The Peter Kwong Immigrant Workers Learning Center strives to advance justice and meaningful change to immigrant workers, youth and veterans of justice struggles.
As daughters and sons of immigrant workers, we hold our nation’s creed to be self-evident truths that all people are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights, among these are liberty, equality, justice and humanity.
We honor the generations of patriots who, in their last full measure of devotion, gave their lives or loved ones so that these rights could be fully realized and preserved for all, and that our nation would survive and stand as a democracy of the people, by the people, for the people.
Many of these patriots were newcomers to this country, aspiring for a better society, a better life, a better future. Many were violently uprooted, torn from their families and communities, and brought here in bondage and sold as slaves. Many were natives, indigenous to this land, sovereign people and nations. And millions more were descendants of these people – the People of the United States.
As children of immigrant workers, a People of the United States, we resolve to continue our nation’s task of forming an ever more perfect union, to fulfill the promise of a United People whose enduring greatness will not be its projection of might, but its embrace of the sick, the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning for liberation, to be free at last from tyranny, inequality, and injustice.
CHALLENGES WE FACE
While our nation was established on the premise of a just government, a better way of life, and a hopeful future, for millions these promises are continuously denied. The gap between the richest one-percent and working families is dramatically widening. The middle class is disappearing. Fewer jobs are permanent or offer health and retirement benefits. As income inequality grows, the power of the ninety-nine percent erodes, undercutting their abilities to access decent employment and affordable housing, provide their families quality education and healthcare, and address existential threats such as global environmental destruction; widening economic, political, and social inequalities; and alarming expansion of violent, arbitrary, and exploitative ruling systems and ideologies here and abroad that work to extend systemic inequality and injustice against all for the selfish interest of the few.
At this crucial time when we urgently need unity, understanding, and a just vision to address these crises, demagogues are successfully sowing distrust and division. They promote rhetoric that pits rural communities against urban; one immigrant group against another; people of color against each other; and whites against all. They “animalize” and then terrorize the very people they have dehumanized and endangered. They push for policies that criminalize and redefine what an immigrant ought to be racially and religiously, while favoring the young and affluent over the old and working poor. All these justified under the banner of making America Great Again for the American workers. In doing so, they aim to destroy our nation’s creed that define who and what an American and a patriot ought to be and stand for. Their alternative facts are replacing history and truth; and their hate speech has drowned dialogue. Fearmongering and scapegoating are their strategy to deceive, intimidate, and isolate – and they are succeeding in pitting all of us, a people with common interests, against one another.
ABOUT THE LEARNING CENTER
In memory of Peter Kwong, the Learning Center belongs to three groups and welcomes all who wish to advance justice and meaningful change:
- Immigrant Workers
Continuous learning is essential for life. This is especially true for someone who comes into a new environment like recent immigrants. As newcomers, they too want the opportunity to learn and enhance their abilities to confront challenges such as poverty, discrimination, displacement, and exploitation. But many are forced to live in quiet desperation, needing to work long hours to support loved ones in the U.S. or overseas, and lacking the resources and opportunity to come together, learn from each other, and help one another. The Learning Center provides the space and support they need.
The Learning Center also fosters the opportunity for young people, especially those active in movements for political, social and economic justice, to learn from other young people and immigrant workers, jointly sum up their experiences, and strategize ways forward to realize our shared aspirations.
- Veterans of Justice Struggles
They are our fighters, activists, organizers – patriots in the frontline against injustice – who demand systematic change, no longer content with piecemeal reforms.
In this House of Learning, these three groups will be able to share and learn from one another, reflect on past and current struggles, and debate and deliberate over new ideas and better ways to organize for meaningful change and advance our nation’s ability to bring about lasting justice and equality.
We encourage and support others to form such centers of learning in their communities: at schools, neighborhoods, workplaces. We hope the IWLC becomes a model emulated around the world.