Pray for Haiti Our Pearl of the Caribbean

by Gloria Dulan-Wilson

The news of Haiti's tragic earthquake has shocked and saddened us all. As I watched the report on the news, I found myself crying and singing “Haiti Cherie Ma Plus Belle Pais des Mon Freres” -- a song I learned during the six months I spent in Petionville, a small suburb outside of Port au Prince, Haiti -- oh too many years ago!

Papa Doc Duvalier was still living and the tauntaun mecoute were heroes and the law of the land. Haiti was called "Little Africa." You could sit on the stoop and hear the drums and ceremonies ringing throughout the night, as they practiced their various Loas. Dumbalawaido (sp?) was mine. I walked through fire in Haiti. Met the great Katherine Dunham, who had expatriated there. Even tried to wash clothes by hand in the river, the way so many of the women did. Went to the Mahogany Mart, watched Ti RoRo play drums; learned to speak Creole, tried to make Haitian furniture. I was only supposed to be there for a two-week vacation. I stayed six months!

I fell in love with Haiti. To this day I still have so many wonderful memories of the people I met, the many experiences getting to know them, and the history that has made her the icon she is among Black people here in the U.S.

My Haiti -- our Haiti -- The Haiti we love and speak of when I talk to my Haitian friends -- has been deeply wounded. And we all feel the pain so deeply -- whether we're Haitians at home or abroad (here in the US), African Americans, Caucasian, Asian -- we are all so deeply awash with the agony they must be suffering. 50,000 lives and counting is the toll so far.

I have watched with great pain, sadness and, yes, fear, as my valiant Haitian brothers and sisters have bounced back from tragedy after tragedy after tragedy over the past twenty-five years. Papa Doc's unexpected passing; Jean Claude's bankrupting the country; Haitian brothers and sisters risking their lives to get to freedom; the internecine wars; the kidnapping of Aristede on the eve of our celebrating Haiti's 200 anniversary of self-liberation; the devastating hurricaines; and they keep coming back, picking themselves up, and begin to rebuild. And now this leviathan earthquake.

President Barack Obama has already pledged the help and the support of the US in rescuing and rebuilding Haiti. "We will not leave you or forsake you. We are here for you," stated our leader, sincerely. And, as I watch the rescue missions unfold on TV, I know deep in my heart that they’ll bounce back from this as well. Such is the resiliency of Haitians.

But resiliency alone will not do it. This is indeed an international emergency of catastrophic proportions, as Rev. Jesse Jackson noted during his speech at the Rainbow Push Wall Street Project, currently taking place here in New York City.

They definitely need our prayers, our compassion, they need food, assistance, hands on help in the rebuilding of their homes, schools and institutions.

It is truly a delicate situation, because within every tragedy, there is an opportunity. However, as Jackson also noted on a panel discussion about rural opportunities for Black investors, with Jonathan Adelstein, administrator of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), "it is all to easy to bring in swarms of outside people to do the rebuilding, as in the Katrina catastrophe, or to find a way to make sure that Haitians, African American businesses and craftsmen partner" together to rebuild Haiti into a strong, durable beautiful city that will withstand the forces of nature.

The USDA administrator stated that USAID really coordinated those efforts, but that he would convey the message and concern. USDA coordinates the uplift of food and other emergency services with other international sources, and will be instrumental in providing food for destitute Haitian families.

Rev. Jackson, however, concerned that Haiti does not become a dumping ground for gigantic corporations, displacing the smaller community-based businesses, has issued a call from Rainbow Push Wall Street Project, nationwide, for skilled Black craftsmen to contribute their time and skills to rebuild Haiti. "We must be careful to re-establish the small, locally owned shops and businesses that serve as the backbone of the community. To provide the training and assistance, form partnerships with the people there to bring Haiti back to wholeness."

In other words, instead of Big Brother's corporations taking over, the help should be humane, sensitive and people based -- a hand up, not a hand out.

Nevertheless, immediacy of the situation, with more and more bodies being pulled from the rubble, must be the first priority. And while that is going forward, putting together the team that will be part and parcel of Haiti’s revival, is also of the utmost importance. Those interested please contact Rainbow Push at either of the following numbers: National Hdq.: 773-373-3366; Wall Street Project: (212) 425-7874 or go on line to www.rainbowpush.org.

Considered the poorest country in the Caribbean, Haiti, also called "des perle des antilles" and Little Africa was oh so rich in culture. And they have maintained their African traditions intact more than any other Caribbean country - with more than five tribes represented in their ancestry. They have managed to maintain their traditions, while reaching for, and often integrating, modern nuances as well.

While I lived there, I was totally awed by their work ethic. They never left a job undone, or incomplete. Everyone pitched in, worked together on whatever the project happened to be with joy, enthusiasm, cooperation -- and without the argument and rancor I so often observed here in the states. And while this coming together to rebuild will be overshadowed by the devastation and tragedy that caused the problem, I am no less sure that they will still stand, shoulder to shoulder, working to make their home “Haiti Cherie” again.

There are a great many organizations, locally and nationally, putting together fund raisers, food and clothing drives, and other events in support of Haiti’s recovery. Some of them are listed below. As more information comes in,or if you have additional information, please send it to me, and I will post them in the blog.

In the meantime, please keep Haiti in your prayers. Pray for our Haitian brothers and sisters here in New York City and everywhere else they may reside. This is indeed a time for tears and mourning and gnashing of teeth; as well as for hugs, comfort and prayers never ceasing.

