‘As a black man, I am afraid to live in the United States’

07 Jun 2020 | 03:38

    Dear volunteers, supporters and friends,

    These are the heartbreaking words one of our immigrant friends spoke following the recent murder of George Floyd by the police. Our friend had fled danger in his country of birth, made his way to “the land of the free” and spent years in detention making his case for asylum. Currently facing the last stage of his asylum case, he would now prefer to lose the case rather than live here.

    These words are tragic because our immigrant friends are often the staunchest believers in the stated American values, including fair treatment under the law, no matter what your race or creed. That is why our friends surmount innumerable obstacles and dangers to come to the United States. To hear these words from one of our detained friends shows how far America has fallen from our stated ideals.

    However, there is hope. Now that all the officers involved in the death of Mr. Floyd have been charged, we are cautiously optimistic. Inspired by the outpouring of outrage and support, we anticipate that more Americans will move to advance our deeply broken society to one that truly believes that all persons are created equal, and have an equal right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    As an organization dedicated to upholding the inherent dignity and humanity of detained immigrants and asylum seekers, we are hopeful that this new understanding will extend to the fair and equitable treatment our immigrant friends. We pray that our friend wins his asylum case. And that he is released from detention into a new America where he can feel safe to live as a man of color.

    On behalf of the board of trustees, I wanted to thank our volunteers, supporters and friends, for all you do to advocate for social and racial justice, for our immigrant friends and for Americans of all races.

    I look forward to working with you as we seek to be a friend to all—to those who come to the United States seeking a better life and to those already here, struggling against racial injustice.

    Sincerely,

    Andrea Wren-Hardin

    Board Chair

    First Friends of NJ & NY

    Our Mission

    The mission of First Friends of NJ and NY is to uphold “the inherent dignity and humanity of detained immigrants and asylum seekers. We provide compassion and hope through volunteer visitation, resettlement assistance and advocacy.” For more information, visit firstfriendsnjny.org.