We Belong Together Virtual Delegation to Tennessee
5.7.2012 | NDWA
On May 3rd, hundreds of women from across the country took a virtual trip to Tennessee for the We Belong Together Delegation. We Belong Together is an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and others, to bring attention to the ways in which unjust immigration laws affect women, children and families.
We Belong Together was invited to Knox County, Tennessee by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and by the group Knoxville United against Racism: Alto 287g. These two groups and others are engaged in high,stakes organizing to block a proposed partnership between the Knox County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) and federal officials on immigration enforcement.
This was our first “virtual delegation” and it allowed us to share stories from Tennessee with people from all over the country. NDWA member organizations organized listening parties across the country, from Boston to San Antonio and Los Angeles.
The delegation featured a listening session with women directly impacted by unjust immigration practices from across Tennessee. During the listening session, the women told heartbreaking stories of separation, loss, and fear. Many of these women are domestic workers, mothers, and caregivers. They work long hours for low pay, often spending long days away from their children so that they can provide them with a better life.
We heard the stories of mothers, daughters and sisters: Cynthia and two of her sisters are US citizens, her parents and older sister are undocumented. The family is divided in two, and Cynthia feels the impacts of this division on a daily basis. In 2009, when she was about to graduate from high school, Cynthia’s father was detained by ICE. When he was in the ICE van, he called Cynthia from his cell phone because he didn’t want to worry her mother, and because he knew that Cynthia, a US citizen, was the one who could speak out about his case. Cynthia has always been close to her father, and his detention was a huge blow.
Like many of our members across the country, Cynthia and other the women who spoke as part of the listening session bear the brunt of the anti-immigrant policies that destroy our families and attack our dignity.
The stories they told were heartbreaking, but they were also stories of strength, courage, perseverance, and resistance.
For more information about the listening session and to read the stories, click here.