Here’s how you can help Haitian migrants at the Texas border
When he first saw the photos of Haitians camped along the Texas border, Jean Maurice, pastor of the Temple of Unified Christian Brick Church and president of the Haitian Pastors Association of New Jersey, said he felt outraged. At the same time, a small part of him also felt hopeful.
“I think what we are seeing is a bedrock of what Haitian migrants have been going through for years. But also, I think it’s an opportunity for the voice of the people of Haiti to cry out and finally be heard,” Maurice, whose church is based in East Orange, told NJ Advance Media.
It’s been a week since images of Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics against Haitian migrants went viral, bringing attention to the plight of thousands encamped on the border in hopes of gaining asylum in the U.S.
Even before someone assassinated their president and another powerful earthquake shook the island, Haitians had been migrating to the U.S. in large numbers from South America for several years, many having left their Caribbean nation after a devastating 2010 earthquake. Eleven years later, the country has yet to recover. Today, New Jersey has the nation’s 4th largest Haitian-American community — approximately 68,848 people or .8% of the state’s population — based on data published by the U.S. Census.
NJ Advance Media reached out to leaders in the state’s Haitian-American community and social service organizations aimed at helping the Haitian diaspora for advice on how residents can help migrants at the border right now.
“We’re talking about it now and I think the momentum is there. This situation might even turn out to be good for Haiti, because of the attention that it’s created,” Maurice said.
There are several organizations with boots on the ground providing resources and services to the Haitian migrant community.
In the Garden State, New Jersey for Haiti (NJ 4 Haiti) is leading the way. NJ 4 Haiti is a collection of government agencies, non-profit organizations, faith based agencies, businesses and citizens dedicated to providing relief and assistance in helping Haiti to recover from the 7.0 earthquake that devastated the country on January 12, 2010. In light of the crisis facing Haitians at the border, NJ 4 Haiti is currently raising funds to gather resources for food, water, and financial support for displaced families.
“We must and can do better as a country. No one would ever imagine that in 2021 this is how people would be treated,” said Stanley Neron, executive director of New Jersey for Haiti.
Houston Haitians United is a grassroots organization created by Haitian-Americans in Texas that provides resources for the well-being and advancement of Haitians. The group is distributing non-perishables, diapers, baby bottles, and other supplies to individuals arriving at the border. Donations to support their efforts can be made here.
National Haitian American Elected Officials Network(NHAEON) is the largest network of Haitian-American elected and appointed officials in the U.S and its members are dedicated to supporting domestic policies, legislation and issues affecting Haitians living in the United States. To fight the mass deportation of Haitians ordered by the Biden administration, the group is raising funds to enact immigration reform and protect immigrant’s rights. Donate to the NHAEON immigration reform fund here.
To affect lasting change, Father Jack Martin said, “there’s lobbying that needs to be done.” Martin is a co-founder and founding president of the Haiti Solidarity Network of the North East, formed in 1994 to work in solidarity with the people of Haiti in their struggle against poverty and injustice. In response to the border crisis, he’s urging residents to call their government representatives and voice their concerns about the treatment of Haitian migrants.
“That probably the greatest way to achieve comprehensive immigration reform, which is what is needed,” Martin said.
To contact your house representative or senators, call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You can also direct concerns to the public comment line at 202-456-1111 or the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414.
This article was originally posted here