miami

Highlights fro BAJI Miami

Accomplishments

  • Opened an office in Miami this year
  • BAJI participated in coalition groups against gentrification affecting majority Black immigrant communities. We met with lawyers and leaders in Little Haiti to determine community benefits to four major developments coming into the neighborhood. Because of the displacement, rise in grocery prices and rent etc, it was our goal for the community to get the benefits they deserve. We also made sure that people who live in the area will be given priority to incoming jobs. 
  • This year, BAJI strengthened our relationship with partners in the community such as Haitian Women in Miami, FLIC, and Miami Workers Center on immigration related issues, particularly TPS and Liberian DED.
  • BAJI was also a part of the Circle of Protection group that made regular visits to an ICE facility where people are required to check in about their status. Folks arrive there early – although entry is not guaranteed – and the facility has poor hygiene conditions with no bathrooms, water or food. Our group provides water, snacks, toys for the kids, and we talk to adults about their status and ways we can potentially help.  

Years’ Campaigns and Programs

  • BAJI’s main campaign is fighting against SB168, a proposed bill that would allow ICE to apprehend people in schools, when pulled over etc. In order for this bill to die on the floor, we need 3 Republicans to vote ‘no.’ We recently went to Tallahassee to speak to lawmakers about this anti-immigrant bill and its harmful implications, as well as organize a rally, march and press conference.
  • The fight against gentrification remains in the Miami area. BAJI canvases door to door in affected neighborhoods to provide the latest information to residents and invite community members to commission meetings to hear what’s going on from developers. This gives members a chance to know what’s going on and give their input on a bi-weekly basis.

Upcoming Year Goals

  • BAJI is committed to deepen our connections with young people in the Miami area. We are partnering with youth-led organizations such as Power U and FLIC to gain a better understanding of the issues youth face and how we can support. Our goal is to launch legal clinics at different high schools in our neighborhood to support and check on undocumented youths’ status. This way we can engage with youth one on one and help them find programs that they may be eligible for to change their status.
  • BAJI is fighting to establish a community benefits package (CBA) for members affected by gentrification in our neighborhoods. Miami building codes indicate that buildings with more than 10 floors must have this CBA available.
  • Our work continues to support TPS, DED and find a path to citizenship for those who are undocumented.

Challenges

  • There are certainly challenges in working in the community. Among those are finding support and key leaders to help push the work forward. Folks are willing to do the work, but they have difficulty finding the time to do so. Fighting on your own has its difficulties, and so we participate in coalitions to support our initiatives. 
  • A limited capacity affects the work we do. We serve four counties; Dade, Palm Beach, Broward and we simply need more staff capacity/support. It would be ideal to have a team member in a different county.

Membership

  • New members are recruited at events across the city. We have organic conversations about the work we do, who we support and what we aim to achieve. Once we establish a connection, we follow up one on one and invite potential members to any events, meetings or campaigns we are a part of. 
  • A large part of our members hear about us on the radio. We go on immigrant-led radio stations where we talk about our work.