Activists, academics urge Congress to shift focus to relief aid, away from military

In a letter organized by the TransAfrica Forum and sent to members of Congress today, activists and academic leaders are urging the U.S. to de-emphasize the military's role in the response to the Jan. 12 earthquake and to shift focus to improving the relief efforts on the ground. The letter notes that "an over-emphasis on security has meant costly delays in distributing aid that have cost lives and led to otherwise unnecessary amputations in some cases."
The letter was signed by TransAfrica Forum's Harry Belafonte, actor Danny Glover, Jesse Jackson and BHR columnist Brian Concannon, Jr., who leads the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti — along with many other signatories from colleges and NGOs.
The full text of the letter follows: Read more

Poll: Two-thirds of Haitian-Americans willing to return to Haiti to help

A poll sponsored by New American Media and released today gives new insight into just how deeply the American Dyaspora has been affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake.The poll, conducted last week in both English and Kreyol, suggests that "three out of five respondents said they had lost some of their 'loved ones.' Two-thirds felt the situation in their country was so dire they were willing to move back to Haiti for a period of time to help with the reconstruction. Read more

Plymouth boy writes about the loss of family members

The Patriot Ledger has published an article today by a nine year-old Plymouth boy who lost members of his family in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Boston Haitian doctor honored with prestigious award

Dr. Michele DavidDr. Michele DavidBoston resident Michele David, MD, MPH, MBA, FACP, an immigrant from Haiti, has received the 2010 William A. Hinton Award.
David was selected by Public Health Commissioner Dr. John Auerbach in recognition of her many years of activism, commitment to public health and tireless work to educate others in order that they may better understand, promote and support efforts to eliminate health inequities. David is an assistant professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, director of community health programs at Boston University Center of Excellence in Women's Health and co-director of the Boston Medical Center Haitian Health Institute. Read more

Radio station WFNX is hosting a live telethon for Haiti relief

WFNX will broadcast a telethon to benefit Partners in Health's efforts in Haiti tomorrow morning. Full details are here. Read more

Farmer, PIH: Aide for Haiti must be rooted in respect for 'what Haitian people want for themselves'

Dr. Paul Farmer, along with colleagues from Partners in Health, authored an op-ed in today's Miami Herald that is a must-read. He says, in part:
"Prescriptions for Haiti will be bountiful from outside, but we must ensure that the prescriptions are correct. Haiti needs a different kind of assistance, one built on solidarity and respect and rooted in what the Haitian people want for themselves. Assistance offered now must develop food sovereignty for Haiti and investment in the rural area, now seeing an influx of those displaced from the capital." Read more

SEIU 1199 donates $1 million to UNICEF's efforts in Haiti

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East - whose Boston local has already distinguished itself by hosting a relief center for Boston-area Haitians - is stepping up yet again for the Haitian cause. SEIU, the largest healthcare workers union in the country - announced today that it is donating $1 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for earthquake relief and recovery efforts in Haiti. Read more

Salsa for Haiti: Multicultural coalition plans benefit in South End

A multicultural coalition of Latino organizations has pulled together a special Salsa for Haiti event for this Saturday, Jan. 30 at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in Boston's South End. Here are the details: Read more

New Yorker: Edwidge Danticat on the loss of her cousin

Don't miss Edwidge Danticat's article in the new edition of the New Yorker magazine entitled "A Little While." The award-winning Haitian-American author recounts the life and death of her cousin Maxo.

