywhere else in the world. CAN is closely monitoring advocacy efforts for Cameroonian nationals in the United States. Given our close ties to Cameroon and Cameroonians who attend our churches, this is an important time to lift voices and be in solidarity. We can urge for just measures to treat Cameroonian migrants and urge support for peacebuilding efforts in Cameroon. Get involved through events below:
October 13 – D.C. Vigil in solidarity with families separated by African Deportations hosted by Cameroon Action Network (CAN). This is an important day to memorialize, since two large deportation flights returned to Cameroon on this day last year even as the country was in turmoil. Many of those returned were placed in imminent danger.
October 18-22 – Cameroon Action Network Week of Action
Monday, Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. ET “Cameroon In Crisis: Protect Our Contri Pipo!” a webinar to raise public awareness on the humanitarian crises and political violence that have gripped Cameroon over the last decade, forcing thousands of Cameroonians to run for their lives and seek asylum in the United States. Register here. Learn why we are calling on the Biden administration to protect Cameroonians from deportation, and grant TPS now!
SPEAKERS – Michèle Ndoki, Human Rights Lawyer; Anye Wanki, Justice for Cameroon; Akem Kelvin Nkwain, Human Rights Officer, Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA); Dibussi Tande, Co-editor of Bearing Witness, political scientist, writer, and poet
MODERATOR – Kale Nsanbeh
Tuesday, Oct 19 TPS4Cameroon Rally & Music Event from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET starting in Layfette Square and march to Union Station in Washington DC.
Wednesday, Oct. 20 & Thursday, Oct. 21 – Hill Briefing, Legislative Visits, Sign-on Letters and more
Friday, Oct. 22 – Digital Day of Action against Racist ICE Detention Conditions
Advocacy Asks –
Contact your members in Congress and the Biden Administration to join a growing movement calling on the Biden Administration to:
- End the inhumane Title 42 public health order
- Urge Congressional leaders to support the Cameroon TPS Act 0f 2021
- End all expulsion flights to Haiti
- Release all Black asylum seekers detained in immigration facilities
- Urge Congressional leaders to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Cameroon with an emphasis on peaceful dialogue and peacebuilding efforts.
- Urge Congressional leaders to support Haitian civil society leaders as they seek to build a stronger country.
PC(USA)’s involvement in urging for peaceful resolution to the conflict in Cameroon:
U.S. Senate calls for an end to violence in Cameroon, Presbyterian News Service Article (Jan. 5, 2021)
PC(USA) webinar explores ending violence in Cameroon and aiding those seeking asylum, Presbyterian News Service Article (June 26, 2021)