It's far from a "shithole," as Trump called it this week. No, perhaps the most resilient, toughest people in the world come from that island. Today is the eighth anniversary of an earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti, but the refining fire that the tiny nation has endured started way before that force of nature. Did you know that Napoleon sent more than 20,000 troops to crush Haitians when they first overthrew those who had kept them enslaved? They overcame that, and numerous other trials along the way to the present day. Living in Haiti may be too tough for our leadership to fathom. Were our elected officials to take some time to meet Haitians, they'd see that the toughness of Haiti translates into resilience in the people who from there hail.
I took this photograph in Port-au-Prince in 2015, documenting Haiti's national women's soccer team at their final practice before their match against Puerto Rico. They were an incredibly hard working group, and so were the other Haitians we had the privilege of interacting with. As were, and are, so many people that my white privilege has allowed me to interact with in Mozambique, and Swaziland, and South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tough places, some of them. Shitholes, they are not.
We all ought to feel embarrassed by the ignorance of our leadership this week, and watch for ways to hold them more accountable. We're better than that.