What is #FreedomCities?
In contrast to the imposed vision of safety as policing, borders, deportations, and incarceration, we envision safety as equal access to decent work (economic security), education, affordable housing and healthcare. In reimagining safety and belonging, those who are oppressed for being people of color, immigrants, women, Muslim, LGBTQ, workers, youth, undocumented, currently and formerly incarcerated, and having disabilities, will build power from the bottom up to create a world of justice, liberation, dignity and safety. We will create communities of unity without fear and hate, and we will keep power in the hands of our communities.
The idea of a Freedom City seeks safety and liberation for and defined by all: immigrants—documented or undocumented, people with criminal convictions, workers, gender nonconforming folks, the poor, people with disabilities, Muslims, women, and all people of color.
Why a movement?
Freedom City recognizes that we must build diverse coalitions that expand who is being protected so that our entire communities are protected and are united as one. The cold-blooded police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner are part of the same web of mass criminalization that targets immigrants with convictions and fuels the violent reincarnations of policies such as Secure Communities immigration enforcement program (now PEP). The for-profit Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) provides the perfect vehicle to violently exploit, abuse, profit off and control communities of color and immigrants, and it is expanding. Drug and immigration offenses are landing an ever-increasing number of people behind bars. Resources are poured into increasingly militarized policing and detention instead of into what communities need to thrive: good work, housing, education, healthcare, and freedom.
Our resistance goes beyond demanding that our municipalities end collaborating with immigration. When we demand an end to ICE-Police collaboration, we are also demanding the dismantling of the entire system of mass incarceration and systematic police brutality. When we demand safety for immigrants we are also unequivocally demanding safety for all people of color, for women, for queer and trans people, for gender nonconforming people, for Muslims, for people with disabilities, for people with criminal convictions, and for all oppressed people. We will not allow others to tell or to define for us the meaning of our safety and survival.
Our movement will not stop here. It will spread because now more than ever we need to organize together. We need to reach out not only in solidarity, but be working together for one long term goal. We must engage in international transformational movement building.