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October 18, 2017

Rock and roll legend Charles "Chuck" Berry, an inductee in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, was born in 1926 in San Jose, California.

Doing Right by Haiti

POSTED: September 12, 2008, 12:00 am

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Our friends, family, brothers and sisters in the Republic of Haiti need our help. The tiny Caribbean island has been devastated by four hurricanes and tropical storm systems that have left the country in a state of emergency. The loss of life and property is significant, and the country teeters toward disaster as its agricultural harvest has been decimated.

Having witnessed the destructive force of Hurricane Katrina three years ago we should be sensitized to the trauma that the people of Haiti are experiencing at this moment. While our nation’s response to Katrina was pathetic, at least New Orleans and the Gulf Coast communities affected were jurisdictions in a country that has considerable resources at its disposal. So, even if late, the aid communities in the U.S. can receive from their governments is significant no matter if late. The same cannot be said for Haiti.

Haiti is a poor nation that has been in a tragic spiral downward. It faces long-term dysfunction as a result of these storms if it does not receive the financial aid and resources it needs during this crisis. There is an international effort underway to bring food and supplies to Haiti. However, we believe it is imperative for Blacks in the United States to step up. For too long we have cast Haiti aside, treating it as a somewhat bothersome cousin and Haitian immigrants with disdain. Meanwhile, we have allowed our nation’s immigration policy to treat Haitians as a suspect class. While special consideration has been given to others to emigrate to the U.S., Haitians were stopped on the high seas while fleeing oppressive conditions, only to be stopped in the water and turned back by our government.

Haiti should hold a place of reverence in our hearts. It is the first independent Black led nation, having secured its sovereignty through a slave rebellion. Even today we see that spirit in the Haitian people. This tiny nation on the opposite side of the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola should be held up as prominent historical marker in our own struggle for freedom and citizenship in the United States. We have a moral obligation, let alone a cultural mandate, to come to the aid of Haiti.

The human tragedy that has occurred in Haiti cannot be ignored by Blacks in the United States. We encourage you to send a check to a relief organization or make an online donation. Every little bit helps so don’t choose to not send a check because you feel the amount is insignificant. It our responsibility to come to the aid of our extended family in Haiti – if not us, who?

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