The United Front of the Haitian Diaspora, an international coalition of advocacy organizations and civic leaders promoting the well being of people of Haitian descent, is issuing this statement to re-affirm its solidarity stance against racism and police brutality following the high profile killing of several African-Americans during the month of May following some tragic encounters with the police (ex-police) that ended with the dead of innocent citizens such as Georges Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks to cite a few.
These killings confirm a tragic pattern that sadly has been widely documented. According to the Guardian, using data compiled by the research and advocacy group Mapping Police Violence: “The number of police killings in the US disproportionately affects African Americans. Despite only making up 13 percent of the US population, Black Americans are two-and-a-half times as likely as white Americans to be killed by the police. In addition, based on the Washington Post’s database that keeps track of police shootings, some 1,252 black people were fatally shot by police between January 2015 to May 2020– a number that doesn't take into account people who died in police custody.
Members of the United Front of the Haitian Diaspora can relate to the plight of Georges Floyd, as their ancestors came from a nation that overcame slavery and colonialism in 1804 and has since then suffocated, “couldn’t breathe”, for more than two centuries under the weight of international rejection and discrimination for having risen and said no to prejudice and slavery.
The plight of the African Americans is the same for the Haitian-Americans. In the not so distant past, Abner Louima, a Haitian-American was arrested, assaulted, brutally beaten, sexually abused by New York Police Department officers. This is our fight too. Haitians came to fight in Savanna, Georgia to help this country to become a republic and to pursue the ideal of freedom and equality. However, the promise of equality for all was never fulfilled. Today, we fight with you. We hope the sound of our drum beats are heard loud and clear as we called in this street of America for the strength of our ancestors to come and help us. We see you. We hear you, We feel you. We are you, you are us and our lives matter. We will fight alongside you until all black people enjoy the same ideals of equality and freedom that our ancestors fought to ensure others in America.
We also experience the same stress of being protective of the safety of our children, of their children’s right to equally enjoy freedom, the pursuit of happiness and access to equal opportunities in their educational and professional lives without fear and prejudice.
The United Front of the Haitian Diaspora calls on Congress, on the judiciary and all relevant entities to initiate all major and sensible reforms that will permanently prevent such unprofessional and criminal police behaviors and help to eradicate the impact of systematic and structural racism in the US; it also calls on all souls who believe in justice to soundly reject at all levels discourse or behaviors that promote and nurture racism.
The United Front and its partners of all creeds are dedicated to contributing to meaningful actions in all areas – economic empowerment, judicial changes, police reform, voter education and empowerment – that will bring closure to the current tragic situation, allow all citizens to enjoy their civil rights and get the country to reconcile with itself.
In Unity, there is Strength!
The Board of Directors