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Swedenborgians in Action Against Racism
Hi everyone. This newsletter is for Swedenborgians (and friends) who want to learn how to support anti-racism. But we are not going to pretend that we are experts here; we are learning alongside you. There are lots of activists and educators who have been working in the anti-racism field for a long time. Our plan (in the words of Meera Mohan-Graham) is to Absorb and Amplify those voices, and follow their lead. So, the items in this newsletter are mostly links and excerpts pointing you towards other resources.

As we all strive to learn, change, and act together, we invite you join the Manifold Angels Facebook group for connection throughout the journey. The work is just beginning. 


This is an (approximately) bi-weekly newsletter. One issue per month will be a deep dive into a particular issue (you can find links to these at the end of the newsletter). The alternating issues will be more personal/devotional, aiming to help build stamina and commitment for the ongoing work for racial justice. Thanks for joining us!
SEEK TO UNDERSTAND THIS:
Immigration Rights and Xenophobia

“A new study finds that “undocumented immigrants have considerably lower crime rates than native-born citizens and legal immigrants across a range of criminal offenses, including violent, property, drug, and traffic crimes.”

Unfounded accusations of criminality are a longstanding tool of racism and other forms of bigotry across a range of social categories.

Racism and bigotry are about power and status. Yet instead of openly admitting that some groups simply want power over others, most bigots find reasons that sound plausible to the uninformed — even if the reasons are completely untrue. Bigotry is much easier to market if it can masquerade as fighting crime.”

Excerpted from Ending Trump's Lies About Immigrants - FlaglerLive 

SEE THE CONNECTIONS

US immigration policy: A classic, unappreciated example of structural racism.  by Charles Kamasaki

“As we view images of families and unaccompanied children attempting to flee violence in their home countries for a better life here, one cannot help but wonder if they weren’t from Latin America but white immigrants from Europe, would they be treated differently?

Examining immigration policy through a systemic racism lens reveals that today’s largely Latino undocumented immigrants face far harsher consequences than white Europeans of years past for the same exact offense of unauthorized entry. A system that treats immigrants differently solely to their race is essentially the textbook definition of structural racism.”

“[...] from the early 1900s through the 1960s, millions of predominantly white immigrants entered the country unlawfully, but faced virtually no threat of apprehension or deportation. Businesses lawfully employed these immigrants, who were eligible for public benefits when they fell on hard times.

By contrast, the undocumented population today—mostly Latino and overwhelmingly people of color— none of the privileges accorded to previous generations of white immigrants. The toughening of immigration laws coincided with a shift of immigration from Europe to newcomers from Latin America, Asia, and Africa,[x] often in the context of racialized debates targeted mainly at Latinos. Researchers have documented how through the 1960s, racialized views of Mexicans shaped law and bureaucratic practice.”

 

CONSIDER THIS

The law that broke US immigration "Immigration looked very different before 1996, when President Bill Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). The law was supposed to stop undocumented immigration by increasing enforcement and punishing people for being in the US undocumented. Instead, it incentivized people to stay in the US — and the undocumented population doubled."

UNLEARN THIS

Eight Facts About Immigrants and Immigration "In an age of disinformation and bigotry, misconceptions about immigrants and anti-immigrant hate have spread throughout American politics and society. As a result, this country has seen a concerning uptick in rhetoric, policies, and social movements that threaten to or directly harm immigrants and refugees. This resource contains information and sources that set the record straight and will hopefully help mitigate the damage caused by disinformation about immigrants. 

The following are basic well-documented facts about immigrants, each discussed in more detail below:

  • Immigrants do not endanger public health.

  • Immigrants cannot vote until they become citizens.

  • Immigrants create jobs and improve the United States economy.

  • Most immigrants in the United States hold lawful status.

  • Throughout U.S. history, the percentage of immigrants has remained steady.

  • Immigrants are less likely than U.S.-born citizens to commit crimes or become incarcerated.

  • Immigrants are usually ineligible for social service benefits.

  • Terrorists have rarely entered the country illegally via the U.S.-Mexico border."

READ THIS

How Race Is Made in America examines Mexican Americans--from 1924, when American law drastically reduced immigration into the United States, to 1965, when many quotas were abolished--to understand how broad themes of race and citizenship are constructed. These years shaped the emergence of what Natalia Molina describes as an immigration regime, which defined the racial categories that continue to influence perceptions in the United States about Mexican Americans, race, and ethnicity.

