The UndocuBlack Network has been recognized by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) with the prestigious 2023 Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award for outstanding service in advancing the cause of human rights.
The UndocuBlack Network, a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black immigrants, has dedicated its work and mission to empowering and uplifting Black undocumented immigrants by challenging marginalizing narratives around Black migration and advocating for policies that positively impact the UndocuBlack community and its wellness.
Founded in 2016, the UndocuBlack Network strives to secure truly inclusive immigrant rights and racial justice movements that advocate for the rights of Black undocumented individuals, provide healing spaces and community to those with intersecting identities. In April 2023, UndocuBlack Network was the winner of the Frederick Douglass award. UndocuBlack and AILA have partnered several times recently to provide essential educational resources and an informed perspective on the unjust circumstances surrounding immigration policy with regard to Black immigrant communities. UndocuBlack was featured in a recent AILA roundtable, “Immigration is a Black Issue,” facilitated by AILA former President Allen Orr in honor of Black History Month.
Further, UndocuBlack has taken a leadership role in national and international campaigns, including the fight for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians and the network has been instrumental in securing the largest form of legislative relief in over two decades to secure immigration relief for Liberians in 2019, aiding 10,000 Liberians to now have a more secure footing in their communities through the passage of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act. The organization has worked closely with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on efforts to pass the Dream Act as well. Another major stand-out program is UndocuBlack’s intentional development of a mental wellness program for its members to improve access to much-needed health resources by the Black undocumented community who suffer from racist immigration policy and the trauma of fleeing violence and devastation in their home countries. Their work has directly resulted in positive change in the area of human rights.
Moreover, the UndocuBlack Network has spearheaded multiple campaigns to secure Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
The UndocuBlack is a part of numerous initiatives to create and hold space for its membership and with the Black immigrant community at large. The network has been actively creating community spaces that are open to members to have discourse on their collective Black immigrant experiences, community training to help arm constituents with important information and tools to launch community kickbacks and programs that offer an opportunity to rest and interact with others that understand the ‘undocublack’ story.
The Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award, named after Arthur Helton – lawyer, refugee advocate, teacher and author – has been established and presented annually since 1983 and was renamed in 2003. The award has been presented In recognition of outstanding service in advancing the cause of human rights by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
The UndocuBlack Network has also been recognized by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG).
UndocuBlack “is a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access to resources, and contributes to transforming the realities of our people, so we are thriving and living our fullest lives.”
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