Immigrant New Yorkers are the lifeblood of our city. Our greatest strengths as New Yorkers – our diversity of culture, our tolerance, and our thriving businesses – are all built upon the labor and traditions of immigrants. Our city’s cooperatives, gardens, credit unions, community land trusts, and other bright innovations for a just society are all deeply rooted in immigrant legacies and practices. We honor all of our immigrant communities and resist the narrative that pits ‘good’ immigrants against ‘bad’ ones. And we demand that our government do the same!
The Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City calls upon our Mayor, City Council, members of Congress, and Governor to protect immigrant New Yorkers by using all available methods to support the immediate abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and any restrictions upon the free movement of people across borders. (Wondering what this means? Check out the immigration policy platform by Mijente.)
We applaud State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in his decision to divest state pension fund holdings in private prison and immigration detention centers, and encourage similar action from all our representatives.
To our members, friends, and neighbors currently being targeted by ICE and the state: we see you, and we are with you. We love you and we will not accept this.
To the 75,000 members of New York City’s cooperative and solidarity economy, we call on you to take immediate and continued action to support New Yorkers at risk of state-sponsored violence from ICE and the NYPD. Here are some ways to demonstrate support:
- Learn! Know your rights so when ICE is active in your neighborhood you can act appropriately. Groups like the Immigrant Defense Project, New York Civil Liberties Union, and NYC Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) offer workshops and materials. Want to learn how to intervene in the increasing instances of harassment and violence? Check out the Arab American Association’s bystander intervention programs. The Center for Family Life also offers pro bono legal services on their first floor, and is working on a Sanctuary Families project to support the children of immigrants facing deportation.
- Move money! Immigrant advocacy, legal representation, and organizing is more important than ever, and groups like Make the Road New York, New Sanctuary Coalition, Movimiento Cosecha, Migrant Justice, and Mijente need your support. Make individual donations and as a group collect donations at your meetings or cash register.
- Volunteer! The New Sanctuary Coalition holds free legal clinics every Tuesday evening and has a team of volunteers to escort people to their ICE check-ins, the Arab American Association needs folks to participate in its Accompany Project, and you can join the campaign to get ICE out of the Courts or NYC DSA’s SanctuaryHood project (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Protest! Take action by heeding the call of immigrant-led groups such as Movimiento Cosecha and their #WeWontBeComplicit campaign against the companies profiting off of detention and mass incarceration, New Sanctuary Coalition’s Suitcase Solidarity March, or the Take On Hate campaign; and get trained in both direct action and civil disobedience through groups like the NYC DSA and Ruckus Society so you can remain safe and effective. Consider hosting trainings and actions as a co-op or group. Contact us if you want help.
- Contact your representatives! Write and call your representatives as individuals and as organizations.
- Get an ID-NYC! These free ID cards are available to all New York City residents above the age of 14, but are often used to target undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for other forms of identification. The more citizens with ID-NYC cards, the less easy it is for ICE and NYPD to target immigrants!
- Post a sign in your co-op or garden expressing your solidarity with immigrants. Translate it into multiple languages and place it where all can see.
- Become a sanctuary! Learn how to turn your co-op or space into a sanctuary space by reaching out to NYC DSA and New Sanctuary Coalition, the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, or the Carroll Gardens Association (email@example.com).
Together, we can demonstrate that cooperation means action, not just words.
CEANYC Board of Directors
Mark Winston Griffith