| Dear friends,I am writing this letter to thank you for standing with me and my community when we need you the most. If there is a time in my life I can dare to say to my fellow Haitians that better days are ahead of them, it is today.When Father Gérard Jean-Juste, whom I called my adoptive father was illegally arrested from 2004-2006 after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced to leave Haiti, I knew that I had to fight for his freedom. We had an uphill battle because a brutal and illegal government ruled Haiti, using the justice system as a tool of repression. In Haiti we were protesting against Fr. Jean-Juste’s arbitrary arrest while in the United States you were doing your part through donations to Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) to fund their legal and advocacy work.|
Your support showed us that we were not alone. You gave us hope; you reassured us that as long as we stood for what is right, you would be right there to back us up. I did precisely that, and we won Fr. Jean-Juste’s freedom, and access to urgent cancer treatment that allowed him to live and fight for justice and democracy for several years more.
Today, I write this letter to tell you, YES, we are winning the battle against injustice and inequality in Haiti. I know this is a challenging time, in Haiti as well as in the United States. I sometimes get frustrated just like you. However, I keep reminding myself how we freed Fr. Jean-Juste from a dictatorship with our voices and the rule of law.
Your support to IJDH has freed human rights activists jailed for their political belief and allowed them to fight for more justice. You have trained human rights lawyers and grassroots human rights advocates to be the next generation of changemakers. You have compelled the United Nations to apologize to the Haitian people and start taking responsibility for bringing the deadly cholera epidemic to Haiti.
I have left Haiti, but not the fight for social justice. I know I can count on you to win more social justice battles like Father Jean-Juste’s through your financial support to IJDH/BAI. I would like to invite you to keep fighting with us as we continue winning more victories for social justice in tough times.
Piti, piti na rive!