BREAKING: Chicagoans Halt Loop Traffic with “Defund Police, Dismantle ICE” Blockade -Assata's Daughters Statement

As Immigration Authorities Raid Communities Nationwide, Chicago Says #Not1More

February 16, 2016 – Chicago, IL

Today Assata’s Daughters participated in an action of civil disobedience led by Organized Communities Against Deportation. We shut down the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office and the highway entrance ramp into Chicago during rush-hour morning traffic.

We did so as allies, we did so because we understand our struggles are connected, we did so because we were asked by friends, and we did so because it is our duty to love and support each other.

In recent months, ICE has increased their raids nationally. The Obama administration began 2016 with a new wave of arrests, specifically targeting Central American families. In one weekend in January, 121 people were taken into custody in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina, including many women and children. Assata’s Daughters is an intergenerational collective of Black women and girls, and we are enraged by the ways in which women and children are often targeted and devastated by the State. We recognize this as an extension of the same state violence we experience and resist

Undocumented people in Chicago and nationally are living in fear daily of being taken from their homes and away from their families. We, as Black American community organizers, can relate to that fear. Our communities experience that fear when Chicago Police Officers patrol our neighborhoods, stop and frisk us, occupy our schools, and arrest us in mass. Our families are kept apart by barbed-wire fences, our people exiled into cages.

The State continues to create ways in which to criminalize our people in the same ways it criminalizes Latino communities. The War on Drugs is a War on Black people and The War for Border Control is a war on undocumented people, and in the context of Chicago, on Latino people. We will not stand for this criminalization of our bodies and those of our brown allies.

And so today, we stand in solidarity with OCAD, united against enforcement and state sanctioned violence. We do so, humbly, as a collective of Black women mostly with documentation status privilege. We also do so as a collective of Black women with varied personal connections to the effects of racist immigration policies (from the mass deportation of people of Haitian descent by the Dominican Republic to the disproportionate targeting of Black immigrants in the United States, we know Black people throughout the diaspora are directly impacted by racist immigration policies). And finally, we do so as Black revolutionaries who deeply understand and appreciate the fight for our right to move freely and have self-determination.

On October 24th, 2015, OCAD stood in solidarity with us as we participated in an act of civil disobedience with the Black Youth Project 100 and other organizations to shutdown the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference. We called for a divestment of policing and for an investment in our Black communities. Chicago spends 40% of its budget on policing and routinely takes away social services from our communities. This city is over-policed and the police are over-funded. Nationally, the US spends $18 billion dollars on immigration enforcement—more than any other enforcement. Our communities of color are over-policed and policing is at the root cause of a lot of our communities’ harm. When enforcement is overfunded, that is money that is not being spent on services such as health care, education, mental healthcare and youth development programs—services that actually keep us safe, services that our neighboring white communities take for granted.

It is important to clearly name the enemy. At our IACP action we called out former Chicago Police Department Superintendent McCarthy and the Mayor Rahm Emmanuel for their investment in policing and specifically in their investment of policing Black communities. We called for their immediate resignation and/or firing. Today, with OCAD, we call out Ricardo Wong, ICE director, who has called for an increase of violent and destructive raids and deportations here in Chicago. He, like former Superintendent McCarthy, is responsible for a lot of harm. Yes, our fight is against systems, but there are individual actors who enforce these systems and who must be held accountable.

ICE uses anti-black rhetoric as a tactic in their raids, and city police departments comply with and often assist ICE. When undocumented families refuse to open their doors to ICE, ICE agents will often say they are the police looking for a “criminal,” at times proven through a photo of a Black person. They are intentionally evoking and reinforcing anti-blackness in Latino communities. In building with OCAD, we are actively combatting that manifestation of anti-blackness and disproving the myth that our communities do not seek to build and work together. For after all, both anti-blackness and settler colonialism, are deeply rooted in white supremacy—our main target. We believe that the muscle of white supremacy is containment, criminalization, and enforcement—as seen both in the CPD and in ICE.

Assata’s Daughters will continue to build with Organized Communities Against Deportation because of the intrinsic ways in which our struggles are connected. This doesn't mean we mistake our struggles as being the exact same: we know settler colonialism and anti-blackness are distinct, but united under white supremacy. However, we don't require solidarity to mean “we are the same.” Solidarity is as much to do with difference and self-reflection, as a shared commitment to end oppression. It is, at its best, a verb: It means the ongoing work of appreciating another communities oppression and resistance even when it has nothing to do with you, building deep relationships, developing shared analysis and strategy, taking action together, studying and being transparent about the ways we are complicit in each others oppression, showing up for each other and practicing accountability.

Today, tomorrow, the next day, we stand with our allies in OCAD against state sponsored violence. We call for an immediate end to ICE raids and deportations that destroy and tear apart families.


Follow #StoptheRaids, #Not1More, #NiUnaMas, and #StopICE on twitter for updates.

And check out OCAD here: