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U.S. Policy on Haiti

WHEREAS, throughout its 113-year history, the NAACP has sought foreign and domestic policies based on social justice and humanitarian principles – a goal that has often gone unrealized in the United States' policy on Haiti; and

WHEREAS, U.S. Haitian policy began under President John Adams with support for Toussaint Louverture, including sending the U.S. Navy to Haiti to support him; but when Haiti became independent in 1804, it was not recognized by the United States; and

WHEREAS, the presence of a free Haiti provided a beacon of hope for African Americans and their supporters in the years prior to the recognition of Haiti in 1862; and

WHEREAS, even after the appointment of Black ambassadors beginning in 1969, the U.S. tried to obtain a naval base at Môle-Saint-Nicolas and achieve other imperial objectives; yet throughout the 20th Century, Haiti continued to be a source of hope for African Americans; and

WHEREAS, despite NAACP opposition, the U.S. occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1933 with segregationist U.S. Marine leadership; the NAACP agitated for the withdrawal of the Marines and even sent its first Black Executive Secretary (now called President) James Weldon Johnson to Haiti and produced a scathing report of the racism in the U.S. occupation; and

WHEREAS, in the Cold War era, the U.S. supported the dictatorship of the Duvaliers; and

WHEREAS, there has been a dual approach to immigrants and refugees in recent years, most notably between Haitians and Cubans.  Treatment of refugees is most recently seen with Haitians being driven back by Border Patrol officers on horseback, despite the efforts of the NAACP to call for fair and humane treatment; and

WHEREAS, in recent years, even in a seemingly benign period, humanitarian aid to Haiti has resulted in a loss of the ability of Haitian subsistence farmers to raise pigs and the decimation of Haitian rice farming as well as significant capital being allocated with few results to show for it; and

WHEREAS, in 2021, Daniel Foote, the Biden administration's special envoy to Haiti, resigned in protest of U.S. policy being unwilling to listen to the voices of the Haitian people; and

WHEREAS, the Haitian diaspora in the U.S. is continuing to be successful, especially in the political arena, yet has little influence on U.S. policy.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP should develop a coordinated effort to reboot the U.S. policy approach to Haiti.  The approach would urge the involvement of dialog with civil society in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora, particularly with the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network. The purpose of the dialogue would be to develop a proposal for changing the way U.S. policy toward Haiti is developed, including consideration of a body such as the President's Board of Advisors on HBCUs.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the resignation statement of the former Special Envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, be examined for guidance on immediate steps to continue to urge President Biden and in perpetuity to encourage the repeal of Title 42 to assist Haitian migrants who are in need of asylum.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the state conferences in states having substantial Haitian populations including New York, Florida, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, be involved with this effort.

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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