After flyers urging people to report undocumented immigrants were posted in Queens, a local nonprofit put up counter posters calling on people to “stand united against hate.”
The new flyers mirror the language used in the original: “A notice to all of our neighbors,” it reads. “It is our civic duty to stand united against hate. To love and welcome one another. No human is illegal. We are here to stay.”
They were created Tuesday by Center for the Integration & Advancement of New Americans (CIANA), a group that assists immigrants in the integration process, after members saw a video City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer posted Sunday of him ripping down one of the anti-immigrant flyers in Sunnyside.
The original posters, which Van Bramer said were created by the white supremacist group Vanguard America, said it was the “civic duty” of all Americans “to report any and all illegal aliens to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement” and included a phone number for ICE. The posters also have been seen in other cities across the country in recent months.
Members of CIANA were shocked when they saw them.
“I was livid,” Maria Eliades, the group’s communications and programs manager, said. “I know that such hate exists in this country … but to have it so local in Queens, I just couldn’t stand it.”
CIANA’s poster was designed to take the anti-immigrant flyer and “turn it on its head,” she said.
The group, which provides legal services, English language classes, civics classes and other programs to immigrants in all five boroughs, couldn’t ignore the hateful message, founder and CEO Emira Habiby Browne said.
“We couldn’t just let that go,” she said. “Very often, our clients don’t have a voice … so we have to fight on their behalf.”