Photographs Highlight Haitian Refugees’ Lives

Posted May 7, 2004 at 1:52pm

In an effort to raise awareness about the plight of Haitian refugees, Amnesty International USA, in conjunction with various other human rights groups, is hosting “Neglected, Forgotten, Denied, but not Broken: The Struggle of Haitians to Find a Safe Home,” an exhibit of photographer Bruce Weber’s work, debuting today in the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda.

Weber, who was inspired to begin documenting Haitian asylum seekers after viewing Jonathan Demme’s film “The Agronomist,” spent much of the past year capturing moments in the lives of the Miami Haitian community’s detained asylum seekers. His pictures plumb the human side of these people’s struggle for a better life.

Weber and Amnesty International are working in tandem to highlight injustices in U.S. immigration policy vis-a-vis Haitians. Amnesty International calls the U.S. treatment of Haitians fleeing the chaos in their homeland, where a variety of armed groups continue to compete for power, “shameful.” These pictures address the difficulties confronting Haitians seeking political asylum in this country.

Weber’s photographs so inspired Sen. Edward Kennedy — a longtime proponent of reforming the United States’ Haitian immigration policy — that the Massachusetts Democrat arranged to have them exhibited on Capitol Hill.

The exhibit, which runs through Friday, will be open to the public from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

— Bree Hocking