BLACK IMMIGRANTS FIND CAMARADERIE, DIVIDE AMID PROTESTS

Inspired by the global protests against systemic racism and police brutality, Nigerian American blogger Nifesimi Akingbe donned a black shirt that read “I am Black history,” and began recording a video.

Akingbe then went on to list her frustrations about racism in America and directed her message to Black immigrant communities like her own: This is your battle, too.

Akingbe, of suburban Baltimore, is among the many young Black immigrants or children of immigrants who say they are speaking out for racial equity while also trying to convince older members of their communities that these issues should matter to them, too.

To be sure, most Black immigrants have experienced the brutal legacy of European colonization, and those from Latin American and Caribbean nations have a history of slavery in their own countries.

In the U.S., from the civil rights movement to the current Black Lives Matter demonstrations, there have also been generational tensions in the African American community when it comes to taking a stand against racism.

Like Akingbe, fellow Nigerian American Ade Okupe has been having conversations with older immigrants in hopes that they will see police brutality as something that also affects them.

This has led to ethnic enclaves across the U.S. West African communities are dominant in New York City, Ethiopians have made their mark in the Washington, D.C., area, and Black immigrants from the Caribbean are prominent in Florida and New York City.

The global protest movement sparked by Floyd’s death came eight years after the police shooting death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, the son of a Jamaican immigrant, in the Bronx.

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