RWDSU STATEMENT ON HAITIAN IMMIGRANTS SEEKING REFUGE, FACING BRUTALITY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 4, 2021

Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259

RWDSU STATEMENT ON HAITIAN IMMIGRANTS SEEKING REFUGE, FACING BRUTALITY

(NEW YORK, NY) – The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) issued the following statement on Haitian immigrants seeking refuge in the United States:

“This year alone, Haitians have faced a devastating earthquake, which killed over 2,000 people, including thousands of homeless Haitians, and a destructive hurricane season, which has ravaged homes and left many with nowhere to go and no homes to return to. Haiti, with political instability, gang violence and the shocking assassination of its president, has become the most unsafe place to live in the Caribbean. For many, simply surviving a day is considered a heroic act.

“Haitians are being forced to migrate and are coming to the United States seeking refuge and relief. Many have swum through shark infested waters and crossed several countries on foot just to get to the United States, climbing mountains, wading through rivers, being mauled by wild animals. They are being raped, and tragically many have died in trying to get to the United States. Like many other immigrants before them, they come with a desire to build a better life for themselves and their families.

“The inhumane treatment of Haitians we have witnessed at the United States border in Del Rio, Texas, is shameful and unacceptable. The images of border patrol agents beating Black Haitian immigrants on horseback harkens back to slavery and colonialism. They are inexcusable 21st century images of faces we’ve seen in history books too many times. They harken back to the faces of pain and suffering at the hands of slave owners cracking whips on Black slaves’ backs. Migrants seeking a safer life are human beings, not animals. This is not what America is about!

“We, the RWDSU, believe that Haitians deserve respect and dignity and should be given the opportunity to make the United States their home either as refugees or be granted asylum.

“Haitians fought in the Revolutionary War in Savannah, Georgia. Pierre Toussaint, a former slave from Haiti who moved to New York with his owner, became a philanthropist, and raised money to build St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Jean-Baptiste Point DuSable was the first settler in Chicago, Illinois. They fought in WWII alongside the American soldiers.

“They are a part of our history. Haiti is a part of American history, and Haitian immigrants deserve better.”

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The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) represents 100,000 members throughout the United States. The RWDSU is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). For more information, please visit our website at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.