July 28, 2020

Families Belong Together Unveils Murals Celebrating Black Immigrant Families

New York, NY – Black immigrant artists unveiled murals in three cities— Houston (TX), Long Island (NY,) and Miami (FL), which celebrate Black immigrant families and illustrate that the journey to racial equity is far from over. The artists partnered with Families Belong Together, as part of the organization’s art collaborative project designed to use the power of art to galvanize communities across the nation into a powerful movement to permanently end family separation and detention. 

“Artistic projects of all kinds are part of the fabric of our society/culture and can carry a strong message with the ability to resonate with large audiences no matter what the medium,” said Kimberly Selden, lead cultural organizer with Families Belong Together. “As ICE continues to deport immigrants and separate families in the wake of COVID-19, these murals represent a new narrative that illustrates the fight for the values that connect us – dignity, care, love, and respect.”  

This project comes at an urgent moment, as Black and non-Black immigrant communities face non-stop attacks and violence from police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Trump administration simultaneously. 

On June 26, US District Judge Dolly Gee ordered ICE to release migrant children from family detention centers by July 17. This deadline was extended to July 27 but it still remains unclear how ICE will implement Gee’s order to release all migrant children. As the order only applies to releasing children, immigrant families are facing irreparable harm in being forced to choose between family separation or continued detention of children.

In the midst of the racial reckoning currently underway in the United States the powerful imagery these artists offer provides insight into all that we must not return to and all that we must build to become a safer, stronger and more just country.  

  • In Long Island, Haitian-American artist Marie E Saint-Cyr has created a mural in Wyandanch focused on the growth of a Black woman, inspired by her immigration journey from Haiti to New York.
  • Chukwunonso Ofili, a Nigerian-American artist, has painted a mural in Houston which highlights the potential paths a young Black girl can explore when she receives support from her family unit. 
  • Jonathan Desrosiers, a Haitian-American artist, has created a mural in Miami focused on the bond between a mother, father and their child to highlight the foundation of this relationship and the importance of keeping families together.

“Anti-immigration sentiment is fundamentally rooted in anti-Black sentiment in terms of who does and does not have the right to be a citizen,” continued Selden. “All immigrants have the right to receive assistance, the right to protection from abuse and the freedom to seek asylum, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”   

The murals are located at the following locations:

The photos and video can be found here.

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The Families Belong Together coalition includes nearly 250 different groups comprising tens of thousands of Americans from all backgrounds who have joined together to fight family separation and anti-immigrant policies. Led by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, MoveOn, the ACLU, FWD.us and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Families Belong Together coalition organized the National Day of Action that saw hundreds of thousands of people protest the family separation policy and other immigration policies at more than 780 events in all 50 states. The coalition is at the forefront of the fight to permanently end family separation and incarceration and immediately reunite all families who remain torn apart.