Los Altos High School students gathered on the corner of El Camino Real and San Antonio Road Dec. 16 to publicly demonstrate their support for the people of Haiti amid the Biden administration’s deportation efforts.
The Students for Haiti Solidarity club at Los Altos High organized the protest, with an aim to show support for their sister school SOPUDEP in Haiti and to stand in solidarity with Haitians in their struggle for human rights.
“In the course of supporting our sister school, we’ve also been learning about the human rights crisis in Haiti, which has been in effect ever since the U.S. government did a coup in 2004,” said Seth Connolly, faculty adviser for the club. “We’ve met with human rights activists, we’ve met with student activists.”
Students stood on the busy corner waving to passing motorists and holding signs to protest the Biden administration’s deportation of thousands of Haitian refugees over the past two months. Students for Haiti Solidarity also opposes the U.S.-backed dictatorship in Haiti, which members hope comes to an expeditious end.
Connolly said the demonstration isn’t the first for the club. Students annually sponsor a rally and candlelight vigil for the people of Haiti around Dec. 10 – Human Rights Day.
Although Connolly has traveled with students several times to Haiti, he said the current situation in the Caribbean nation is too politically unstable and dangerous for the club to make any trips.
Quetzalli Hernandez, a junior and member of Students for Haiti Solidarity, held up a sign that said, “USA Stop Funding Terror in Haiti.”
“Haitians at the U.S. border are seeking asylum, and it’s just so wrong because they’re fleeing from a U.S.-backed dictatorship,” Hernandez said. “When they come to America, they’re being turned away and sent back. … It’s sad. It’s a very gruesome, tragic story, and it’s disheartening and it just needs to be stopped.”
Charleze Berard, a junior, hoisted a sign that read “Stop Deportations.” She believes the Haitian situation is important and needs to be addressed further.
“A lot of people might not know about this, so it’s good to protest and just to make people aware of this,” she said.
Club co-president Han-Nha Tiet, a senior, said that prior to joining the club, she had no idea about U.S. political involvement in Haiti. She emphasized the importance of educating people about the situation.
“We want to communicate the idea of what’s happening in Haiti, and how it’s our responsibility,” Tiet said. “It’s not just, ‘Oh, they have their own problems, we have our own.’ We’re trying to move away from that, and I want to show people what the U.S. is doing.”
The Haiti Action Committee, a Bay Area-based network of activists, co-sponsored the event.