Meet Tia Oso with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, AKA BAJI. As part of our support to local progressive NGOs working in Arizona, we developed this short Q&A to highlight the inspirational people and to understand what, exactly grassroots organizers could use the Netroots Nation’s support on.
This is what Tia said.
Why do you work on immigration/migration issues?
BAJI’s mission is to educate an advocate for migrant rights as a racial justice issue. The systems that drive migration must be addressed to combat economic and social injustice. As the daughter of a Nigerian immigrant and African-American woman, born and raised in Arizona, a state that had to fight just to honor Martin Luther King, I know how truly connected our progress is across communities. African-American struggles for liberation paved the way for immigrant rights, and we must continue to build on these connections to make change, as all of these fights continue.
What have you learned over the course of time that you wish other organizers and community members also knew?
That the issues facing marginalized communities are deeply connected and rooted in systemic oppression and that we must build at the intersections, address systems as well as build community power to resist. Our solidarity must be transformational, not transactional if we are to win.
How can we as a group support your work?
Mass criminalization is the most pressing issue of our day. Watch our video “The Real Crime” to understand how incarceration, detention and deportation of Black and Brown people is designed to decimate our communities. BAJI’s Executive Director, Opal Tometi, is a co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, ideas and messaging are very important in addressing structural racism, our culture of anti-Blackness and discrimination. Support BAJI’s education and advocacy initiatives, which are a focused on exposing root causes and connecting movements to build a multiracial democracy that works for us all.
#AZDispatch is a Netroots Nation project created to expose some of the most unjust practices in our current immigration system and to elevate the stories and voices of local activists fighting back against those practices. Click here to sign up for our AZDispatch Action list.