Revolutionary journalist/death penalty abolitionist/and supporter of political prisoners, Kiilu Nyasha, who joined the Black Panther Party in 1969, shared a powerful moment w/President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti who had come to the Bay Area in 1996. While here he spoke at UC Berkeley and at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. The late, legendary 20 year Berkeley City Councilwoman Maudelle Shirek, (6/18/1912 – 4/11/2013) looks on. Known widely as the “heart and soul of the progressive movement” and the “godmother of progressive politics” the veteran councilwoman always stood up for the poor, loved Haiti, and was a fierce advocate for healthy living and nutrition.
It is with great sadness that Haiti Action Committee learned of the passing of our beloved sister and revolutionary warrior, Kiilu Nyasha who joined the ancestors peacefully in her sleep in the early morning of April 10. Kiilu loved Haiti, and the Haitian grassroots movement inspired her and guided her work, just as her solidarity, her intellect, her passion and her rock solid integrity continue to inspire and guide us. We invite you to join us globally as we dedicate this event, “Poetry for Peace and Justice” to the indomitable fighting spirit of Kiilu Nyasha and to the indomitable people of Haiti.
We who love Haiti cordially invite everyone to come to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund’s dynamic beginning of the new year Poetry for Peace and Justice event! It will be held on Saturday April 14, 2018, at St John’s Presbyterian Church; 2727 College Ave, Berkeley,CA; between 3-5:00 pm!
And if you can’t be there in person, you can still make a tax-deductible donation. Please click here to do so or send a check to our fiscal sponsor: East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, 2362 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA, 94704 Thank you!
SO SAVE THIS DATE!
We have an outstanding line up of internationally acclaimed poets:
Poet/Playwright/Multi-Percussionist/Photographer/Teacher AVOTCJA, Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing and Literature (retired) and Poet Laureate of the City of Berkeley Rafael Jesús González; and full time 30 year peace activist, mathematician, and formidable poet Carolyn Scarr, followed by Open Mic!
Haiti Emergency Relief Fund gives concrete aid to Haiti’s democratic movement and grassroots community groups organizing to meet Haitians’ needs directly.
Poetry for Peace and Justice: a benefit for the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund is being Co-sponsored by the Haiti Action Committee, Ecumenical Peace Institute & the Mission & Justice Commission of St. John’s Presbyterian Church
It is wheelchair accessible, the suggested donation is $10 – $30, however no one will be turned away for lack of funds. This is a not-to-be-missed-event!
St John’s Presbyterian is at 2727 College Ave. between Garber St. and Forest Ave., three blocks north of Ashby. The wheelchair ramp is on Garber. There is underground parking with an accessible elevator at the Garber Street entrance.
The AC Transit #51B bus runs on College between Rockridge BART and downtown Berkeley.
Haiti Action Committee • PO Box 2040, Berkeley, CA 94702 • For more information, call: 510-483-7481
Haiti Action Committee Statement: “We Denounce the Trump Administration’s Decision to End TPS for 59,000 Haitians”
Haiti Action Committee adds its voice to denounce the decision by the Trump Administration to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an estimated 59,000 Haitians. As we witness the implementation of a previously announced anti-immigrant agenda, we stand in solidarity with TPS and DACA recipients as well as all refugees and immigrants under attack. It is time for the passage of legislation such as HR 4253 and S 2144 or other alternative that is inclusive and beneficial for the broader immigrant community, which allows DACA and TPS recipients to stay, and gives them a path to permanent legal status.
The Immigration Act of 1990 created TPS to benefit people unable to return safely to their home country because of ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. Haiti received TPS after the earthquake of 2010. Thirteen countries had TPS status when Trump came to power. His administration ended the programs for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in April, Nicaragua and Haiti in November 2017. Decisions on Hondurans and Salvadorans will come soon. Haitian recipients of TPS have until July 22, 2019 to leave the US. Including TPS Haitians, their US-born children and spouses. Haiti could face the return of up to 200,000 people.
It is outrageous that the Trump administration has ended TPS for Haitians, given the dire country conditions that make TPS renewal such an absolute necessity. Members of Haiti Action Committee, an organization that works in solidarity with grassroots organizations, frequently visit Haiti. We are appalled at the unchanging miserable conditions – the lack of basic services including clean drinking water, sanitation, and health care. The very, very slow process of recovery from hurricanes and the earthquake has negatively impacted the health and well being of the population. The basic needs of the majority population are not being met. Returning 200,000 people to Haiti unconscionably exposes them to these conditions and will greatly exacerbate the present crisis.
Compounding the above challenges is the on-going political crisis in the country since the bloody 2004 coup d’état against the democratic government of President Aristide. Almost daily, demonstrations break out in cities and towns against the government of Jovenel Moise, increasingly seen as being totally corrupt by a large segment of the population inside Haiti and in the diaspora. Peaceful protests of the government’s abusive extortion practices of women and other small retailers, motorists and transportation workers are met with brutal repression by the police that too frequently result in death or serious injuries.
