What will it take for all of us to continue to care about what’s happening in Haiti?
There is something adrift — or perfectly in line with the machinations of white supremacy — amongst the current crop of wealthy, Republican elite flaunting their power in D.C., when The Washington Post writer Jennifer Reuben has to describe the Trump administration’s decision to deport 50,000 – 60,000 Haitians from the United States, as “abject cruelty”.
“There is no particular need –aside from red meat for the anti-immigrant base — to expel these law-abiding people who have made their home here for as long as seven years,” Reuben writes.
This isn’t surprising. Throwing red meat at the conservative base, most of whom hold anti-immigrant prejudices, has been an indispensable component of President Trump’s domestic policy. And as recently as last week, Trump reportedly called Haiti and El Salvador, predominantly black nations, “shithole countries,” a move which quickly prompted U.S. Ambassador to Panama John Feeley to resign from office.
Abominable as Trump’s comment is, as with everything else this president does, it seems to have been the spark that sent outraged Haitian protesters to the streets. AJC.com reports that 400 Haitian protesters and allies marched on Trump’s Winter White House in West Palms, Florida, demanding an apology.
In an interview with Wear Your Voice (WYV), DJ Sabine Blaizin, WYV’s co-host of LaKay Se Lakay: The Revolution and a Haitian artist who is deeply attuned to the issues that impact Haitians across the diaspora, expressed concern that the Haitian community seemed to be too complacent in the face of the federal government’s obvious coldheartedness. Asked why resistance to Trump’s revocation of Temporary Protection Status (TPS) appeared low, Blaizin suggested that Haitians may be unaware of the serious ramifications of what’s about to go down 17 months from now, when Haitian refugees are expected to “make arrangements” to return home.
“They don’t see it as a real threat,” Blaizin told WYV, adding “there’s definitely a lack in comparison to April 1990. We took to the streets. We didn’t blink an eye. There was more of connection and pride amongst Haitians.”
Perhaps they see it as a threat now. Or perhaps Trump’s brand of racism, which dispenses with the softer approach of the establishment conservatives, is too much to bear, for both parties.
Haitian pride was on full display on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and was a callback to the spirit of the mass demonstration that took place 28 years ago. The question now is, what will it take to keep this momentum behind this immigration and refugee advocacy going beyond this single incident? What will it take for all of us to continue to care about what’s happening in Haiti?
Not another “shithole” comment fiasco, we hope.
WYV’s REVOLUTION campaign is a year-long campaign with a mission to raise awareness about causes that affect marginalized communities of color.
Sold exclusively at WYV’s Marketplace, the WYV shop is a way to economically support communities, healers and creatives of color seeking opportunities to showcase their talents. This month, we are raising awareness about Haitian deportation. *10% of all proceeds for WYV’s “The Revolution” tees will go toward supporting Haiti Cultural Exchange.*