L’UNION FAIT LA FORCE!

Honestly, it is at times like these that I regret letting my oblivion in organic chemistry deter me from pursuing a career in medicine. But before I let myself be over run with regret, what-ifs, dreams deferred and whimsical wishes, I bring myself back to reality. The reality is not that my value as a person and what I would like to do is insignificant, but better yet that what we can do now as members of the human race is indeed of epic proportions in significance.

In the west, Haiti has been overlooked for a number of years. It would be somewhat cathartic for me to get into theories and point fingers at governments, imperialism and colonialism, slavery, corruption, but it won’t change the events of Tuesday evening. Nothing can. But what happens now is that we can all be held accountable because at this point one has to choose consciously and fully not to respond, not to be moved, and simply not to help. The issues and conditions in Haiti that have contributed to making a bad situation worse are sadly conditions that exist in other countries… this means that as we sit and watch the chaos and destruction in Haiti on television, there are others living in similar conditions that existed in Haiti prior to this tragedy.

My heart aches when there is tragedy in the world. The tsunami in Asia, the earthquakes in China and Italy, the fires in California. But I will openly admit that even in those instances there existed an invisible distance between myself and the victims. It wasn’t something that I consciously perpetuated but somewhere in the back of my mind the fact that people didn’t look like me, or spoke my language, or were geographically far away allowed me to let go of my worry and my concern too soon – because it wasn’t me. But now that my close friends are suffering, unable to locate their loved ones in Haiti, it’s a little closer to home. Now that this country of strong independent pioneers – pioneers that look like me – in a country whose landscape closely resembles mine from the coconut trees to the banana and mango trees in the backyard, has suffered such devestation, I cannot help but see brothers and sisters when I look at my people’s suffering faces. Sadly enough that is what we should all see regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, social class or status – but let’s face it . . . we don’t.

So my urge to you is that,  yes Haiti needs you now. Yes. Haiti needs us all. But if for some reason you feel that distance that I spoke of, here’s what you should do. Find a cause. Find a cause so that when you look into the faces of hardship you feel further away from the self that you once were before you found your cause, than the self that you become afterwards. I am not condoning prejudice in any form, I am stepping over it. The truth of the matter is the world some of us live in is not the world that the majority of citizens on this planet are able to experience. So even if you chose to ignore the fact that another human is in need of your help in Haiti, also know that there are humans in need of your help on all seven continents and the islands in between. Close your eyes… spin a globe and stop it with your pinky. I assure you that wherever your pinky landed, there is a cause worth fighting for there, even in the ocean.

You can donate monetarily or give of your time, or just spread awareness.

Call your local 311 or 411 to be directed to legitimate orgs.

Visit http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/impact/ for a steadily increasing list of orgs.

Text “HAITI” to ” 90999″ to give $10 directly to Red Cross for relief efforts

Text “Yele” to 501501 to give $5 to Wyclef Jean’s org which is very active in Haiti. As of right now I suspect the website server is just inundated with traffic.

Red Cross needs Creole speaking volunteers for a 24 hour PHONE BANK! CALL B. WILFORD @ 305-776-6900.

Medical professtionals needed in Haiti. Airlines are working with consulate call 212 697 9767 for more information. Feel free to pass the message.

[Update 1/14/10]: More ways to help

The International Committee of the Red Cross has also established a family linking Web site, enabling persons in Haiti and abroad to search for and register the names of relatives missing since the earthquake. www.icrc.org/familylinks

www.redcross.org: While the American Red Cross asks that donors consider making a gift to the International Response Fund, we will honor donor intent and accept gifts specifically designated to the ongoing response to the earthquakes in Haiti. If you wish to designate your donation to the Haiti earthquake, please do so by mailing your donation with the designation [“Haiti Earthquake”] to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.

Compliments Sade Jemmott of the FB Group “Whas De Action?!!” for those of us living in the Caribbean who would like to help:

To make a donation just call OR text the word “Help” to the number below.

Directions to send a text donation:
Step 1: Open new text message
Step 2: Type HELP as your message
Step 3: Enter the number to for your country (e.g. If you’re in Barbados, enter 5151)
Step 4: Press Send

To send a call donation:
Step 1: Dial the right number for your country (e.g. If you’re in Barbados, enter 5151)
Step 2: Wait for it to answer. You’ve now automatically made a donation to help Haiti. Thank you.

1. Aruba/Bonaire/Curacao 5151 (Cost: NAF $1.00)
2. Anguilla 5151 (Cost: XCD $1.00)
3. Antigua & Barbuda 5151 (Cost: XCD $1.00)
4. Barbados 5151 (Cost: BBD $1.00)
5. Bermuda 5151 (Cost: USD $1.00)
6. Cayman 5151 (Cost: CI $1.00)
7. Dominica 5151 (Cost: XCD $1.00)
8. Guyana 1133 (Cost: GYD $100.00)
9. Suriname 2727 (Cost: SRD $1.00)
10. Trinidad 5151 (Cost: TTD $3.00)
11. Jamaica 162 (Cost: JD $25.00)
12. TCI 5151 (Cost: USD $1.00)
13. BVI 5151 (Cost: USD $1.00)
14. FWI* 999 (Cost: E $1.00)
15. El Salvador* 2001 (Cost: USD $0.30)
16. Panama* 5151 (Cost: USD $0.50)
17. Honduras* 9090 (Cost: L $5.60)

ALSO for the US posse:

T-Mobile USA Waives Call Charges to and From Haiti; Pledges Support of Wireless Equipment to Assist in Restoration. Check out the link for more details. FREE MINUTES!!!

VISA, American Express, and MasterCard have decided to wave fees attached to donations made to SPECIFIC organizations… follow the links for more info.

Visit the Haitian Consulate Website for directions on what and how to donate and locations at which to drop donations. http://www.haitianconsulate-nyc.org/

Sidebar: And if you are hoping to go overseas and volunteer in Asia or parts of Africa there are a number of  orgs that you can go through. Just do your research since it can get pretty expensive and there is the potential for a very difficult experience. One of my fave orgs with thorough info, affordable opportunities to volunteer and good reviews is www.volunteerhq.org. CARPE DIEM my friends!

God Bless our Haitian brothers and sisters.

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