LOS ANGELES, CA - From Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22, undocumented young people, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and community leaders from the Black and Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrant communities convened in the greater Los Angeles area for a three-day long conference. This conference, titled Woori Ujima, woori meaning “our” in Korean and ujima meaning “collective work and responsibility” in Swahili, was spearheaded by the UndocuBlack Network and NAKASEC & Affiliates, Korean Resource Center (KRC) of Southern California and HANA Center of Greater Chicago. The conference was held in Los Angeles, which was the location where the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest took place, also called Los Angeles Uprising in recognition of its nature as protest against police brutality against black people - specifically the beating of Rodney King, as well as a history of violence and repression against people of color.
The Director of the UndocuBlack Network, Jonathan Jayes-Green said, “As an organization committed to the dignity, humanity and wellbeing of our people, it’s really important we build intentional and genuine relationships and a shared political analysis with folks who believe in our vision. This weekend was a continuation of our work together and look forward to building towards a world where all of us are free.”
Over the three days, “Woori Ujima” cultivated a communal space where Black and AAPI immigrants could understand how each community differently and similarly navigated America within the historical and current context of immigration policy, build intentional community, and determine concrete next steps for collaborative immigrant justice work.
Christine, Immigrant Rights Campaign Coordinator with KRC said, “The Woori Ujima conference was a beautiful display of solidarity and community building. We had deep discussions about our histories as Black and Asian immigrants and life-changing moments such as 1992’s LA Uprising. Although there was a lot of tension between our communities following the Uprising, we will continue to move forward and learn from each other.”
Timone, a member of the UndocuBlack Network reflected, “Before this conference, I had no idea that there were laws restricting Asian migration. I appreciated that we shared our stories and experiences on the impact of racism on each of our communities; and that we are gaining tools to debunk false narratives of each other. The Woori Ujima conference was an important space for us to build power toward our collective freedom.”
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Sam Yu, syu [at] nakasec.org (NAKASEC)
Ashley Yu, 323-212-4188, ashley [at] krcla.org (Korean Resource Center)
Nekessa Opoti, nekessa [at] undocublack.org (UndocuBlack Network)
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