Dominican President Danilo Medina with Haitian President Michel Martelly
Dominican President Danilo Medina with Haitian President Michel Martelly

By Reginald Liger

Reginald Liger is a Georgia Tech graduate currently working as an Engineer in Networking Technologies at Cisco. He’s a community activist, altruistic volunteer and motivational speaker. 

To deny people their human rights is to challenge the very existence of humanity. Human rights is not a privilege granted by the few; they are a liberty entitled to all, and human rights, by definition, includes the rights of all humans; those in the dawn of life, the dusk of life, or the shadows of life.

What is going on currently in the Dominican Republic is an injustice to the Dominico-Haitians affected. I don’t claim to have a solution to the issue. However its important to note that these anti-Haiti sentiments started long ago, following the successful liberation of the Dominican Republic in 1822 by Haitians.

The situation grew worst in 1937 following the Parsley Massacre. Now it’s reaching a boiling point here in 2015.

We live in an age where discrimination, injustice and indecency cannot hide in the shadows. I pray that brave courageous souls continue to speak up and stand up for civil rights.

Be an activist of peace! Be an activist of progress! Show others, in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic and everywhere else around the world, that there’s a better way through education.

Education is the path to peace, while ignorance is the path to war!

To those that say there’s “nothing we can do, there’s no other way, they don’t belong” I say do not be of a small mind and a small heart. We are human beings created in the image of God.

We can do anything! Illegal immigration is an issue in countless countries around the world and has been throughout history.

Take a deep look into the bi-national market town of Dajabon and use it as an example of how to develop a trade market between the two countries that can create shared success for all. D.R. needs to promote economic development and good governance in Hispaniola to stem the “Push-Pull effect” that fosters illegal immigration.

Develop coalitions between both governments that can leverage the power of the people.

Improve the process of government documentation in D.R. to validate birth, citizenship, etc. This would require cooperation between the governments.

Currently, this process can be considered tenuous and near impossible for Haitian-Dominicans. Look to the U.S. as an example. D.R. must reform its immigration services to handle legal immigration more effectively and efficiently.

Make immigration and work visa programs support the D.R. economy. Many of these issues are collaborative with Haiti and Lord knows we have our own problems. But at the end of the day someone has to take the first step along the path of peace and prosperity.

We need to stop making excuses and quick fixes and create long-lasting solutions.

“I believe the children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way.”

This discriminatory thinking in the D.R. sickens me; however, what makes me most sorrowful, is the attitude of the children. These beautiful, innocent children are taught blindly to hate. The mass majority of them can’t even rationalize their actions.

I wish more human beings saw through the eyes of innocent children. When children play they don’t care what you look like, what you speak, they just play. They see you as another child, as another human being. They see themselves in each other. These children, our generation, are the key to peace and prosperity in Hispaniola.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

I say this to all of my fellow Haitians, Dominicans and fellow believers of peace, pray for change! Make a difference where you can. No action is too small. No words are worthless. Enlightened one mind, inspire one spirit, give hope to one soul.

Peace & Love

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