African Immigrants Join Fight for Social Justice in America

The plight of black people in the United States is well documented. In fact, it started with slavery, centuries before the country was founded. Slavery ended in the United States following the Civil War. But that would no be the end of the suffering of African Americans. Jim Crow laws were enacted in the southern states, which had fought against the abolition of slavery and lost. The era of segregation and systemic racist violence and lynchings of black people lasted from 1877 to 1960. Segregation should have ended with the President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing or the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Even though white people began to talk about being in “post race” America, black people continued to face systemic racism. White Americans changed tactics and began to discriminate within the limits of the law. White people fled to the suburbs and left black people in poor neighborhoods struggling to educate their children in schools that had inadequate funding. For decades, banks denied black people loans buy property and build wealth and improve their neighborhoods like white people did. The came down harder on black people, especially men, which led to disproportionate numbers of them in prison. That continues even today, with black people not getting away with even the pettiest of crimes, as evidenced by the death in the hands of Minneapolis Police of George Floyd, whose suspected crime was attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill.

The million dollar question is: What does America fear the success of African Americans? Why does the freedom of African American seemingly threaten white people? Are they afraid that if black people are allowed the same freedoms they will outshine them in everything? That’s not an unreasonable question to ask, considering that history has shown that whenever black people have been let into careers they were formerly forbidden to, they have outdone white people by far. Jackie Robinson, the Williams sisters, Tiger Woods, basketball, football — all those are examples of black excellence.

The racism against American-born black people is not confined to them. It affects all black people and people of color. To white people, we are all the same; we are all the scary-looking, poorly educated, drug-using, dope-dealing thugs they have to look out for everyday.

Africa immigrants have also realized that racism doesn’t spare them. That’s why recently, they have united across the country to show support for African Americans. One such protest was an African immigrant caravan held in Oakland, Calif., organized by Nigerians in Northern California, a small group that is part of a larger non-profit organization called the Nigerian-American Public Affairs Committee. The Nigerians in Northern California felt the need to stand with African Americans in the struggle for social justice, like African Americans did when African countries were fighting for their independence from European empires.

The people who answered the call to action weren’t only Nigerians. Africans form Liberia, Kenya, and South Africa joined the caravan that began in West Oakland and ended in East Oakland. There were even non Africans — Whites, Asians, people of mixed races — all calling for social justice and the end of racism sanctioned by the states through law enforcement officers.

As those interviewed stressed, this is everyone’s fight. All of the said they had faced some form of racial discrimination at one time or another while living in America, and almost all have children who they wanted to see grow and live in a society that looks at them like human beings.