What Southeast Asian Refugees Owe to Black Lives — PIVOT – The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization

I was put on this by a friend of mne, an Angoleira named Xau Ying Ly.
As usual, you can find the link to the full article on the bottom of this post.
“Two decades before the first Southeast Asian refugees resettled in the United States, Black civil rights activists advanced the policies that helped reshape immigration policies that have saved our families. Their efforts culminated in the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which codified equality, anti-discrimination, and anti-racism as our country’s official policy.
Black civil rights leaders also had a direct hand in advocating for Southeast Asian refugees. Bayard Rustin, a Black and gay civil rights leader who co-organized the March on Washington, was a member of the International Rescue Committee’s Citizens Commission on Indochinese Refugees. Rustin visited refugee camps in Thailand in 1978, listening to the struggles of Cambodian, Hmong, Lao, and Vietnamese refugees. In part due to Rustin’s advocacy, President Carter supported a policy that rescued Southeast Asian refugees who had been turned away elsewhere.
Rustin also took on the difficult task of changing the mind of public opinion. Through national organizing, he convinced over 80 Black civil rights, organized labor, business, and academic leaders to publicly support the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees. They took out an advertisement in the March 19, 1978 issue of The New York Times, soliciting donations for the International Rescue Committee, and connecting the plight of refugees to those of poor and Black Americans. Among the signatories are giants such as Coretta Scott King; Rev. Jesse Jackson; Daisy Bates; Hazel N. Dukes; and A. Phillip Randolph.
Within the Black community, Rustin responded to objections that refugees would only take away desperately needed jobs and housing by explaining the humanitarian crisis, going as far as calling the Southeast Asian refugee relegated to precarity the new ‘invisible man.’ This invisible man, formulated by the legendary Ralph Ellison, is one who is not seen for who they are as an individual, but only as a subset of stereotypes.
Our fight for resettlement is over, but the fight for the civil rights of Black people continues. In May of 1978, regarding the plight of Southeast Asian refugees, Rustin wrote: ‘Black people must recognize these people for what they are: brothers and sisters, not enemies and competitors.’ They were there for us, and we should be there for them: it is our turn to stand up for Black lives, not out of a debt that needs repaying, but out of decency.”

 

Source: What Southeast Asian Refugees Owe to Black Lives — PIVOT – The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization

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