New York Immigration Coalition
Stories of Impact
With immigrants from all over the world making up almost 40% of Brooklyn residents, it’s impossible to talk about the need for equity and justice in our borough without talking about immigrants’ rights. With the increase in immigrants and asylum seekers moving to the New York area, there’s been no shortage of fear mongering and finger pointing that keep our communities divided and our immigrant neighbors unsupported. What often gets lost in the fray is that immigrants are the lifeblood of our communities — they always have been and always will be.
New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) — which includes nearly 200 member organizations — is at the frontlines of ensuring that Brooklyn’s immigrant populations have the resources they need to flourish in the place they call home. Founded in 1987, NYIC’s work is necessary for improving the policies and systems that shape the broad contours of immigrant communities.
This means connecting like-minded grassroots organizations, spearheading new campaigns, and ensuring that elected officials are held accountable by their communities. “At NYIC, we believe our strength comes from working as a collective, bridging gaps at the local level, and bringing people together from different religions, cultures, and walks of life to work towards a shared vision of what their communities need and deserve,” said Murad Awawdeh, NYIC’s Executive Director.
Since its founding, NYIC has created five regional offices and has expanded its focus areas to include not just immigration law and policy, but some of the most salient issues affecting immigrant communities the most, including:
- Health: Advancing immigrants’ access to quality health care.
- Education: Improving education for immigrant families and students.
- Immigrant rights: Supporting immigration reform and immigrant workers’ rights.
- Civic participation: Promoting immigrants’ political rights and civic participation.
200 member organizations make up New York Immigration Coalition
Over the years, Brooklyn Org has supported numerous initiatives by the coalition. In 2017 BKO supported their city-wide collaboration with immigrant rights organizations and the “This is Our New York” response initiative, which was launched in the weeks following the November 2016 presidential election included outreach and education, legal services, response to hate crimes, advocacy and organizing, and media campaigns around immigrant rights.
Its goal was to guard against potentially damaging anti-immigration policies that might be put into place by then-President Donald Trump. “BKO has been great at supporting people of color,” Awawdeh reflected. “What’s more, it has been a strong supporter of our efforts to ensure that Brooklyn immigrant communities have the support that they need, and are able to unite and demand justice, equity, and fairness from the city as well as the state.”
Brooklyn Org has been a strong supporter of our efforts to ensure that Brooklyn immigrant communities have the support that they need, and are able to unite and demand justice, equity, and fairness from the city as well as the state.Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director
“If COVID has shown us anything, it’s that we have an enormous amount of work to do on top of the work we were doing before,” Awawdeh shared. “And the only thing that’s holding Brooklyn back from its greatness is actually getting the real investment it needs from the local and state government. We have to ensure that people — regardless of where they were born or their immigration status — not only survive, but are able to thrive. We are only as strong as our collective and healthy as our neighbor.”