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Group Heads to Haiti

POSTED: January 17, 2012, 12:00 am

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Statement by Dr. Ron Daniels, President, Institute of the Black World 21st Century, Founder, Haiti Support Project

In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we commemorate in the U.S. with a National Holiday January 16, we believe an injury to our sisters and brothers anywhere in the world is an injury to all. Therefore, January 17-21, 2012 (two years after the devastating earthquake) the Haiti Support Project (HSP) will lead a delegation of thirty-seven (38) African Americans and Haitian Americans to Haiti to assess the progress of the recovery/reconstruction and explore ways to engage people of African descent from the U.S. in the process of building the new Haiti. This is not a new mission for HSP. Since 1995 we have been dedicated to “building a constituency for Haiti in the U.S.” focusing on educating and mobilizing/organizing African Americans to partner with Haitian Americans and Haitians to enhance the process of democracy and development in the World’s first Black Republic. In pursuit of that mission, HSP has utilized Black Talk Radio, Black Newspapers and educational forums to organize numerous fact finding and support delegations as well as mobilize humanitarian and developmental assistance for community based projects in Haiti. Promoting socially responsible economic/business investment has also been very high on our agenda.

In recent years, partnering with the Local Development Committee in Milot and Destination Haiti Foundation, HSP has promoted the Model City Initiative, the concept of transforming the lovely town of Milot which sits at the foot of the magnificent Citadel, into a Mecca for cultural-historical tourism as a people-based foundation for economic/business development for the area/region. Annual Pilgrimages to the Citadel and Sans Souci Palace have been the primary vehicle for advancing this objective. In 2009, Congressman Gregory Meeks, who has a large Haitian constituency in his district in Queens, New York, was the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to visit the Citadel as a Special Guest of HSP.

After the earthquake, HSP established the Haiti Relief Fund to provide small relief and capacity-building grants to organizations actively engaged in the recovery/reconstruction process. Deeply concerned about the plight of the thousands of children orphaned by the earthquake, HSP has embraced the Oasis Institute Academy as a project which has the potential to impact social policy toward orphans. The Oasis Institute’s goal is to keep as many orphans as possible in Haiti by providing a safe environment, counseling and a 21st Century “Haitian centered” education to empower them to become the new engaged citizens and leaders of their country!

We return to Haiti with a diverse delegation of business, faith, labor, civil rights/human rights leaders, journalists and educators who are eager to contribute to Haiti’s recovery/reconstruction. Accordingly, HSP’s goals for the Delegation are as follows:

▪ To be briefed by officials of the U.S. Embassy, the Government of Haiti and organizations in civil society about the state of the recovery/reconstruction – with an emphasis on the status of interim and permanent housing for displaced persons, education, rural development and economic/business development.

▪ To establish constructive working relations with the Government of President Michel Joseph Martelly to encourage recognition of African Americans as the vital “third leg” in Haiti’s social and economic/business development.

▪ To review progress of the Model City Initiative and Oasis Institute with the objective of building stronger support systems for these vital initiatives.

As we have observed repeatedly, people of African descent everywhere owe a special debt to Haiti for waging and winning a revolution which became a beacon of hope for Africans at the height of the holocaust of enslavement. In that vein, we look forward to a positive and productive experience during our visit as HSP continues to consolidate and expand a base of support for Haiti among African Americans. The resurrection of Haiti and restoration of its people to their proper place as a beacon of hope/promise for African people and humanity is one of the great Pan African projects of the 21st Century. Working together, we will succeed!

For further information: Haiti Contact: Tour Haiti at info@tourhaiti.net --509-2-510-2223

US Contact: info@ibw21.org -- 888.774.2921

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