A respected community leader who in recent months has been one of the foremost champions for vulnerable Haitian families seeking safety in the U.S. was this week awarded the 2021 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Guerline Jozef, co-founder and executive director of nonprofit organization Haitian Bridge Alliance, accepted the honor outside California’s Otay Mesa Detention Center, calling attention to the continued, inhumane detention of immigrants in the U.S.
“The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award identifies and honors those who embody Robert F. Kennedy’s belief that the power of individual and collective moral courage can overcome injustice,” RFK Human Rights said. The organization was founded by Ethel Kennedy, and is today led by their daughter Kerry Kennedy. “Each year, we honor outstanding champions of social justice who stand up to oppression, even at great personal risk, in the nonviolent pursuit of human rights.”
“This year, we’re proud to honor Guerline Jozef, executive director and co-founder of the Haitian Bridge Alliance,” the organization continued.
Jozef and Haitian Bridge Alliance have been among the leading advocates demanding a halt to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation flights to Haiti—flights that are continuing this very day—and full accountability for the mistreatment of Black migrants both at the border and within federal immigration detention facilities. On Wednesday, Jozef accepted her honor outside one such detention facility in California.
“Guerline Jozef is a true hero, and no one is more deserving of an award celebrating courage in the pursuit of human rights and social justice,” FWD.us President Todd Schulte said in a statement received by Daily Kos. “Through her leadership of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, Guerline has not only dedicated her life to defending the rights and dignity of Haitian and Black immigrants and saved countless lives, but has shone a light on our cruel and long-broken immigration system that disproportionately disadvantages Black, brown, and indigenous people seeking protection.”
“She continues to be a leader advocating against cruel and inhumane policies that harm people seeking asylum, particularly Black migrants, such as Title 42, and the outrageous continued deportation of Haitians,” Schulte continued. Other leading organizations joined in to congratulate Jozef.
“This award is for my brave brothers and sisters who were subject to abuse, inhumane and unjust treatment under the bridge in Del Rio, Texas last month,” Jozef said following news of her award. On Wednesday, advocates urged members of the public to show their support by sending a message to the Biden administration urging a halt to Haitian deportation flights and an end to the anti-asylum Title 42 policy. Click here to send your message today.
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