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AFRICAN COMMUNITIES TOGETHER 

African Immigrants & Refugees Building Economic Security.

African Communities Together (ACT) is an organization of Africans from across the continent fighting for immigrant and refugee rights. ACT empowers African immigrants by encouraging civic and social engagement with the goal of economic advancement. ACT helps immigrants receive legal protection, develop their own businesses, make use of their existing language skills, earn college scholarships and provides opportunities for advocacy.

In 2016, ACT’s Temporary Protected Status campaign won a one-year extension to this humanitarian immigration program and a waiver of renewal fees, enabling 4,000 immigrants from the Ebola-stricken nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to retain their immigration status and work authorization for an additional year, and save approximately $2 million in renewal fees. Immediately following  the current administration’s refugee ban and cuts to asylum settlement, ACT and allies organized a 24-hour rally called “City of Refuge” to support refugees and humanitarian immigration policies.

Guiding Vision: African Communities Together's vision is one of full inclusion: a place where there is safety, opportunity, and community for all. In particular, ACT seeks to create a community where its constituency — immigrants from Africa and their families — have the opportunity to participate equally in society, to earn a dignified living to support themselves and contribute to communities of origin, and have voices heard in the political process.

Results:

  • Temporary Protected Status Campaign: ACT advocated and won a campaign for a one-year extension of the temporary protected status granted to citizens of countries affected by the Ebola crisis.
  • Draft and introduce federal legislation that reflects a positive, proactive vision for humanitarian immigration policies for refugees, detainees, people with TPS, and asylum seekers
  • African Language Services Worker Cooperative: In response to the lack of language access, ACT is developing an African Language Services worker cooperative. The co-op will provide underemployed, multilingual African immigrants to build a worker-owned business; find employment as interpreters, translators, and language instructors; and help remove language barriers for community members with limited English. Workers who seek to join participate in a 12-week co-op academy and professional interpreter training. This cooperative highlights ACT’s approach to work at the intersection of immigration, language access and jobs.
  • Language Access Campaign: Successfully advocated for New York City's city language access policy to include four additional languages including French and Arabic.

Follow up the success of this campaign to insure full implementation and explore new languages that can be add to the State language access policy.