Let’s get something straight: Immigrants are people too. They have needs. They have families. They are in search of a better life. The situation currently happening along the Southern Border with Haitian migrants is a crisis. A crisis that needs compassion and humanity to be at the forefront of all the efforts to help migrants. The United States, The American Dream, everything that this nation claims to stand for – inclusivity, a life with dignity and respect, the ability to move freely and have a safe home to live in – this is what migrants coming to our country long for.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” – Emma Lazarus, 1883
This sonnet calls to the world and as a nation. The United States accepted this obligation many years ago but now when our fellow man has come to our shores, we turn them away and meet them with racism and disrespect.
Throughout history, the Haitian people have been used as pawns in political and social games and have grown distrustful of those who claim to want to help. Currently, the island and all its people are still living in the wake of the assassination of the President earlier this year. Now, the people are not only facing these struggles but also environmental challenges. The island has been riddled with earthquake after the earthquake along with tropical storms. Even though all of these things have happened, the island and its people still sing, they still dance, they still live.
As they come to the United States, we must remember the help our families needed when they came from their homelands. Immigrants are people. As many organizations and many folks reach out to the community in an effort to help, let’s remind each other that Haitians are a strong community. That they, just like our families that came here before them, will make our existing communities stronger and more vibrant.