Sunday jewelry sale will help rebuild, house people in Jérémie

Ruth Adomunes has never felt as if life was driven by technology. Yet for the past week, this local nurse and humanitarian has found herself glued to the computer and the television for information about Haiti since a magnitude 7.0 earthquake tore the impoverished Caribbean nation apart. More specifically, she is riveted by news about Jeremie, a coastal village located about 100 miles north of the epicenter of the catastrophic earthquake.
Jérémie is one of many villages outside of Port-au-Prince that suffered structural damage from the earthquake. But it was spared the mass casualties seen in the nation's capital.
Adomunes, a Milton woman who founded Designs By Ruth Jewelry, creates and sells handmade bracelets to raise money for the Haitian Health Foundation, a Connecticut-based charitable organization that works to improve the health of the poor and sick families in the greater Jérémie area. Read more

‘Mother Nature has risen up against us’

Haitian linguist and journalist Nicolas André sent this account of the hours and days after the Jan. 12 earthquake to BHR contributor Emmanuel W. Vedrine in Boston. Vedrine has translated his report from French to English.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 — Waking up with a bitter taste in my mouth, I was far from imagine the horror that I was going to see, refusing to believe at first glance what happened Tuesday night (between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m.) wasn’t a night-marish vision, a simple thing. Feeling the ground trembling under my feet and seeing the back of my house (under construction) pitching like a boat on a stormy sea, I said to myself that was only a slight quake and I thought I was right when, thirty seconds later, I didn’t feel anything. Then... came the information and, little by little as they progressed, I thought it was maybe an exaggeration of the situation. Read more

Wyclef closes telethon on upbeat note: "Enough with the moping. Let's rebuild Haiti!"

For anyone who missed it (where were you??), here's the closing performance of last night's impressive Hope for Haiti telethon, in which Wyclef Jean and fellow Haitian musicians played a medley. The highlight: 'Clef saying: "Hold up, hold up. Enough of the moping. Let's rebuild Haiti... Let's show them how we do it where we come from." Solid indeed.

Former Bush advisor: We should open doors to Haitian immigrants post-quake

The Washington Post published an interesting op-ed piece on Thursday from Elliott Abrams, who served as assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs in the Reagan administration and was a deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush. This veteran of two Republican administrations makes the case that many Democrats would likely agree with: We need to open the doors to a new wave of Haitian immigrants as one way to help Haiti in the aftermath of Jan. 12. Read more

Longwood Symphony, NEC plan Jan. 31 concert to benefit Partners in Health

The Longwood Symphony Orchestra at the New England Conservatory are planning a program called "Symphonic Relief For Haiti: A Global Concert to Benefit Partners In Health" for Sunday January 31, 2010, from 12:30—2 p.m. Read more

Harvard Square restaurant will host Sunday fundraiser

An event benefit for Haitian relief through Partners in Health will be held on Sunday, Jan 24. at OM in Harvard Square. It will run from 6p.m. to 10p.m., with a $10 donation to gain entrance or $20 and your first Pinnacle vodka drink is on the house, as well as food specials all night (with a large percentage of sales being donated by OM). Fifty percent of all Pinnacle vodka sales will also be donated all night.
Here is a facebook page for the event. Read more

Watch tonight's Hope for Haiti Telethon at Reggie Lewis Center

The Reggie Lewis Center Gymnasium will be the venue tonight for a special gathering to support the nationally televised Hope for Haiti telethon. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the televised program starts at 8 p.m. The telethon will be shown on two big screens at the RCC facility.
The event will feature live performances by local artists and a chance for Bostonians rallying around the Haiti crisis to connect under one roof. Representatives from the American Red Cross, Partners in Health, and UNICEF will be in the house to collect funds.
Money raised tonight will be given directly to their representatives. Read more

Partners in Health issues call for supplies, volunteers in Boston & Haiti

Partners in Health, the Boston-based organization that has thousands of medical personnel and volunteers on the ground in Haiti right now, has put out the call today for volunteers and supplies that they say are urgently needed both in Haiti and in Boston. Read their latest update here. Read more

Louverture's biographer on Huffington Post: Hire Haitians to rebuild Haiti

In a new post in the Huffington Post, Toussaint L'Ouverture biographer Madison Smartt Bell presents this novel idea as a key ingredient to re-building Haiti: "Hire Haitians."