The Dark Side: Immigrants, Racism, and the American Way. Thousands of immigrants from unique cultures who speak totally different languages came to find a better life in America. But they were never accepted by the dominate white Christians. The immigrants had to fight for the right to be in America. Racism, race riots, and genocide are integral parts of the lives of immigrants.

The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America. A forgotten, dark chapter of American history with implications for the current day, The Guarded Gate tells the story of the scientists who argued that certain nationalities were inherently inferior, providing the intellectual justification for the harshest immigration law in American history. Brandished by the upper class Bostonians and New Yorkers--many of them progressives--who led the anti-immigration movement, the eugenic arguments helped keep hundreds of thousands of Jews, Italians, and other unwanted groups out of the US for more than forty years.

The Extremist Campaign to Blame Immigrants for U.S. Environmental Problems Anti-immigrant rhetoric stemming from discredited pseudoscience has evolved into an extreme right-wing greenwashing effort that the modern conservation movement is right to reject.

Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric and Policy as Manifestations of Structural Racism—Implications for Advancing Health Equity 

WATCH THIS

Xenophobia in America: How we got here and what's at stake  | Erika Lee | TEDxMinneapolis America is called a "nation of immigrants," but it is also a nation of xenophobia. Historian Erika Lee explores the deep roots of xenophobia in America, why it's such a big problem today, and what we can do about it.

Nalini Krishnankutty: How Immigrants Shape(d) the United States Do immigrants need the United States, or does the United States need its immigrants? Writer, researcher, and first-generation immigrant American Nalini Krishnankutty showcases many surprising examples of traditions, businesses and ideas that are considered All-American today, but which owe their origins to first-generation immigrants. She examines whether Americans ever truly welcomed immigrants, and provides parallels between current anti-immigrant sentiments and similar feelings during other periods in US history. This talk uses immigrant history and contributions to start a dialogue, and shape attitudes towards immigrants that are in line with both the values and the interests of the United States.

Brandon Moran: "Dehumanization of Undocumented Immigrants" Brandon Moran, a first generation college student at St. Lawrence University, explains the process of dehumanizing undocumented immigrants through analyzing 4 American policies.

Watch Immigration Nation With unprecedented access to ICE operations, as well as moving portraits of immigrants, this docuseries takes a deep look at US immigration today.

LISTEN TO THIS

Legal Immigrant is Alan Cumming's collection of musings on his experiences as a US citizen, growing older, and what it feels like to be an immigrant in today's America, featuring songs and stories that are as eclectic and idiosyncratic as Alan himself. The audio, recorded live at the Minetta Lane Theatre, is a smorgasbord of genres, styles, and tales. Replete with laughter, tears and, of course, provocation, featuring covers of songs made famous by a diverse array of musical legends.

Introducing: Where We Come From Where are you really from? It's a question that immigrant communities of color across different generations are asked all the time. In this audio and video series, we take back the narrative and answer that question on our own terms, one conversation at a time — with family, friends and experts. 

Civics 101 Presents: Code Switch — Civics 101: A Podcast  When disease spreads, it often carries xenophobia with it. Civics 101 shares an episode of NPR's Code Switch that investigates the racist ideas that flare up around epidemics and pandemics, especially those about Asians and Asian-Americans.

DO THIS

“So when you hear a claim that a particular group of marginalized people are criminals, question it. What is the evidence for the claim? What is the evidence against the claim? Why is the person making the claim, and how will they benefit if people believe them?

If someone cites research, who performed the research, and who funded it? Do the funders have a financial stake in the research findings? Was it published in a peer-reviewed journal? Is the data publicly available for others to replicate the findings?”

Excerpt from Ending Trump's Lies About Immigrants - FlaglerLive

SUPPORT THIS

United We Dream | The Largest Immigrant Youth-Led Network When you're undocumented, you face a lot of discrimination, and that creates a lot of fear. At United We Dream, we transform that fear into finding your voice. We empower people to develop their leadership, their organizing skills, and to develop our own campaigns to fight for justice and dignity for immigrants and all people. This is achieved through immigrant youth-led campaigns at the local, state, and federal level.

Four Freedoms Fund™ strengthens the capacity of the immigrant justice movement to ensure all immigrants, regardless of immigration status, have dignity, power to shape change, and agency to determine the quality of their life, community, and future.

