The action below was shared by a group called Rights 4 ALL in DR, which led an Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of the situation in the Dominican Republic. When the Dominican government heard that Dominican author Junot Diaz participated in the Advocacy Day, it stripped Diaz of the Citizens of Merit award he was given in 2009.
Let Congress know that DR intimidating Dominican-Americans is unacceptable
Rights 4 ALL in DR
October 26, 2015
As you may have heard by now, in response to Junot Diaz’s participation in Advocacy Day, the Dominican consulate came out with a strong statement calling “anti- Dominican” and stripping him of the Citizens of Merit award he’d been given in 2009. This is clearly an intimidation tactic to get the rest of you to “stay in your place”, but it is also an opportunity. Almost every office we met with during Advocacy Day asked about the Dominican-American response to the statelessness crisis, Ambassador Brewster role and, more importantly, how the DR government has been responding to us. The Dominican government unwittingly handed us an opportunity to answer all three questions and remind Congress of why their support is so necessary. A foreign government has no right to intimidate Americans on American soil!
The Dominican-Americans themselves will lead an email campaign and a protest at the DR consulate. We can support them by sending an email to these key offices (feel free to suggest others). Share this email throughout your networks. And post the photo below to your social media.
Script for emails:
Dear Elected Officials:
On Wednesday, October 21, 2015, Americans from across the country participated in Advocacy Day to ask Congress to take action on the growing human rights crisis in the Dominican Republic. Pulitzer Prize winning author, Junot Díaz, a Dominican American, took part in several of our meetings with Congress. The very next day, the Dominican government put out a strong statement condemning him as “anti-Dominican” and stripping him of the Citizens of Merit award he received in 2009 (the Dominican Republic seems fond of retroactive retaliation).
As an American, I am alarmed that a foreign government can continuously meddle in our affairs and intimidate American citizens, seemingly with the support of U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James Brewster. This intimidation goes even further as we have seen several acts of retaliation against Dominican activists on the ground, such as nullifying their passports or birth certificates so that they can no longer travel and testify to the international community. As an American and a voter, I will not allow the Dominican government to silence the First Amendment right of free speech and advocacy of my fellow Dominican-Americans. Again, I ask our elected officials to:
- Write a public letter to Secretary John Kerry asking that the U.S. State Department investigate the ongoing issues resulting from the poor implementation of the Naturalization Law and the intimidation of human rights defenders.2. Hold a hearing to hear testimony from those facing statelessness in the Dominican Republic as well as experts on this ongoing crisis.
- Re-introduce and ultimately vote for passage of H. Res. 443 – 113th Congress (2013-2014), which is a resolution expressly condemning these human rights abuses.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you.