A Congressional Black Caucus Foundation audience broke into rounds of applause after an illegal immigrant activist admitted that she benefited from a system of white supremacy Friday.
Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, an executive director NAVIGATE MN, and self -professed “undocumented” immigrant made the confession as she was discussing the activism she does in her state at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference panel on inter-sectionality and resistance.
“With that said, I recognize that I am sitting here on the shoulders of part of the work that black people have done for liberation,” Avalos said, referring to Black Lives Matter activism. “And I just want to acknowledge that I’m checked, that I recognize as a brown woman who also benefits from white supremacy in ways that are not intentional but I see it. I acknowledge it. And I use my privilege to smash it all together.”
The pre-dominantly black audience broke into a round of applause, with some participants murmuring “wow.”
Angela Rye, the moderator for the panel, also praised Avalos for her “brave” admission.
“Emilia, you talked about benefiting from white supremacy being a brown woman in this country,” Rye said. “And that’s something that as an oppressed person, that is brave and that is on a whole different level of honesty. That’s something we can’t get many of our white couter-parts to acknowledge even when there’s an additional level of benefit when you are rich or when you are middle-class. We certainly know we struggle with getting white folks who are working class to acknowledge that privilege because they feel like they’ve been left out.”
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