It's about our community and our spirituality!

Haiti Still Needs Help

Right after the disastrous earthquake that took aim on Haiti’s largest city, Port au Prince, and shook it to its core we gave a donation to one of the many relief agencies promising to help. We made that donation within twenty four hours. I must admit I felt a little smug knowing that I helped. I sat back feeling better about myself. I didn’t shirk my social responsible to help. Hopefully, if for any reason something happened to my family and me, somebody would have the same compassion for us. After that, every time I saw anybody saying anything about the Haitian disaster, I was comfortable with the thought that I did my share and then some.

But then I saw this photo in today’s Time Magazine online. It was a photo of a Haitian elder wasting away in a bed in somebody’s ward with a brown substance all over the white tiled floor. And if the caption that went along with the photo was any indication, a little blurb about Haitian elders needing diapers, it’s quite possible that the brown substance is their feces. And I was ashamed because just a little while ago I felt I had done enough and didn’t need to do anymore.

I remember how the Haitian crisis was on all the television news shows and how all the television people were trying to tell people that a lot of aid would come in initially, but as days passed, people’s attention would stray. Since then we’ve had the winter Olympics and the Super Bowl. We’ve had Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday. We’ve had an even larger earthquake rattle the city of Concepción, Chile and it caught a lot of attention. And I don’t want to sound too callous but Chile appeared to be a lot more capable of taking care of its recovery than Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere for whatever reason or another. I saw the pictures of Chile and shook my head. But I was worried that people would forget to follow up with what was happening in Haiti, like I was doing.

And then this photo shook me from my stupor. How could the little money I gave before be enough? I wrote about Kelly Rowland cleaning out her closet and donating her old shoes to feel better about herself. I wrote that she should be willing to do more if she could. And if I think she should do more then let me put my money where my mouth is and do more. By the way, that pun was totally intended.

I got out the Visa card, went to another agency promising to help and upped my Haitian Relief ante. But this time around, the smugness is gone replaced with a little more humility. Hopefully, for the next week or two I won’t be trying to break my arm by patting myself on the back. I’ll do my best to remember that when I can do more I will. I can guarantee that Haiti’s ordeal won’t be over any time soon. It is probably true that this tiny half an island nation will be struggling to recover from this earthquake disaster, as well as their previous long standing disaster of poverty, for a long time to come if not throughout whatever will become perpetuity for the human race. But simply because the challenge appears insurmountable doesn’t mean that we have a pass not to help.

The image above shows that we have a lot left to do. And from the way a lot of people are talking about the situation in Haiti prior to the earthquake, there is a good chance that the elder in the photo as well as many other people throughout Haiti, would have had problems if there hadn’t been an earthquake. That’s okay. Because if the disaster did nothing else it reminded us that there are people right off the coastline of America that are in desperate need of help. And we should do everything we can to give that help.

Sunday, March 14, 2010 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Thoughts |

1 Comment »

  1. I think your reaction to the horrific photos that are coming out of Haiti is similar to most Americans. However, with the media coverage slowly declining and Haitian updates being replaced with more timely and sensational news, many organizations that are working to rebuild are running low on funding.

    Non-profit Let’s Change Haiti is partnering with three organizations- Partners in Health, UNICEF, and the American Red Cross- to insure that issues involving food, health/emergency aid, and human trafficking prevention in Haiti are still getting the attention they need.

    From March 15 to April 15 Let’s Change Haiti is aiming to tap into what Real Simple magazine estimates to be $10.5 billion in loose change circulating through households around America at any given moment.

    Follow LCH on Twitter at @letschangehaiti or read more about the cause on Facebook by searching ‘Let’s Change Haiti’, where you will be able to read more about the issue, add to the discussion, and share with friends.

    Donations can also be sent to:

    Let’s Change Haiti
    P.O. Box 400314
    Charlottesville, VA 22904-4313

    I hope you will choose to write or link to LCH through your own blog or Twitter, in which case we would be more than happy to showcase your work on our page as well.

    Thank you for your work on shedding light on the issue of Haiti.

    Comment by Let's Change Haiti | Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | Reply

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