God’s Grace and Mercy shines on Haiti now. They will rebuild a new and even more beautiful city on the hill. In my heart I hear us singing in English and Creole Israel Houghton's Song "I'M STILL STANDING!!" the new theme song for triumph over adversity for Haiti.

Stay blessed &
Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Below are some of the upcoming events and organizations that are organizing for Haiti.

1): Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer,
The Haitian Roundtable, National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations(NECO) and Fernando Mateo

Honorary Co-Hosts:
Senator Charles E. Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Congressman Eliot Engel, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Michael E. McMahon, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Congressman Edolphus Towns

Governor David A. Paterson, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John C. Liu, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, State Senator Thomas K. Duane, State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, State Senator Liz Krueger, State Senator Kevin S. Parker, State Senator Bill Perkins, State Senator Eric T. Schneiderman, State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, Assemblymember Karim Camara, Assemblymember Herman D. Farrell, Jr., Assemblymember Adriano Espaillat, Assemblymember Richard N. Gottfried, Assemblymember Micah Kellner, Assemblymember Alan Maisel, Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell, Assemblymember José R. Peralta, Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, Assemblymember Keith L.T. Wright, Councilmember Gale A. Brewer, Councilmember Fernando Cabrera, Councilmember Leroy Comrie, Councilmember Inez E. Dickens, Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, Councilmember Daniel R. Garodnick, Councilmember Sara M. González , Councilmember Letitia James, Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, Councilmember Diana Reyna, Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, New Jersey Councilmember Julio Tavarez, Maurice A. Buckley, Walter Edwards, Nasser J. Kazeminy, Bill Lynch, Karl and Faye Rodney, Bill White, Alianza Dominicana, Citi Health Home Care, The Dominican American National Roundtable, Dominican Women's Development Center, Haiti’s Hungry Task Force, Haitian-American Caucus, NYS Organizing for America, NY Carib News, Street Corner Resources Live
Invite you to
New Yorkers for Haiti
an event in support of relief efforts following the earthquake in Haiti.

Friday, January 15, 2010
Talay, 701 West 135th Street (at 12th Avenue)
6:00 – 8:30 pm

2): MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "On January 12, 2010, a massive earthquake struck the nation of Haiti, causing catastrophic damage inside and around the capital city of Port-au-Prince. President Obama has promised the people of Haiti that "you will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten." The United States Government has mobilized resources and manpower to aid in the relief effort. Here are some ways that you can get involved.

* Financial Donations
o Donate $10 to the American Red Cross – charged to your cell phone bill – by texting "HAITI" to "90999."
o Contribute online to the Red Cross
* Find more ways to help through the Center for International Disaster Information.

Get Information about Friends or Family

The State Department Operations Center has set up the following phone number for Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747 (due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording). You can also send an email to the State Department. Please be aware that communications within Haiti are very difficult at this time.
The Federal Response

Check out the links below to find out how each federal department and agency is responding to the earthquake in Haiti.

* The Department of State
* The Department of Defense
* The Department of Homeland Security
* The Department of Health and Human Services
* The Federal Communications Commission
* The Department of Interior

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Help for Haiti: Learn What You Can Do
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Help for Haiti: Learn What You Can Do

3): The US Fund for UNICEF will be present to receive donations.
All proceeds will go to The US Fund for UNICEF, a registered 501c3.
For more information call 212.669.8300
If you are unable to attend this even, click here to learn about other ways you can help.
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4): {From Fikisha Cumbo): Wyclef Jean's organization is the best place to entrust our hard earned dollars to.
The organization can be reached at www.Yele.org click on Donate 212.352.0552
Please keep an open heart, say prayers for our sisters and brothers
down there and please, please watch out for the sharks everywhere.

Dr Boyce Watkins has written an interesting article 'Destroyed and
Desparate, Haiti Needs Our Help' that I'd like to recommend. You can
find it at info@boycewatkins.com

5): Dear Friend,
All of us feel the sense of shock and helplessness brought on by the tragic earthquake in Haiti . The mass suffering and destruction is unprecedented. I had the honor of traveling to Haiti just this past March at the invitation of President Clinton. We went, with Wyclef Jean and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to review relief efforts and economic development initiatives being promoted and run by the Clinton Foundation and Wyclef’s Yele Haiti Foundation. To think of all that progress now turned to rubble is frustrating and heart-breaking, at the very least.

Democrats and Republicans, citizens across our state, our country, of all political persuasions share one common American virtue: compassion. There are several organizations that I TRUST will get help DIRECTLY to the PEOPLE. Please join with us in bringing direct, needed, immediate help to the people of Haiti by contributing to one of the 3 following organizations:

THE CLINTON FOUNDATION – go to: http://www.clintonfoundation.org/haitiearthquake/
YELE HAITE – go to: http://www.yele.org/
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS – go to: http://doctorswithoutborders.org/

Please contribute AS MUCH AS YOU CAN – TODAY.

Thank you.

6): {Tom Joyner Show} Listen Friday Morning 6a-10a to the Tom Joyner Morning Show

“We are planning to leave late tonight to go to Haiti and broadcast the show from the streets (Friday). My purpose is to set up an internet café so that Haitians can get in touch with their families. But trust me, as we approach the King Holiday weekend and as I prep for MSNBC town hall meeting that will air on the King Holiday on Monday, the earthquake in Haiti will not take a back seat…If we can use Hurricane Katrina as a template we learned that we cannot sit back and wait for anyone to do for us what we can and must do for ourselves. I'm not even waiting for that and you shouldn't either. The 70s hit by Atlantic Starr says “when love calls, you better answer.”

--Tom Joyner Blog “When Love Calls” on BlackAmericaWeb.com 1/14/10 Read all at

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