(Prof. Horne is the International Facilitator of Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus and Pan African Diaspora Union.)
SRDC/PADU ON HAITI (Ayiti)
In January, 2010, a devastating series of earthquakes hit the nation of Haiti and left a stunning aftermath of death, infrastructural collapse, broken families and other harsh consequences.
We have watched and listened to much of the world's rescue and relief efforts, and individually contributed food, clothing, money and prayer. However, two lessons are clear for us in this particular tragedy, notwithstanding the historical precedents that led to Haiti's vulnerability in the first place and the arguments about possible Haarp involvement:
(1) We in the Diaspora were once again surprised with a calamity involving Black folk that we were ill-prepared to respond to in a substantial way, and
(2) Our most significant assistance to Haiti at this point would be in implementing a tangible building or environmental sustainability project, rather than to exhaust ourselves trying to untangle the complex web of which organizations to trust to get real aid into the hands of the Haitians who most need it.
Wanting to help our Diasporan brethren is one thing, and doing something about being ready to help is another. Certainly, organizations like Ron Daniel's IBW, Wyclef Jean's Yele, and several others have worked hard to provide assistance through the Haitian networks they had prior to the earthquakes.
There have been many other individual efforts and smaller organizational forays through the Dominican Republic and directly into the Haitian countryside, avoiding the mess at the Port-au-Prince airport completely.
Those efforts must be applauded. But overall, our Diasporan response has been spotty, sporadic, piece-meal and token. The lasting images are again of Anglos saving Haitians and Black folks on the sidelines crying and watching in futility and anguish.
The way to substantially change this picture is for Diasporan organizations to partner with each other based on a broad agreement of principles and mutual respect.
That way, we bring a wealth of expertise, resources, networks and abilities together that can be focused on a dilemma like Haiti's earthquakes without competing against each other, without unnecessarily reinventing and duplicating capacities that are already there, and we can maximize our ability to actually get help and assistance to the people who need it when they must have it.
The SRDC/PADU, which already includes partnerships with the UNIA-ACL, CABO and other Pan African organizations (75 and counting), hereby declares that it will work tirelessly to bring about this kind of operational unity so that we can more clearly demonstrate to the world that Black folk can help take care of Black folk with, or without, the help of others.
During the Decade of the Diaspora we must demonstrate much more Pan African agency and initiative to determine our own destinies. We are not mere victims or participants in history, we are innovators, thinkers and decision-makers in our own story.
In conjunction with Pan African folk already on the ground in Haiti through effective networks, the SRDC/PADU will make a fact-finding visit to Haiti between May-July to assess where we can focus our efforts to make the most significant difference in helping to re-build Haiti.
We hereby declare our intention to get involved beyond the relief and rescue phase, and we invite other serious Pan Africans to join with us.
We cannot and will not abandon Haiti, and we can and must provide sustained assistance to that Black nation.
For further information and discussion, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Forward Ever, Backwards Never
The SRDC/PADU Secretariat