Haitians Form Coalition and Plan Jan. 19 Demonstration in NYC to Answer Trump’s Racism

On Jan. 13, 50 activists and representatives of Haitian and U.S. parties and organizations met at the Harry Numa Conference Hall of Haiti Liberté newspaper in Brooklyn to forge a response to President Donald Trump’s racist remarks of Jan. 11 calling Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations “shithole countries” whose émigrés should not be allowed to stay in the U.S.

The result of the meeting was the formation of the 1804 Movement for All Immigrants, which remains open to any organization or individual agreeing with the following points of unity.

The 1804 Movement for All Immigrants demands:

1) President Donald Trump’s public apology to all Haitians, Africans, and African-Americans for his racist remarks.

2) Permanent U.S. residency for all holders of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) currently in the U.S.

3) Reparations for over a century of U.S. crimes against and exploitation of Haiti’s people and for the UN’s introduction of cholera into Haiti.

4) An end to all forms of racial profiling and police terror in the U.S., above all against black and brown people.

5) An end to the UN military occupation of Haiti (today known as MINUJUSTH) and to U.S. meddling in Haiti’s elections.

The 1804 Movement decided to call a march for Fri., Jan. 19, 2018, from Grand Army Plaza in central Brooklyn, to the Brooklyn Bridge, then to the Federal Plaza, just above Chambers Street on Broadway, and finally a rally at the Trump Building at 40 Broadway in the area of Wall Street.

1804 was the year that self- freed slaves founded the Republic of Haiti, the first independent nation of Latin America and the first Black Republic. It was the first nation in history to abolish slavery, starting a wave of change that largely swept slavery from the globe over the next century.

Tens of thousands of Haitians first marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on April 20, 1990, to protest the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) unjustly classifying them as a high-risk group for HIV/AIDS. The marchers flooded into downtown Manhattan, shutting down Wall Street trading. That day, a massive demonstration crossing the Brooklyn Bridge became an iconic symbol of working people challenging the powers of the U.S. ruling class, particularly Wall Street, Washington (Federal Plaza), and City Hall, all of which sit at the bridge’s western end.

Over almost three decades, many other demonstrations have unsuccessfully sought to match in size and impact the original, glorious 1990 event, which looms large in the Haitians’ collective memory. They hope that the Jan. 19, 2018, demonstration against Donald Trump will be such a contender.

by Kim Ives

(reprinted from Haiti Liberté, Jan. 17, 2018)

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