RISE Together Fund Across our nation, Black, African, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (BAMEMSA) communities face daily bias, discrimination, and intolerance from government, businesses, and individuals. Anti-Muslim bigotry coupled with xenophobia and White Christian nationalism threaten our commitment to building an inclusive democracy – one that not only accepts but embraces diverse faith traditions, cultures, and racial identities.

RISE Together Fund (RTF), an initiative of the Proteus Fund, works alongside impacted communities to advance their civil rights, fight for full inclusion, and promote their contributions to democracy, culture, and society. RISE Together Fund is the only national donor collaborative dedicated to supporting the BAMEMSA communities. With the support of our donor partners as well as our grantees and other allies, we will all achieve Rights, Inclusion, Solidarity, and Equity (RISE) Together.

National Immigration Law Center  Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants with low income.

Immigrants' Rights When the government has the power to deny legal rights and due process to one vulnerable group, everyone’s rights are at risk. The ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project is dedicated to expanding and enforcing the civil liberties and civil rights of immigrants and to combating public and private discrimination against them.

Plan, Issues, Immigration and Refugee Rights  Since the founding of the U.S., elected officials and others have tried to pit communities of color against each other, to divide their vote and power. But the grassroots have always championed immigrant justice as part of a larger struggle to advance racial justice.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

WITNESS Media Lab | Online Manipulation of Visual Content for Anti-Immigrant Propaganda A Twitter analysis by the WITNESS Media Lab shows how manipulation of image content and context online is used for anti-immigrant propaganda.

A Brief History of Anti-Immigrant Propaganda - Immigrant Archive Project While immigration is the starting point to almost every American family’s story, there’s always been a tendency among established residents to blame the latest immigrant wave for the nation’s most pressing problems, especially in response to difficult economic times and national security threats.

Anti-Immigrant: Southern Poverty Law Center. Anti-immigrant hate groups are the most extreme of the hundreds of nativist and vigilante groups that have proliferated since the late 1990s, when anti-immigrant xenophobia began to rise to levels not seen in the U.S. since the 1920s.

Mainstreaming Hate: The Anti-Immigrant Movement in the US: Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Before the extreme ideas of the anti-immigrant movement fully take root, the government, media and general public must take intentional steps to remove this ideology from tolerable discourse in America’s pluralistic society. The following policy recommendations are explored in depth in our report:

  • Enact Policies that Provide Legislative and Legal Protections for Immigrants and Refugees

  • Improve Federal Response to Hate Crimes

  • Build Trust Between Law Enforcement and Immigrant Communities

  • Cities and Towns Should Work to Be More Welcoming for Immigrants

  • Denounce Anti-Immigrant Bigotry, Racism and Xenophobia

  • Provide Students with Tools to Combat Hatred and Bigotry and Protect Immigrant Students

  • Expand Dialogue Between Civil Society and Tech Sector

 

FROM THE SPIRIT

God of mercy and compassion,
You gift us with family, friends and homeland--true marks of our identity.

Keep us ever mindful of those who suffer because of dispossession, homelessness and exile, who, through no fault or choice of their own, are forced to be pilgrims and strangers while others occupy their lands.

Grant us, we pray, a far-reaching mercy and compassion, that we may open our hearts and homes more fully in welcome and care for the strangers and refugees in our midst. 

Teach us Your ways of justice, peace and reconciliation. Grant us the strength and courage to face the systems, policies and structures of our day that divide the human family, and transform them with Your love. We ask this in your name. Amen.

(From: Our Prayers Rise Like Incense: Liturgies for Peace.)

Photo by Maria Orlova from Pexels

PREVIOUS ISSUES
Police Brutality
Intersectionality and LGBTQ Rights
White Privilege/White Fragility
Voting Rights and Voter Supression
Indigenous Rights
Racism in Education
Racism in Healthcare

Images of God

Anti-Racism Resources for Kids
Black History Month
Intersectional Feminism/Anti-Asian Racism
Environmental Racism
Microaggressions
Critical Race Theory
 

Just a note: the various viewpoints included in these newsletters (either by authors of content or the organizations they represent) do not necessarily represent the viewpoint or position of the Swedenborgian Church of North America (SCNA). The editors present them in the spirit of learning and reflection. 

(Editors: Rev. Shada Sullivan and Lori Gayheart)

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