Sunday, January 17, 2010

haiti, oh haiti...

there has been  much running through my mind in regards to the terribly powerful and utterly devastating earthquake that hit  the country of haiti on january 12th, 2010. 

much of my connection to that part of the island and its people is a direct result of the connections i created while in undergraduate as a member of my university's haitian american student association (better known as hasa). the black student center (bsc) and hasa were connected to each other in ways different from some universities, solidified as one by the fact that members of the administration from both organizations were of haitian descent. hasa and the bsc worked closely with each other: raising money for orphans in sub saharan africa, hosting tchaka night, putting on fashion shows to benefit the childcare center at the uni., and creating a journal entitled nubian notations. beyond the work though,  there was a sense of comraderie amongst folk, a solidarity in spirit that could be felt tangibly in the air. 

i had a dyasporic experience in undergrad., one that would not have been possible without the haitian americans i met amongst my encounters with so many diverse groups of people. true, there were the cultural differences that inevitably came into play (mainly location and language), but i felt like part of  a community, a member of a collective,  an active participant in a center of creativity at a time when creative juices were tipping the top of the cup; people were quick to get on board with multiple initiatives: protesting the unfair treatment of a professor on campus for his beliefs about the iraq war (and his getting physically fucked up by the staties), fighting to keep the job of the one, full time, female professor in the africana studies department... we were quick to move on things and proud to take a stand for our beliefs.  i became a de facto member of the haitian community, if only through college and transiently, because of shared ideas and goals.

it is partially through hasa that i learned about struggling in solidarity for higher purposes and loftier ideals, that there is strength in unity and power in numbers, and that people working together can achieve what seems the impossible...this summer, i was supposed to travel to haiti to learn more about the culture and the people that helped to pave the way for my own emancipation here in the states (study your history, kiddies). obviously, that trip has been derailed, but the desire to give back what has been given to me, has not been...

i will be going, now, to do just that.

1luv haiti.  and thank you.


  1. Hi Erica,

    I just stumbled onto your blog from Facebook.

    Are you going to be volunteering with an organization that's down there?