Washington, D.C. – Today, immigrant youth from United We Dream, in partnership with Tsuru for Solidarity, honored the resilience of immigrant families who have been impacted by detention, deportation, police brutality, and COVID-19 by establishing the first of its kind Immigrant Day of Resilience. The Day of Resilience was marked by the unveiling of a mural by Shirien Damra located outside DC’s Family Market in Ward 4 where speakers shared their stories of how detention, deportation, police brutality, and COVID-19 have impacted them and their families. DC Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, along with several other Councilmembers, also introduced a ceremonial resolution to recognize the day officially as Immigrant Day of Resilience.
Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream, said:
“Black, brown and immigrant communities have suffered immense trauma under racist policies and agencies like ICE, CBP, and the police. The lives of undocumented people, brown people, immigrants, and especially Black people, have always demanded incredible resilience and strength. The recent and tragic murder of Daunte Wright at the hands of Brooklyn Center police is an all too frequent reminder of the anti-Blackness and white supremacy that pervades all levels of enforcement. This trauma will not heal overnight.
While we will never forget the pain our communities have and continue to face, our healing, joy, and empowerment require a fierce discipline of hope that transforms this pain into power and beauty. As a community, we will always fight to protect one another. The establishment of the first of its kind Immigrant Day of Resilience in the same place where Trump once unleashed CBP agents to try to suppress our defense for Black lives is a reminder of our strength, our unstoppable commitment to protect each other, and our continued fight to defund ICE, CBP, and the police so that our communities can thrive.”
Edder, Member of United We Dream and individual featured in the mural, said:
“It’s been three years since I’ve been able to hug my mom and sister. After being detained and facing ongoing abuse inside the ICE Stewart Detention Center for nearly five months and having my DACA status rescinded, I was forced to leave the U.S. and have been in Mexico ever since.
Immigrants want to have stability and live without fear of being persecuted just like everyone else. Until ICE and CBP are defunded and a pathway to citizenship is passed, undocumented immigrants —including those with DACA or other forms of temporary protections— will always be vulnerable to detention and deportation. The Senate must immediately pass the Dream, Secure and Farm Workforce Modernization bills and allow me, and others just like me, the ability to finally reunite with our families in the U.S.”
Satsuki Ina, Co-chair of Tsuru for Solidarity and individual featured in the mural, said:
“As we introduce the first Immigrant Day of Resilience, I can’t help but think of my grandfather, Mitsui – an Issei who came to America, escaping poverty in Nagano-ken with hopes of fulfilling the familiar immigrant dream. As a section laborer for the Great Northern Railroad, my grandfather shared stories of how Japanese laborers worked under terrible and dangerous conditions, all while enduring physical and emotional abuse. Years later, my family and I -along with tens of thousands of other people of Japanese ancestry- were forcibly removed from our home and held in U.S. concentration camps during WWII because of our ethnicity. Some families, like mine, were cruelly separated while imprisoned.
I’m grateful that my grandfather never gave up despite the pain and trauma he faced, and I carry the same determination and will, understanding that my strength is rooted in my ancestors and those who have fought to be here. Gambarimashō!”
Shirien Damra, social justice illustrator and designer of the Immigrant Day of Resilience mural, said:
“Satsuki, Edder, Joella, and countless other immigrants have risked everything to break the chains of oppression and fight for a brighter world where beauty can bloom. I feel blessed and humbled to have been able to create the artwork to honor the strength, resilience, and power of all immigrant communities who have fought for a more just world.
Coming from a family of Palestinian refugees forcibly displaced from our homeland, I know all too well that so many immigrants come to this country fleeing corruption, imperialism, settler-colonialism, and genocide in their home countries.
The struggle for immigrant rights is inherently connected to the struggle for racial justice, as anti-immigrant policies, detention and deportation remain rooted in anti-Blackness and white supremacy. We deserve to re-imagine a world where immigrants can live freely and as their full selves.”