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The Black Community Stood For Me And It’s Time To Return The Favor

BLM graffiti

These past few weeks' events are a poignant reminder of a sad truth in America today: that we still live in a country where many are judged not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin. Police brutality against Black Americans is just one part of that institutionalized racism that persists in our country. We do not claim to have all the answers to these issues. We only mourn the senseless loss of life we see around us far too often.

By Akansha Bhat

My name is Akansha, and I am an immigrant. My father came to the United States in 1998 on an H-1B visa. He saved up for a whole year in order to file visa applications for my mother and me, and to pay for our move from India in December of 1998.

From the time my family and I immigrated to the United States, we have had countless opportunities to follow our dreams and find success. It was the best thing to happen to our family. I cannot imagine my life in any other country, and I am grateful every day to be an immigrant in America.

There are millions of American Immigrants who share this feeling. At Legalpad, I am lucky enough to help extraordinary people immigrate to the United States, just as my father did 22 years ago.

Legalpad has built our company on the basis that people from all over the world have the right to immigrate to the United States in pursuit of success, happiness, and a better life. We have worked hard and thoughtfully to put together incredible visa petitions for hundreds of entrepreneurs. This dedicated and thorough approach lets us thrive in our community with people from all walks of life, who have a vision and dream they want to execute. I am very proud of the work we do at Legalpad.

America’s beauty comes not from the land itself, but from the citizens who inhabit it. A nation of immigrants, we bring cultures and unique ideas from all corners of the globe. America is indeed a melting pot, and a direct result of the United States’ immigration policy. It’s one of the most incredible things about living here.

The story of the connection between that diversity and the Civil Rights movement sometimes goes untold: The America we know today, a nation of immigrants, is a direct result of the Civil Rights Movement.

Prior to 1965, the immigration laws in America were contingent on a quota system that highly favored European countries. This law outwardly denied persons of South Asian, Eastern Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean descent.

It was only through the struggles Black Americans had to endure to change the law and gain equality through the Civil Rights Movement in 1964 paved the way for the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. My family and I are among the millions of immigrants in this country who owe everything we have to the Civil Rights Movement and the rights it granted to so many people.

And the struggle is not over. Not by a longshot.

The senseless murder of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and countless other Black people in this country are painful reminders of the work that still needs to be done. We at Legalpad are both enraged and despondent about the brutality, illegal searches, intimidation techniques, and many other tactics beyond listing that are used by police against the Black community. Tactics that are not anomalies. They are the status quo, used day in, day out. We are hopeful and committed in the behavior changes to come as a result of the brave people demanding justice.

We stand with the courageous individuals who marched through the streets all over the world in support of the Black community in these trying times.

We have made our careers in immigration for a reason: immigrants make this country great. The ability for us to come into work every day and bring amazing entrepreneurs to America is all because of Black Americans and their bravery in demanding equality. By demanding equality for themselves in America, they paved the way for the rest of us.

Immigrants of all nationalities owe a debt of gratitude to the Civil Rights Leaders of the 1960s, and subsequent leaders who continue to fight for equality and inclusivity on the federal level today.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” We continue to see injustice after injustice committed within our country, and we are inspired by the actions of immeasurable bravery and courage from those marching in the streets demanding justice and change.

To all who are marching, for themselves, for their neighbors, for their friends, their family, for the future of this country—we say thank you. And we stand with you.

About the author:

Akansha Bhat