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Dear Friends:
The national media suggests that last week the President of United States made inflammatory xenophobic comments about Haiti, Africa, and El Salvador in the presence of multiple lawmakers. The comments were made on the eve two historic anniversaries: 
the eighth anniversary of a devastating earthquake that shook Haiti to its core, and the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  
I was outraged by the racist remarks and in shock about their occurrence at a time for national reflection about justice and resilience.  I conveyed my reaction publicly in the Providence Journal. 
On Friday evening I reached out to three leaders in the Haitian community, Dr. Kappy Bois, Dr. Norly Germain and Mr. Bernard Georges. By Saturday morning we were sitting at my dining room table planning a press conference to give voice to our outrage and a platform for community groups and elected officials to state their response. When I saw Rhode Islanders gather -- from our federal, state and city legislators to community groups, residents and immigrants -- I was reminded that Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy lived.
You can see coverage of the event from UPRISE RI, the Providence Journal and Latino Public Radio News.
As an immigrant from Haiti, I am proud to live in a community where people are quick to speak up against negativity and hatred.  I was comforted by the people who showed up and who spoke out in person and on social media. When we work together, we are strong. 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy lives through our actions, collaboration, and humility. Today let us continue to honor his memory through collective action that shows what our country can be. Let us work in service of Dr, King’s words:  "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." 
Thank you for your support.  Onward!
Nirva R. LaFortune

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