Free clinics on TPS planned for Friday-Saturday in Dorchester

Catholic Charities says that it will work with immigration attorneys from Boston law firms to provide free advice to Haitian nationals who are eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under a directive issued by the Obama administration last week. The legal assistance clinics will be held on Friday (1/22) and Saturday (1/23) from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at Catholic Charities Haitian Multi Service Center in
Dorchester. Read more

Interfaith prayer service starts at 5 p.m. in Mattapan

An Interfaith Prayer Service for Haiti has been scheduled for Sunday, January 24, at 5 p.m. at Jubilee Christian Church, 1500 Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan. The event is co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Boston, Black Ministerial Alliance, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston and others. Read more

Kerry Urges Sec. Clinton: Guarantee 'safety and timely removal' of Haitian orphans

Call Endorsed by McCain, 20 other Senators & 22 Members of House Members of Congress-
Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today (Jan. 21) urging her, and the State Department, to develop a coordinated and timely exit strategy that ensures the safe and timely removal of thousands of Haitian orphans. Read more

Editorial: It's up to us

“For me right now, I feel like God sent me here for a purpose. Nothing’s happened to me, not a scrape. I’m doing all these things. I thought when I’d see blood I’d pass out. I’m not. I’m carrying dead bodies. I’m pulling people out with my own hands. I feel like I’m in a war basically.”
— Richardson Innocent, Delmas 33, Jan. 15

These powerful words from our friend and colleague Richardson Innocent — relayed directly to our ears and onto our pages this week via cell-phone— tell the story. Haiti is under siege. It is battered, bloodied and bent.
It is not defeated.
Haiti will survive because of people like Richardson. It will rise again because of the neighbors in Delmas and Petionville and Carrefour and Leogane and Jacmel who refuse to let their nation descend into the night. Not without a fight. Read more

Water, Pedialyte drive underway at Dorchester bank

Mt. Washington Bank in Codman Square is the drop-off location for a supply drive focused on collecting bottled water and Pedialyte for transport to Haiti this weekend. The collection effort began on Wednesday and continues today (Thursday, Jan. 21) from 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Friday (same hours) and Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
The bank branch is located at 305 Talbot Ave, Dorchester, MA 02124.
According to event organizers, the Boston Harbor Ship Yard Marina of East Boston has donated a ship to send relief supplies and is sailing for Haiti on Sunday Jan, 24.
For more information please contact bostonforhaiti@gmail.com

Morse code: The man behind the amazing Twitter updates from Haiti

After coming to some terms with the human scale of the current disaster in Haiti it dawned on me that some, all or most of our artistic treasures might be destroyed right now. The Centre D’Art, the murals of Bigaud in St. Trinite, the Presidential Palace itself (a gift from the US) and many other places. And what of the famous Hotel Oloffson? The place around which Graham Greene’s famous novel on Haiti “The Comedians” took shape and which also served as the center piece for the Hollywood film by the same name. Amazingly, the sturdy wood-frame Hotel, stood its ground during the 38 seconds it took for most of Port-au-Prince’s brick structures to collapse.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, the Oloffson’s manager lo these past 25 years, Richard A. Morse was among Haiti’s few links to the outside world. He moved his guests from their rooms to the hotel driveway for the night and kept busy documenting the developing situation on Twitter (@RAMHaiti). The world’s news organizations immediately locked into his accounts and pestered him for more information and the permission to share his growing narrative with their publications. Read more

"Don't come here!" Boston man scouts ways to get relatives out through the D.R.

Updated on Jan. 25—Jimmy LeBon, a Haitian-American from Boston, traveled to the Dominican Republic last weekend in an attempt to enter Haiti to assist friends and relatives on the ground. Jimmy has been relaying a blog to a friend here in Boston — Elie St. Brice— who shared it with the BHR this week. Below (after the video) we print excerpts of his diary. Jimmy and his companions also filmed a brief video on Monday from the DR in which he urges other Haitian Americans not to try to come down "just yet." Jimmy has since made it into Haiti and is relaying information to friends and family here on ways that they can help relatives get out of Haiti through the D.R. The Reporter will update Jimmy's account with new excerpts as we get them. Read more