These Young Dominicans Are Sending a Powerful Message to Their Government
In 2013, the government of the Dominican Republic passed a contested resolution that left thousands of Haitian immigrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent at risk for denationalization. The law, which has been decried as an attempt at "ethnic cleansing" and a clear vestige of anti-black racism by some in the international community, renders Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless, and Haitian migrant workers in fear of deportation.
Undocumented migrant workers had until June 17 to register as foreigners; deportation has already begun for those who missed the deadline. In response, activists in Chicago, New York City and Miami participated in a series of protests Wednesday as part of National Day of Action. The #DRDayofAction organizing body, We Are All Dominican, writes on its website it denounces "the Dominican Constitutional Court's decision to strip tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands, of Dominicans of Haitian descent of their nationality, violating fundamental human rights."
In light of Wednesday's events, Mic asked young Dominican activists and leaders across the U.S. to share the messages they'd like Dominicans of Haitian descent, Haitian migrant workers, the government of the Dominican Republic and the international community to hear at this moment. Their message, #WeTooAreDominican, reframes the idea of a dualistic Dominican nationalism that pits so-called naturalized "Dominicans" against Dominican of Haitian descent. In short, they refuse to back policies steeped in separatism, hierarchy and racial antagonism.
Here is what they had to say.
We are in solidarity with Dominicans of Haitian descent.
We will not tolerate anti-blackness.
The notion that black and Latino identities are incongruous is also a clear outgrowth of anti-black racism.
"Anti-blackness has run deep in the Latino community as long as there's been a Latino community," writer Daniel José Older wrote in BuzzFeed in response to the actions taken by the Dominican Republic. "Much like the wider American mythology of a glorious melting pot, we love waxing faux-exotic about the multilayered fabric of our identity ... In truth, we are a shattered family, a house deeply divided by white supremacy and colorism. It's as true in Latin America — yes, even Cuba — as it is in the United States."
As conversations around state-sanctioned racism continue to dominate public discourse in the U.S., it's thus vital to support efforts to reduce this prejudice abroad too.
We denounce oppressive laws.
"The [Naturalization] Law 169-14 was passed in an inhuman manner and the government of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicano (Dominican Liberation Party) is violating human rights. As a Dominican, I denounce this law and its discrimination."
We denounce the criminalization of immigrants.
We reject the violation of human rights.
We stand against xenophobia.
"Communities with a large concentration of Haitian descendants are being patrolled by military police who rely on racial profiling to determine who is not a 'Dominican.' Families are being separated, men and women are beaten alike, homes are robbed and destroyed and thousands have already been expelled from the country," We Are All Dominican writes. "These acts of state violence have intimidated many into fleeing their homes and head to the border of DR/Haiti where the only certainty is further oppression."
As organizers use this day to educate the public, let us also remember the messages above and the Dominicans of Haitian descent and migrants who are suffering because of the draconian measures of their state. Stay connected by following #DRDayOfAction and #WeTooAreDomincan hashtags.