FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IJDH Statement of Solidarity With the Haitian People and Condemnation of President’s White Supremacist Remarks
The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) would like to thank the Haitian people for the privilege of joining their struggle for justice over the last fourteen years. Haitians founded the modern human rights movement when they abolished slavery in 1804— before any other country. The first Black Republic provided critical support to anti-racist and anti-imperialist struggles in the United States, Latin American countries and many others. Haitians continue to be a model and an inspiration for the human rights movement, as they fight for justice, sovereignty and human rights on a daily basis with principle, compassion and courage.
On the eighth anniversary of Haiti’s January 12, 2010 earthquake, the Institute would like to express its deepest sympathies to all Haitians for the losses they suffered from the ground shaking on January 12, and the losses they have suffered since then from the introduction of cholera to the country by UN troops and the failures of the Haitian government and international community to manage the earthquake response in a way that respected Haitians’ human rights.
Haitians’ persistent, centuries-long leadership in confronting slavery, white supremacy and other racism has provoked a persistent, centuries-long racist backlash, including the 60-year long refusal of the United States to even recognize the second independent nation in the Americas, the illegal “Independence Debt” forcibly imposed by France that stunted economic development for a century, and the 2004 overthrow of Haiti’s elected government by former slaveholding states.
The hateful and ignorant comments made by President Trump about Haiti and other countries yesterday are the latest manifestation of this racist backlash. We call on our elected leaders in Congress to not only repudiate the comments themselves, but to take aggressive action to reverse the Administration’s immigration policies, especially the termination of Haitian TPS in November, that are based on the same ignorance, hate and racism as the President’s comments.
As a U.S.-based organization, IJDH would like to recognize the contributions that Haitians have made to this country, as political and civic leaders, professionals in medicine, law, engineering, literature, education and so many other fields, and as valued family, workplace and community members. We agree with IJDH Board Member and Massachusetts State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry’s concern about how “demoralizing and upsetting it is to have to register my outrage about hateful remarks made by my own president. And then to have to do it again. And again.” We call on all people in the United States and other Global North countries to follow the Haitian example by working with principle, compassion and courage to stop our country’s participation in the racist backlash against Haiti’s human rights leadership.
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