The 2nd Anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake
A few weeks ago, a brother asked, “Are we still doing anything in Haiti?”
My answer was an emphatic, "Yes we are!" On this second anniversary of the January 2010 earthquake, I invite you to remember those who perished, to remember those who struggle, to rejoice in our service, and to recommit to helping Haiti rise again. The world will never be the same again for hundreds of thousands of Haitians. The devastating earthquake that destroyed lives, livelihoods, and land two years ago today continues to shape the realities of most Haitians.
Those who lived at epicenter of the quake near Leogane, where Lott Carey has a church, lost nearly all of their housing and infrastructure. Those who lived around the overly populated capitol city of Port-au-Prince found themselves living in and around homelessness, unsanitary tent cities, and disarray in every sense of the word. The sights and sounds during my visit to Haiti a few weeks after the quake are still vivid to me. My emotions still stir when I remember the destruction all around.
The Lott Carey family, like many other networks, responded with generosity to the tragedy. We sponsored first-responders, supported displaced families, gave food grants, gave cash grants, bought goods from farmers, paid caterers, fed hospital patients, recruited medical volunteers, funded youth camps for displaced young people, provided counseling and coaching for pastors and their spouses, and continued to support our network of churches of the Strategic Union of Baptist Churches in Haiti.
Additionally, we are participating in integral ways in two unprecedented partnerships. First, we are the administrative partner for the African-American Baptist Mission Collaboration in which the four historic National Baptist denominations and Lott Carey are partnering to amplify our impact in Haiti. We understood that we can do more together than any of us can do alone.
Second, we are the administrative coordinator for the Haitian Diaspora/African-American Christian Advocacy Coalition which has brought together Haitians in America, Haitian-Americans, and African-American Christians in traditional African-American denominations and in traditional European-American denominations to influence United States policy that supports a safe, strong, and sustainable Haiti. Our principal areas of work are:
1. To advocate for fair and humane immigration policies that favor family reunification;
2. To advocate for investment in agriculture for economic vitality to benefit all levels of the agriculture sector (including the small scale farmers); and
3. To advocate for transparency and inclusion of Haitians and African-Americans in reconstruction contracts and grants to ensure capacity building and cultural competence in rebuilding the country.
We will be calling on you during the year to help advance this important agenda with policy makers who represent you.
Are we still doing anything in Haiti? Yes we are! And yes we will!
Rev. David E. Goatley, PhD
Program Director, AABMC