Sweatshop workers striking for higher wages, teachers owed months of unpaid salaries, students protesting the lack of educational material are similarly beaten and brutalized either in the streets or in filthy, overcrowded jails with most having no access to a judge for years. To many these increasingly frequent killings, arbitrary arrests and deadly acts by government security forces recreate/repeat the impunity that characterized the Duvalier years as shown in the following article –
Mass killing by Haitian police in Port-au-Prince: http://sfbayview.com/…/us-un-backed-haitian-police-massacr…/
The estimated 59,000 TPS recipients provide a major source of support for their families and network of relatives. The remittances keep their dependents in Haiti alive and local economies afloat. Repatriation will result in family break up and deprive former TPS recipients, now returnees, and their dependents of the means to live.
The conservative statistics below are alarming even as other reports claim higher numbers. Though hurricanes Irma and Maria did not hit Haiti directly, the heavy rains and strong winds caused great damage to houses and the local agriculture in northern Haiti. These and hurricane Matthew that struck the south in 2016 compounded the massive devastation of the earthquake from which Haiti has yet to recover. The situation in Haiti is dire according to a report by the Global Justice Clinic of NYU School of Law: http://www.ijdh.org/…/Extraordinary-Conditions_A-Statutory-…
– Hurricane Matthew displaced 180,000 people, destroyed 104,000 houses and damaged an additional 133,000, affecting the well being of more than two million people. Housing loss and damage totaled USD 856 million. The hurricane destroyed or damaged 133 hospitals, clinics, and health posts and affected 1670 schools. People have not received sufficient aid to rebuild their homes, farms and businesses. A severe hunger crisis is spreading in that area and people are migrating to Port-au-Prince to live with family in order to survive.
– Matthew killed 350,000 farm animals
– 200,000 people live in Canaan, a makeshift settlement created after the earthquake, without drinking water or sanitation
– 30,000 new cholera cases were projected to develop in 2017. Cholera has killed 10,000 people and sickened 815,000 [some reports conclude almost 15,000 dead.]
– 60% of the population live under $2 a day; 1 in 4 lives on less than $1 a day. Haiti is the most food insecure nation in the western hemisphere according to the Global Hunger Index
– 22% Haitians face food insecurity; 50% Haitians are undernourished
– Haiti imports more than half its food, including 80% of its rice, and prices keep rising
The income from TPS recipients and other Haitian immigrants plays a vital role in Haiti’s recovery by providing economic support for friends and relatives back home. The resources they send regularly are reliable, received directly and are put to good use by community residents striving to rebuild their lives. Similar situations exist for other countries that are also striving to recover from wars, natural and human-made disasters, and who do not have the capacity to repatriate tens of thousands of people. We call for the passage of inclusive legislation that benefits the broader immigrant community, which allows DACA and TPS recipients to stay, and gives them a path to permanent residency and citizenship.
HAITI EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND
c/o EAST BAY SANCTUARY COVENANT, 2362 BANCROFT WAY, BERKELEY CA 94704
EBSC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, tax ID# 94-3249753
Since its inception in March 2004, following the brutal coup d’etat against the
democratically-elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Haiti Emergency Relief
Fund (HERF) has given concrete aid to Haiti’s democratic movement. HERF supports
grassroots organizations on the ground in Haiti including emergency disaster relief,
women’s agricultural cooperatives, schools for the most impoverished Haitian children,
mobile health clinics, the University of the Aristide Foundation (UNIFA) and more.
Donations go directly to grassroots organizations in Haiti. HERF pays no wages and takes
no cut – volunteers do all the work, and all the money HERF collects goes directly to those
who need it, starting with women – the primary caregivers in every community. Help
support HERF’s important work, which is a lifeline especially for the most impoverished
Haitians in order to support the long-run development of human rights, sustainable
agriculture and economic justice in Haiti.
Popular organizations in Haiti are hard at work trying to ensure that families and
communities can survive and rebuild. Though hurricanes Irma and Maria did not hit Haiti directly in September 2017, the heavy rains and strong winds caused great damage to houses and the local agriculture in northern Haiti. Communities are struggling to rebuild from Hurricane Matthew that devastated cities and villages in the south in October 2016. More than 2 million people were affected; the widespread destruction of crops and livestock reversed the gains in food production made by women’s agricultural cooperatives and other local farmers. The massive flooding from this year’s hurricane season and recent torrential rains has caused a deadly spike in water-borne diseases, particularly cholera (brought to Haiti by UN troops), severely taxing the much limited resources of already overburdened communities.
We urge all friends of Haiti donate as much as they can to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. Your donations will go directly to grassroots organizations in Haiti that are at risk in their work for democracy, human rights, social and economic justice. They save lives by helping people on the ground access education, health care, clean water, food and shelter, and reconstructing their lives.
Here are just a few examples of what your generous contributions have supported:
* The Aristide Foundation For Democracy has organized mobile health clinics for un-derserved communities.
* Women’s Agricultural Cooperatives – Production of locally grown food crops.
* Radio Timoun, based within the Aristide Foundation, and other local independent
radio stations that have received support from the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, have
provided consistent and needed information on various topics including education and
* HERF-supported schools and women’s organizations in the Port-au-Prince area
provide education for disadvantaged children and support women’s organizing.
