Editor's note: On September 17th, news broke that Border Patrol agents in Texas were using deplorable tactics in their response to the surge of Haitian migrants making their way into the United States. Amidst a flurry of international responses to this violence and dehumanization, the National Association of Black Catholic Administrators released a statement on September 28th. It is reprinted here with permission.
We, the National Association of Black Catholic Administrators, raise our collective voices in solidarity with our Haitian brothers and sisters. It has been quite difficult and gut-wrenching to watch, hear, and read about how the Haitians are being treated as they attempt to enter the United States through our southern borders.
We believe that every person is more important than things, that we are “God’s temple”, so the horrific photos of the United States Department of Homeland Security using horsewhips on refugees are appalling. We, as a country, call on other nations to act humanely, and yet, this is how we treat people from Haiti seeking aid. This contradicts our convictions on the value of the human person.
We could cite statistics of the natural disasters Haiti has experienced. We could cite historical documents to reveal the marginalization of Haiti since the 19th century. We could cite the current double standards towards Haitian migrants and refugees. And we could cite the turmoil experienced daily by the Haitian people, including kidnappings, extreme poverty, insecurity, hunger, and death.
The Haitian immigrants’ case begs for an urgent humanitarian response. The dignity of the human person and the quality of life for Haitians are just as important as the Afghan, Latino, and Burmese… We do not begrudge the compassion and respect offered to our brothers and sisters from Afghanistan, Burma, Korea, Latin America, Poland, Ukraine, Vietnam... We ask that Haitians be given the same level of care and respect, and an equal fight for justice.
Please do not allow yourself to be numb to the continued gross injustice and gross misuse of power. Do not sit by and allow this gross level of racial inequality to unfold without raising one voice, one hand, one leap of faith.
We cry out for our Catholic leaders to do something, to say something. Urgency is of the essence.
We cry out for our current administration in Washington, D.C., to act with justice and compassion. The double standards and racial injustices have reached the point of unbearable.
We cry out to people everywhere to hear the cry of the poor, the oppressed, and the abused. When one part suffers, all parts suffer for the sake of the one.
We cry out…
May God of the oppressed and afflicted continue to protect our people. And May God of justice and love empower the church to go the distance and stay the course.
Mother of Africa, pray for us.
Venerable Pierre Toussaint, pray for us.
The National Association of Black Catholic Administrators provides a forum for diocesan Black Catholic ministry directors to gather and share their collective resources to address the spiritual needs, issues, and concerns facing the Black Catholic community.