A few weeks ago I attended a panel discussion on Haiti as we know it, then and now. This thought-provoking symposium was held at the Auburn Research Library in Atlanta, Georgia. In recognition of this country’s rich heritage and culture, different speakers delved into topics that directly affect its future, especially after January’s horrific earthquake.
Two good friends of mine, Tatiana Noel and Vanessa Louis, founders of StillJaspora, asked me to take some shots of the event while they diligently live blogged to their subscribers. Another part of the team was Jeff Joseph, of HaitianYouth, working as the camera man and also live blogging for his site. By the way, I’m very proud of these young Haitian-Americans doing positive things for Haiti!
What I took away from this event was that Haiti undeniably needs change. With an illiteracy rate of 85% and equally high unemployment rates, maintaining a reasonable lifestyle is unimaginable.
Questions raised were:
- If countries have given money but the results are either slow or non-evident, who has the money?
- Should the people take matters into their own hands?
- What will it take to rebuild Haiti?
I didn’t get to stay until the very end but one quote that left a hopeful thought in my mind was by one of the panel speakers, Dr. Joseph Champagne:
History opens up the realm of possibility.
On January 1, 1804, Haiti became the first independent black republic in the world. Two hundred and six years later, it still stands. It may be on shaky ground but the people have faith and hope that a better tomorrow will still come to pass. The possibilities are endless.
Dr. Joseph Makhandal Champagne, Jr., Juris Doctor, Attorney-at-law, General Counsel of Haitian-American Leadership Council and Mr. Harry Fouche, Chairman Consortium For Haitian Empowerment, Economist State of Illinois Department of Employment Security and Former Consul General of Haiti in New York.
Tatiana, Vanessa and Jeff, hard at work.
The little girls passing out flyers in their pretty Haitian dresses.
For more information for The Haitian Community Relations, Inc., contact:
Joseph Alfred, Founder/CEO
P.O. Box 1022, Douglasville, GA 30133
L’union Fait La Force