Mia Love made history as the first Black Republican woman in Congress but some Haitian-Americans are finding it hard to celebrate the historical election, as Love has seemed to shun her own Haitian roots.
Love has made several refences to her identity as a Mormon woman, but members of the Haitian-American community aren’t seeing her showing as much pride in her cultural background.
Love was born in Brooklyn to two Haitian parents who came to the U.S. in the 1970s.
To her parents’ dismay, Love followed in her sister’s footsteps to become Mormon.
More than 80 percent of Haiti’s population is Roman Catholic, including Love’s parents.
It was a religious decision that many people in the Haitian community didn’t understand.
“A lot of Haitians don’t understand that,” said Vania Andre, editor-in-chief of The Haitian Times. “They felt that it was a Satan thing.”
Religious beliefs aside, other Haitian-Americans felt like Love’s political views were extremely troubling as well.
“Mia Love said she’d phase out social security and end federal student loan and work study programs,” one man posted on Twitter. “Toussaint Louverture didn’t die for this.”
Others took to Twitter to slam Love for turning her back on her Haitian ideals.
“I would have supported Mia Love back when she was Ludmya Boudreau,” another user tweeted. “She changed that Haitian name and those Haitian ideals. Bye girl.”
Meanwhile, a New York group called the Haitian Roundtable made a point not to mention Love when they were tweeting their own congratulations to several Haitian-Americans who were elected to office.
For some Haitian-Americans, however, it was important to note that Love was able to successfully climb the political ranks in America regardless of her political party affiliation.
“In Haiti right now… it’s considered a failed state because of lack of leadership,” said Joseph Makhandal Champagne, the president of the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network, to the Huffington Post. “But at the same time, we see Haitians that are overseas ascending to higher office, who are governing a town or managing certain districts and not just managing, but doing it successfully.”
Only time will tell if Love will win over more support from her fellow Haitian-Americans although she has already spoken out against President Obama’s use of executive action aimed at immigration reform.
“As the daughter of immigrant parents, I understand the importance of having a sound immigration and border security policy,” Love said in a Facebook post after the president unveiled his executive action. “Using executive action to fundamentally alter our immigration laws is patently contrary to the system of checks and balances detailed in the Constitution. I oppose all efforts to undermine our constitutional process. If the President will not respect the voice of the people, he must respect the rule of law.”