As a Central American led institution working for social change, CARECEN recognizes that systemic racism has enabled the legacies of colonialism and unchecked capitalism that create inequality and further racial injustice.
The same disparities, racism and police brutality that targets local black communities in the U.S. exists across the globe and is exacerbated through U.S. foreign policy, including to our countries of origin. The experience of immigrants in the United States cannot be separated from the systemic injustices designed to oppress black communities. Likewise, the fight for immigrant rights cannot divide from the fight for racial justice, and specifically the fight for full equality of black Americans.
Over the past 38 years, CARECEN has observed the devastating effects of militarized policing on our local communities, our borders, and on communities in Central America, whose police and military forces are often trained in the same oppressive tactics used by our local authorities through exchanges and aid with the US.
In light of these community experiences, CARECEN supports the movement that calls for creating a new system of public safety. While CARECEN believes that policing, investigating, and preventing criminal activity has a place in society, but today’s militarized police forces are unaccountable to community and reach far beyond their scope. CARECEN believes police focus should be in protecting all citizens and not over-criminalize and over-incarcerate people of color in the name of “law and order.” Also, that increased investment in social services, affordable housing, legal representation, education, and physical and mental health would have a far greater impact on the residents of the District. We commit to helping immigrants navigate structures currently in place, while envisioning and reaching for a structure we believe better serves our society.
CARECEN is committed to participating in efforts with community and local leaders that re-envision DC’s public safety systems to prioritize investment in historically disenfranchised communities and the construction of community-led solutions, rather than destruction of communities through over policing and punitive problem solving.
We recognize that as an organization run by people of color, we have much work to do to better support black communities who have long borne the brunt of racial injustice and led the fight against. Through the remainder of 2020 and beyond, CARECEN commits to:
- Providing or supporting efforts to educate immigrants about their rights during interactions with law enforcement and during protests, specifically to promote immigrants to join the fight for racial justice led by black Americans.
- Serving as a support center or meeting space for protestors or organizing, by collecting or providing space, food, water, bathrooms, and charging stations for protestors.
- Integrating racial justice education into all CARECEN services, to further the immigrant community’s understanding of racial injustice and police brutality in this country. These services include our Know-Your-Rights trainings, tenant advocacy, financial education, citizenship curriculum, voter education and more.
- Assessing our vendors and spending to ensure that money CARECEN receives from grants and contacts is invested, to the extent possible, into local communities of color.
- Conducting an internal assessment to ensure that our institutional policies around HR, decision making, and advocacy promote racial justice and recognize the leadership of black communities.
- Engaging in coalition with black-led organizations in DC and committing to amplifying their voices and demands through our organizational channels and following their lead on policy and protest proposals.