This post was originally published on St. Louis American

Letter to the Editor

A few weeks ago, the world watched one of the saddest episodes in modern history. Men, women, and even children were seen desperately clinging to the sides, top, and even the bottom of moving airplanes as they were trying to lift off the runway. Undoubtedly this was one of the most visually disturbing episodes seen from 20 years of American engagement, in war-weary Afghanistan. As Americans, we are deeply concerned about the safety and security of Afghans that worked to save the lives of our soldiers in Afghanistan through their service.

However, only 900 miles from Florida lies Haiti, which was recently shocked by the assassination of its President. As bad as that was, a few weeks later Haiti was victimized by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, where over 2200 Haitian people died, tens of thousands were made homeless, and thousands more were left without access to drinkable (potable) water, food, and basic shelter. All this was followed by the devastation of Tropical Storm Grace. 

Unlike the Afghan refugees, the American public seems indifferent to the plight of Haitians. Among the many cruel acts by Donald Trump was to remove Haitians from the protection of Temporary Protected Status, without which they must leave America and return to Haiti. All of this causes us to wonder and ask why are Black politicians silent when it comes to providing support for the citizens of Black countries? Mexico has offered to take in Afghan refugees, Europe is taking in Afghans refugees, Americans are taking in Afghans, yet we vigorously ask who is offering to bring Haitians to the safety of America? Where is the shame, embarrassment, and sense of pride that prevents Black politicians from demanding that America make a place for Haitians displaced by earthquakes, storms, and political unrest?

We have plenty of room for the Haitians. They could sit right next to the Afghans.

Bishop Lawrence M. Wooten, PhD, President, Ecumenical Leadership Council of Mo—St. Louis Chapte