Local Haitian Community Protests President Trump's Comments

Jan 14, 2018

Haitian community activists, politicians and local leaders held a press conference and rally on Sunday to support Rhode Island's Haitian community, in reaction to the vulgar comments about certain immigrants attributed to President Trump on Thursday.

Providence City Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, in a press release, pointed out the fact that the president's comments became widely publicized on the eighth anniversary of Haiti's devastating earthquake of 2010.

"The president should be recognizing the many lives lost," said LaFortune, "not insulting Haitians and other communities."

Following that disaster, Haitians in this country were granted Temporary Protected Status, a humanitarian designation that allowed them to live and work in the United States. That designation was ended by the Trump administration last November.

Bernard Georges, president of the non-profit organization New Bridges for Haitian Success, said his community was shocked and offended by the president’s characterization of Haitians as undesirable immigrants.

"Haitian Americans in Rhode Island strongly condemn President Trump’s racist comments about Haiti and African countries," said Georges. "Rhode Island’s Haitian community has made a significant contribution to our state’s economy, cultural and educational development."

"The president has been embarrassing the United States since he was elected," Georges said. "Join us Sunday so we can send a positive message to the president and around the world." 

The press conference and rally was at Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island in Providence. In addition to LaFortune and Georges, Rhoed Island US Senator Jack Reed, US Representative David Cicilline, Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee and Providence Representative Aaron Regunberg, among others, were in attendance.