January 18, 2010

All of us in the Caribbean and in the world, must offer solidarity to Haiti, not help

By Alissa Trotz

Alissa Trotz is Editor of the In the Diaspora Column

It is now nearly one endless week since the earthquake that devastated Haiti, shattering lives and communities. In Toronto, where I am based, the Haitian diaspora (one of the largest outside of Haiti) has come out en masse, organizing support while mourning and searching for missing or dead relatives and friends. One event planned in Ottawa will be called “AYITI VIVAN” (Haiti is ALIVE!). These initiatives are part of a longer Haitian tradition known as konbit (collective work), and they continue on the ground and in the diaspora. Haitians are engaged and are mobilizing as they always have, taking the lead even as they must be overwhelmed with sorrow and loss. We must demonstrate our solidarity, and not just in the short-term, when the emergency requirements are so crucial. We can all ask ourselves what might be the best ways that we can each offer meaningful support, now and in the longer-term. For example I have received distressing messages about Haitian colleagues dead or missing. One e-mail said simply and heartbreakingly that “University Quisqueya, the Université d’État d’Haïti and many high schools have collapsed, some with teachers and students.” As a teacher, one of the meaningful commitments I can make is to organize with others at our places of work and professional associations to offer support for the rebuilding of Haiti’s educational infrastructure.

Read full article here.

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