The immigrant heroes of 2020
Felicia J. Persaud | 12/31/2020, midnight
Last year, I began a tradition of naming Immigrant Heroes who made a mark in 2019. This year, I round out the year by continuing this tradition, but this time by choosing groups of immigrants, who in my opinion, made a mega difference in this pandemic year. Here are my three picks for the Immigrant Hero of the Year Award for 2020.
1: New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
On Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, Two Jamaican immigrants walked out of the basement of the Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia, where they had sought and received sanctuary for 843 days, thanks to the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia.
Oneita and Clive Thompson, who have seven children, three of whom are American citizens, had been facing deportation since 2018, under the draconian Trump administration policies. The Tabernacle United Church, which is one of the faith groups within the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia that defends against the Trumpian attack on sanctuary cities, took up their case and gave them shelter and legal help. On Dec. 21, 2020, the Thompsons were able to finally walk out free because the U.S. government has stopped their deportation push against them, after one of their American-born daughters turned 21 and was able to file for her parents.
The New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia and all of the churches supporting the movement are the true hands and feet of Christ in an often cold, dark world and for that, they are one of the Top Three Immigrant Heroes of 2020.
2: The immigrant frontline workers of the pandemic
One of the more positive aspects of America, even if still underreported and unappreciated, is the fact that immigrant workers in all sectors are on the frontline of this pandemic, keeping the wheels of America turning. And I’m not just thinking of the amazing doctors, nurses, EMT, scientists and healthcare workers in the medical field such as Caribbean immigrants Dr. Michelle Chester, nurse Sandra Lindsay and scientist Vidia Roochand.
I’m thinking of all the immigrants working in every sector of the “essential economy.” From the police officers to the cleaners and security in hospitals and at airports; the home health aides and hospice and nursing home workers; the meat plant processors, the farm workers, the delivery drivers, the grocery store clerks, the restaurant and grocery delivery workers; the garbage collectors, the bus drivers and train operators, the taxi drivers; the store clerks. The list goes on.
But they show up, at great personal risk, and get the job done. They are heroes in my mind, and this is why the Immigrant Heroes of 2020 Award is also for them all.
3: The Black immigrant voters of 2020
Donald Trump is still raging over losing the 2020 elections and he still cannot figure out why. Just in case you, like many elite Democrats, forget, the main reason Trump lost and Joe Biden/Kamala Harris won was because Black immigrant voters showed up and threw in their vote with many Native-born Black Americans to fire Trump.
It was not Latino or Asian voters who accomplished this feat. The data proves this. It was Black voters, especially Caribbean and African Black women voters in Georgia and Pennsylvania, who campaigned, and registered voters, and stood in line for hours to vote for the Democratic ticket. I hope Biden and Harris recognize this and I hope that the hard work of Black immigrant voters is not again taken for granted and dismissed by elite and arrogant Democrats and their staffers now that they have won.
The Black immigrant voters tipped the scale in favor of the Biden/Harris ticket and helped fire the Donald and save us from Trumpian hell. They are true heroes as well and that is why they round out this year’s choices for Immigrant Heroes of 2020.
Congratulations! You are all heroes, and most of all, the Immigrant Heroes of 2020!
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.