Boston College Law School student Rodline Louijeune, who had a firsthand look at a humanitarian crisis in Haiti last summer, is part of a new generation of Haitian American activists working to improve the quality of life for the nation's people.
In an article published in the Boston Haitian Reporter, Rodline Louijeune ’17 writes about her trip to the Dominican Republic and Haiti border with a delegation of eight other attorneys and law students from the United States, Haiti, Australia, and Canada. Louijeune, daughter of two Haitian immigrants and currently an Ella Baker Legal Fellow at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), details her experience of the ongoing crisis spilling across the two borders, where she and the other delegates witnessed hundreds of people migrating from the Dominican Republic into Haiti as part of a “forced voluntary” exodus.
“The delegation encountered crowded American school buses overloaded with people and their personal belongings — including large bags, mattresses, tarps, and bed-frames — tied to the roof of each bus,” writes Louijeune. “Though border officials on both sides were adamant that the departures were voluntary and part of seasonal migration patterns, this generally was not the case. People crossing the border initially tended to describe themselves as leaving voluntarily, but after further questioning, many reported having experienced threats and other pressures to leave the DR, sometimes from DR police and militia…Most left their livelihoods and/or families behind.”