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Haitian In America, It’s Not the Dream

News channels worldwide exploded, circulating photos of Haitian migrants occupying tents,

crossing rivers, and doing the unthinkable, to seek asylum at the borders in Del Rio, Texas.

While the images of black and brown migrants cascade across our televisions, iPods, and

cellular phones. Much of the world sat at home in awe that this could really be happening.

Border patrol on horseback utilizing their reigns to whip Haitian migrants as they cross the

border sent the world into a rage. The idea that this modern-day depiction of slavery has

resurfaced stopped people in their tracks, creating a sense of fear that their “Great America”

really isn’t as great as it seemed all their life.

Haitian migrants crossing the Rio Grande to enter the United States. The Washington Post/Getty Images

As I watched Haitian people crossing rivers, holding bags of food above their heads, and seeing children riding on their parents’ necks. As I watched people run from border patrol hoping to reach their families in tents across the way. I had to close my eyes and compose myself. It saddened me that people are fleeing their homeland in the hopes of seeking asylum due to political unrest and economic shambles and still aren’t welcomed or made to feel safe.

Conditions that are known worldwide and still no grace is given. The argument that many of

these Haitians were not, in fact coming from Haiti is valid. But let’s not negate the fact that no

matter which country they are fleeing, they had to leave their home country, Haiti, to have a

better life. But after time, they are now fleeing an escalating situation again to come to the US.

Many of these Haitians traveled by foot through jungles from Brazil, Columbia, and other

In hopes of the American Dream, Spanish-speaking countries only experience the reality we

have been trying to tell them about all along. No matter which country they are fleeing, these

people look just like me. They look like my mother, grandmother, and grandfather. I am two

generations removed from crossing the Rio Grande with my children on my back. Had my

grandmother not came to the states when she did, I would be under that bridge with my family too. Haitian Americans have had the privilege and the curse of living their lives in balance.

Finding the equilibrium between being both Haitian and American in a world that makes it

difficult. I found myself feeling uneasy that I was here and they were there, struggling.

As I navigate my journey as a Haitian American woman, I am even more proud of

my heritage. I continuously say that “I am tired of being resilient, and strong” but seeing my

people make a way from no way has been even more empowering than I can explain. I am in no way glorifying the mistreatment of Haitians amidst their struggle for motivational purposes.

But I recognize that for decades, since day one of Haiti’s existence, they have been the

strength and resilience that other nations envy.

The country of Haiti was the first black republic in the world. Taking down their oppressors,

snatching their freedom by the hands, and creating a life for themselves that other nations

grimaced about. What people don’t realize is that Haiti's country was the blueprint for so

many countries to receive their independence. As the blueprint, they also paid the ultimate

sacrifice. Paying for their freedom, unwillingly awarding France reparations so that they wouldn’t be invaded again. Functioning as a newly freed country with the United States military on its coast enforcing the exploitation of the funds they earned from the exports. Many

nations sat at the table to create a constitution that banned Haitians from owning businesses

and land. Watching their economy fall as the US dumped rice into their country and so much

more. The world has tried to keep Haiti oppressed without whips and chains, and still, Haiti

rises. The targeting of the country has been ongoing since the very beginning, and as I learn

more about the true history of Haiti and how so many played a role in the dismantling of a

nation. I hurt my Haitian people, but I have such high regard for their wherewithal. Their

strength, determination, and fearlessness didn’t stop at the coast of the island. It circulated into the bodies of Haitian Americans like me. Seeing all that my people have conquered keeps me aware that I have no right to give up on myself. I have no right to complain, I am from a nation of warriors, and my pure existence is proof that Haiti has won.

We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams, and we cannot retreat from allowing Haiti and its people to live vicariously through us. It fuels me to be better, to do better, and to give back.

It has been approximately 6 days since the news coverage of Haitian migrants started. While

there are no more migrants camped under the bridge in Del Rio. Border patrol on horseback

has been suspended, and the 15 minutes of fame for Haitian migrants have started to dwindle.

Do not forget that your people are here, eager to have a better life, wanting to learn, desiring

their freedom, in a place that doesn’t quite fit the dream they dreamt.



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