Perspectives

A concrete way to provide long-term support for Haiti

By FinalCall.com News | Last updated: Nov 17, 2010 - 10:03:04 AM

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(FinalCall.com) - News that Hurricane Tomas brought heavy rain, floods and misery to the town of Leogane, in western Haiti, and to the already-ravaged capital of Port-au-Prince weighed heavy on the hearts of those who have watched the difficult times the first Black republic has suffered since January's devastating earthquake crippled the country.

Prior to the Nov. 5 near hurricane hit, which brought plenty of problems for Haitians huddled under tents and tarps, there was a cholera epidemic that caused deaths of several hundred people and may have been caused by sanitation problems from a base used by UN peacekeepers.

The bad news, however, cannot be allowed to overshadow the resilient spirit of the Haitian people and the need for ongoing and committed engagement in the country. One U.S.-based group that has been a consistent advocate and ally for Haiti and her people is the New York-based Haiti Support Project. The small but mighty endeavor is headed by Dr. Ron Daniels with the backing and hard work of his wife and partner, Mary France Daniels, and a small group of committed volunteers.

Undaunted by the challenges in Haiti, Dr. Daniels and his group have consistently sought and found proactive opportunities, in-country partners and solutions to problems. Their latest effort, a humanitarian cruise for Haiti, is perhaps their biggest attempt to help Haiti and an endeavor worthy of support.

Dr. Daniels and cruise supporters like former Essence editor Susan Taylor, Black business guru George Fraser, the Joe Beasley Foundation, nationally syndicated radio host Warren Ballentine and committed Haitian-Americans and partners on the ground in Haiti are pushing hard with the “For the Love of Haiti: A Pilgrimage of Hope.”

The group is trying to gather 2,300 people to join the humanitarian cruise, October 3-10, 2011, aboard Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas. “People are being asked to give their time, talent and skill to community service and work projects. For the Love of Haiti: Pilgrimage of Hope is envisioned as a ‘roll-up-our-sleeves project,' a heartfelt effort to lift the spirits of the Haitian people by making a contribution to building the new Haiti,” said cruise organizers.

They hope to link faith-based institutions and civic-minded organizations from the U.S. with various projects, organizations and initiatives in Haiti to provide ongoing support for the reconstruction process after the cruise.

“In addition to community service and work projects, participants will have an opportunity to learn about Haiti's remarkable history and culture by visiting the magnificent Citadel and notable historical sites in the northern region of the country where the most decisive battles of the Haitian Revolution, which produced the world's firstBlack Republic, were fought.Visits to the devastated areas of Port Au Prince, Haiti's Capital, will be arranged as well. On board the ship, Pilgrimage of Hope will incorporate Seminars on Humanitarian and Developmental Assistance; Business and Investment Opportunities in Haiti; Workshops on Haitian History and Culture; Cultural-Educational Performances; and a Haitian Film Festival,” Dr. Daniels noted.

But to make the Pilgrimage of Hope a reality, strong support is needed right now and some initial commitments must be made by Dec. 15. “We need friends of Haiti from across the country to imagine what this Pilgrimage will mean to our sisters and brothers in Haiti and step forward to register family and friends now,” said Dr. Daniels.

We urge support for the cruise. Imagine what 2,000 people coming to the country will mean economically for Haiti and for future business opportunities and partnerships for Black America and our brothers and sisters from Haiti in America and in the historic Caribbean nation. For more information or to register for the cruise call 866.502.8415, or visit www.pilgrimageofhopecruise.com. Let's take advantage of an opportunity to do good and make history.

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