The recent comments of January 11, 2018 about Haiti and African nations, attributed to President Trump during a White House official bi-partisan immigration negotiation with select members of Congress on legislation to protect immigrants, is deeply troubling.
While this is not the first of such remarks, the travesty here is that Mr. Trump is in the White House and serves as the President of the United States. That makes his repeated denigrating comments very disconcerting. Besides, such remarks have given a new voice to the Klan and emboldened like-minded groups and individuals.
The irony here is that it diminishes the office of the President of the United States and America’s standing on the world stage. In the end, it hurts the American people. The repeated unchecked comments in the public square set a new low for the office of the president and bring untold distress to millions of Americans. Never in our lifetime has the office of the American president been so ridiculed at home and abroad.
The Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN), her organizational members, board of directors, staff, and numerous individual members and supporters join millions of Americans to offer a sincere apology to the peoples of Africa and Haiti. Please know that Mr. Trump’s comments do not reflect our values. We cherish and respect you as our sisters and brothers created in God’s image. AFJN, inspired by the Gospel and informed by Catholic Social Teaching, works to promote just U.S.-Africa relations and in partnership with the African peoples as they engage in the struggle for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation. We respect and cherish you as God’s own children.
Hundreds of thousands of the people demeaned by Mr. Trump’s comments are among the exceptional individuals in diverse professions that keep America running. We call on President Trump to respect and cherish them, even if from a far distance.
We call on the American people to ensure that this is not another “nine-day wonder” that generates noise in the heat of the moment but then fades away into the far distance and forgotten until another episode erupts. This denigrating mentality needs to be addressed in a sustained manner so that the rights and dignity of all people are respected. Remember the saying that all that it takes for evil to persist is that good people do nothing.
African leaders must ensure that they do not create conditions or provided opportunities that play into behaviors that ferment this kind of abuse and that the denigration of a whole continent does not continue. They must uphold the rule of law and use the abundant wealth that God has blessed the continent with for the common good.
May peace, justice and respect for others reign in our hearts.