The Black Institute’s (TBI) Generation Project (The G Project) is an innovative public awareness campaign that focuses entirely on Black Immigrants and the contributions that they have made to this country. The G Project is different from other grassroots efforts centered on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) and Black Immigration because instead of focusing on the perceived ills of immigration, and the supposed divide that it has created in the Black Community, it focuses on the positive aspects of immigration – success and achievement in an effort to help galvanize support for CIR and Black Immigration.
Most demographic discussions of politics or social policy that involve race center on the classification of any Black in the U.S. as African American. However, it is estimated that there are over 60 million first and second generation African Americans with immigrant backgrounds. The changing demographics of the U.S. population are not only browning, but the political and social impact of African Americans from immigrant backgrounds will also have a profound effect on government, the economy and social constructs. The African American vote for the first time exceeded the White vote in 2012. Who are these African Americans and can we identify their backgrounds? The call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform was put into stark relief by the impact it would have on the Latino vote in the future. The changing demographics in this country demand that we examine the African American vote and voters.
What is A “G”?
Simply put, a “G” is A Black Immigrant - an African, Caribbean, or Afro Latino person, who has immigrated to the US from another country (Africa, Europe, The Caribbean, or South America). Of course, you have your 0-G’s, those who were born in native lands and then migrated to the US; your G-1’s who are the sons and daughters of blacks who immigrated to the US; your G-2’s, those who are the grandsons and granddaughters of blacks who immigrated to the US; and finally your G-3’s who are the great grandsons and great granddaughters of blacks who immigrated to the US.
What is TBI’s “G” Project?
What we have learned from our years of organizing black immigrants and running our own black immigration campaigns is that there is a deep immigration closet. Meaning, Black Immigrants are identified by others, and even sometimes by themselves as Black Americans. The most profound example of this can be found by reflecting on the Black Immigration rally that we had this past March, where more than four of our Black Congressional Caucus members announced on stage that their parents and grandparents were in fact Black Immigrants. This means that these four highly educated, very successful Black Leaders that many of us look up to are the descendants of Black Immigrant and by our definition are G-1s and G-2s!!
Since that day in March, we have come across hundreds of other successful, high profile G’s - activists, community leaders, clergy, entertainers, professional athletes, authors, journalists, scientists, academics, and of course politicians, and have solicited many of them to sign-on as ambassadors and/or supporters of this very important project.
The G Project will raise public awareness about the many contributions that these successful Black Immigrants have made to this country by simply Identifying Black Americans who are either immigrants themselves or have immigrant parents, grandparents or great grandparents and showcasing their contributions to this country. Many individuals believed to be Black Americans, are actually Black Immigrants, or descendants of Black immigrants and not descendants of black slaves. We believe that acknowledging and recognizing this fact is an important step in birthing another important narrative about what it means to be Black in America. A narrative that hopefully proves beneficial in bridging the gap between Black Americans and Black Immigrants.
Through The G Project, TBI will improve the climate for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) in the Black Community and develop a unifying message that resonates throughout the Black community regarding the importance of standing in solidarity to support and advocate for CIR that is inclusive of the Black Immigrant perspective.