Courtesy of William Porayouw

On Friday, city residents gathered at the New Haven Green to proclaim solidarity with Haiti, as images of immigrants attempting to cross the U.S. border sparked shock nationwide.

The rally was organized by Sunrise New Haven and The Party for Socialism and Liberation, or PSL. Attendees demonstrated on the Green as they held up signs that read “Stop the Deportations of Haitian Immigrants NOW!” They sought to call attention to images that circulated last month of U.S. Border Patrol officers on horseback corralling Haitians attempting to cross the Southern border. At the event, community members also raised funds for the Haitian Bridge Alliance, a humanitarian organization helping Haitians seeking asylum.

“There were very violent and triggering videos of Haitian immigrants being whipped by border patrol officers,” said Jaena Bethea, co-organizer of the event. “We see the parallels between that and that of slavery.”

Bethea added that she was surprised that the Haitian situation received “minor media attention”, and that the event on the Green was meant to spread awareness.

At the event, rallygoers chanted for action. New Haven resident Katherine Allison said that while she worries that rallies can seem unimpactful at times, they can also be a powerful way to get people to take action on issues that matter.

Allison mentioned that the Solidarity with Haiti rally was “particularly special because we’re also here fundraising for real people who are having real hardships right now.”

Rally organizers set up a booth that sold books, snacks and goodies. The proceeds will go to the Haitian Bridge Alliance, some of whose members have traveled to the border. 

“We can be putting pressure on elected officials who make policy,” Bethea said.

Bethea added that officials on a local and state level should also be doing more. She told the News that there should be more conversations about undocumented immigrants. 

Other rallygoers pointed out other institutions that they believe have neglected the undocumented community. PSL co-organizer Norm Clement, who is Penobscot, considered border migration to be a direct consequence of American imperialism, which he said looks out for its own interests at the expense of other communities. 

“As an Indigenous person, I will say that there are no illegals on stolen land,” Clement declared. “Haitians are welcome here, South Americans are welcome here, Central American, Middle Eastern, they’re all welcome here.”

He also criticized the American government for its neglect of undocumented migrants at the border, which he says hasn’t changed much over the past few administrations. He was displeased with the response by the Biden administration, and said they were the people who had the power to make change.

“The Haitians that were at the border being whipped are still there,” he said in reference to reports of abuse by U.S. Border Patrol officials. 

When asked what groups individuals can donate to in support of the undocumented community, Bethea mentioned Unidad Latina en Acción, or ULA, and CT Students For a Dream. 

On Oct. 23 at 11 a.m., The Party for Socialism and Liberation will be hosting Serve the People, an event where clothing, hygiene products and more will be distributed on the New Haven Green. 

 

WILLIAM PORAYOUW