Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Haiti: One Year Later

Incredible that it was just one year ago that Haiti was rocked by a horrendous earthquake that toppled the country, destroying infrastructure and the economy, and driving nearly a million people from their homes into temporary housing - tents and shanties. Today, a March in NYC will remember that tragedy and call for aid for the Haitian people.

Billions in international aid were promised that have never completely materialized ($1.15B out of $5.3B promised.) Where's the money asks The Nation ?

Haitians 'long for change after a year in hell.' Article here

A slew of prominent New York City leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, will speak at Marching for Change, a solidarity march commemorating the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010. Facebook and other sites indicate that the Marrch for Change is stil la go.  The march will feature two rallies, one in Times Square and the other at the United Nations. Speakers include:

Times Square: City Councilmembers Matthieu Eugene and Jumaane Williams; Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Yvonne Graham; National Action Network Executive Director Tamika Mallory; Housing Works Pres. and CEO Charles King

United Nations: Rev. Al Sharpton; Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly; City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez; Rev. Jacques Andre DeGraff; Diaspora Community Services Executive Director Carine Jocelyn

The Marching for Change route will take marchers past the Haitian consulate at 39th and Madison. Marchers will demand that Haitian and world leaders address the unacceptably slow pace of earthquake recovery by committing to four specific actions:

1) Remove the Rubble: More than 50% of the original 19 million cubic meters of rubble remains uncleared. President Clinton has called the situation "totally unacceptable."

2) Provide Safe and Secure Shelter: One million Haitians are internally displaced. More than 1,000 camps dot the country, potential incubators for cholera, sexual violence and the spread of HIV.

3) Provide Clean Water and Sanitation: 40% percent of camps lack access to water. 30% do not have toilets. Water-borne cholera has claimed more than 3,000 lives.

4) Provide Jobs: Post-quake, unemployment quadrupled in areas of Port-au-Prince and its outskirts. The estimated Haiti unemployment rate is 80 percent.

2 PM: Kick-off Call to Action rally in Times Square (42nd St. and 7th Ave.)
2:30 PM: March to the Haitian Consulate at 39th St. and Madison Ave.
4 PM (approximate): Rally at the United Nations’ Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 47th St. and 1st Ave.

Carine Jocelyn, Executive Director of Diaspora Community Services: "Next year we don't want the issue to be that one million people are still living under tents. This is unacceptable to the global community and must be a priority of funding and action." DCS helps Haitian immigrants in New York obtain health care and other services and operates a community health center in Port-au-Prince.

Charles King, President and CEO of Housing Works: “We will use this march to come together, show our support and solidarity with Haiti and demand action!” Since the earthquake, Housing Works has opened two medical clinics in Haiti.

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS: Bailey House; CAMBA; Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce; Catholic Charities; CHE; Diaspora Community Services; Dwa Fanm; HAFALI; Haiti Cultural Exchange; Haiti Solidarity Network NE; Haitian Centers Council; Housing Works; JCRC; Lambi Fund; MADRE; National Action Network; NHAHA; New York Immigrant Coalition; People's Organization for Progress

You Tube trailer here

NY1 news clip on the Gallery photo exhibit at the Umbrage Editions Gallery exhibition called "Tent Life: Haiti" displays 22 of photographer Wyatt Gallery's photographs. He visited the country twice over the course of 2010.

More on the book, which portrays the struggle and hopes of the Haitian people in photos by Wyatt Gallery and an essay by Edwidge Danticat here

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