Solidarity rally with Haiti defends undocumented migrants
Rallygoers take action to defend Haitian immigrants after reports reveal abusive treatment of undocumented migrants at the border.
Courtesy of William Porayouw
On Friday, city residents gathered at New Haven Green to proclaim solidarity with Haiti, as immigrant images attempting to cross the US border triggered a nationwide shock.
The rally was organized by Sunrise New Haven and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, or PSL. Participants demonstrated on the green as they held up signs that read “Stop Haitian Immigrant Deportations NOW!” They sought to draw attention to footage circulated last month of US border patrol officers on horseback rounding up Haitians attempting to cross the southern border. During the event, community members also raised funds for the Haitian du Pont Alliance, a humanitarian organization helping Haitian asylum seekers.
“There were very violent and triggering videos of Haitian immigrants being whipped by border patrol agents,” said Jaena Bethea, co-organizer of the event. “We see the parallels between this and that of slavery.”
Bethea added that she was surprised that the Haitian situation was receiving “minor media attention” and that the event on the green was intended to raise awareness.
During the event, rally fans chanted the action. New Haven resident Katherine Allison said that while she worries that gatherings can sometimes seem without impact, they can also be a powerful way to get people to take action on important issues.
Allison mentioned that the Solidarity with Haiti gathering was “especially special because we are also here to raise funds for real people who are in real hardship right now.”
Rally organizers set up a stand that sold books, snacks and treats. Profits will go to the Haitian Bridge Alliance, some of whose members have trip at the border.
“We can put pressure on elected officials who make policy,” Bethea said.
Bethea added that officials at local and state levels should also do more. She told the News there should be more conversations about undocumented migrants.
Other rally enthusiasts have pointed to other institutions which they believe have neglected the undocumented community. PSL co-organizer Norm Clement, who is Penobscot, saw border migration as a direct consequence of US imperialism, which he says looks after his own interests to the detriment of other communities.
“As an indigenous person, I will say that there are no illegals on stolen land,” said Clément. “Haitians are welcome here, South Americans are welcome here, Central Americans, Middle Easterners, they are all welcome here.
He also criticized the US government for its neglect of undocumented migrants at the border, which he said has not changed much in recent administrations. He was unhappy with the Biden administration’s response and said they were the people with the power to make change.
“The Haitians who were at the border being whipped are still there,” he said, referring to reports of abuse by officials of the American border patrol.
When asked which groups individuals can donating to support the undocumented community, Bethea mentioned Unidad Latina en Acción, or ULA, and CT Students For a Dream.
On October 23 at 11 a.m., the Socialism and Liberation Party will host Serve the People, an event where clothing, hygiene products and more will be distributed on the New Haven Green.