This is but a short list of the work that you are supporting. In essence, you are
supporting the work of the democratic movement in Haiti, which is determined to aid Haitians assisting Haitians in the spirit of solidarity and dignity. We are responding to their call and their lead.
Please donate on line at: www.haitiemergencyrelief.org
Or Send Checks To:
Haiti Emergency Relief Fund
c/o East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, 2362 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, California 94704
All donations are tax-deductible. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant is a non-profit 501(c)(3)
organization, tax ID# 94-3249753 Tel: +510-595-4650
We Thank You!
Haiti Emergency Relief Fund Board of Directors: Walter Riley, Maureen Duignan, O.S.F.,
Pierre Labossiere, Marilyn Langlois, Robert Roth
ASSASSINATION attempt against former president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide by Haitian National police “BIM” units
Hundreds of thousands of supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and FANMI LAVALAS were in the streets today, protecting the former president from the murderous Brigade d’intervention Motorisee or (BIM) unit of the Haitian National Police, responsible for the 3/20/2017 assassination attempt on the former president’s life. Note that their uniforms say SWAT, just like the militarized police that kill Afrikans in the U.S. Photos are courtesy of the Haiti Information Project
Displaying their usual murderous arrogance, U.S./UN trained and supervised Haitian National Police Brigade d’intervention Motorisee (BIM) units attacked the motorcade and supporters of former president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide in a blatant but failed assassination attempt.
According to eyewitness accounts and reports on Radio Timoun, the former president’s car was fired on as he responded to a fake court summons that we now know was a trap.
Thankfully, hundreds of thousands of people had mobilized to accompany the much beloved former president to the courthouse, and were able to foil the assassination attempt.
The court’s “invitation” was for former President Aristide to appear as a witness in a case that he has nothing to do with. The case in question appears to be a frame up of Jean Anthony Nazaire, one of the defenders of the national palace who was gravely wounded during the failed U.S. instigated, December 17, 2001, coup d’etat against President Aristide, led by the recently arrested drug running/money laundering, and fraudulently elected ex-senator Guy Phillipe.
There was a great deal of concern that the 10:00 a.m. Monday morning, 3/20/2017 court appearance, though innocently perceived, was a continuance of the state sanctioned persecution of President Aristide and FANMI LAVALAS.
There was therefore, a great deal of concern for the former president’s safety. Many suspected a nefarious purpose behind these repeated excuses to constantly drag him through Haiti’s (in)justice system. As it turns out – again – the instincts and experience of the people were true. As the former president’s car arrived, police opened fire into a huge crowd.
Massive protests against police are gathering in Port au Prince, Haiti in response to the attack on former president Aristide’s motorcade.
Reports are that several supporters and security guards were gravely injured.
FANMI LAVALAS is calling for calm and to avoid police.
Now, more than ever, we must remain vigilante.
US invaded and occupied Haiti 101 years ago today, and remained there for nineteen years. Accomplishments of the occupation include raiding the Haitian National Bank, re-instituting forced labor, e…
Also watch Kevin Pina’s latest documentary “Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits”: http://bit.ly/eWFDLd
Few Haitians, scholars and historians have had the opportunity to hear and study the full speech of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on September 27, 1991. The speech was mired in controversy after Raymond Joseph, current Haitian ambassador to Washington D.C. but then Publisher of the right-wing newspaper Haiti Observateur, released a slanted translation. The translation was circulated by Ellen Cosgrove, the political officer of the U.S. Embassy in 1991, to the international press as proof that Aristide supported “pe lebrun” or necklacing with burning tires doused with gasoline. Other translators and scholars have criticized Joseph and the U.S. for that slant countering that Aristide’s reference to “tool” and “smell” were colorful Kreyol metaphors describing Haiti’s constitution. They say this only becomes clear when heard in the context of the entire speech.
The political context of the speech is equally important as it follows an attempt by the Duavlierists and Roger Lafontant to overthrow Aristide’s government in a coup only three months earlier. Aristide was caught between plots by Duvalierists aligned with Haiti’s wealthy elite and the violent reaction and impulses of the Haitian masses to decades of brutal repression known as dechoukaj.
The military coup that overthrew Aristide began on September 29, 1991, two days after he delivered this speech. The Joseph translation of the speech was handed out by Ellen Cosgrove to the press on October 7, 1991 during a visit by the Organization of American States (OAS) to Haiti.
This speech would be referred to many times, including in the present context, to justify keeping Aristide out of politics and the violent repression of Haiti’s poor masses represented by the Lavalas movement.
Kevin Pina and the Haiti Information Project (HIP) now offer for history the complete unedited speech in Kreyol as it was videotaped that day in Sept. 1991.
SUPPORT FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN HAITI
STOP THE ATTACKS ON FANMI LAVALAS
On June 7th, the office of Dr. Maryse Narcisse, the presidential candidate of Fanmi Lavalas, the party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who publicly endorsed her, was sprayed with gunfire. This blatant violence against the movement that has long represented Haiti’s poor majority sparked outrage in Haiti but was met by silence in the mainstream media in the U.S. The State Department, which routinely portrays itself as a defender of democracy around the world, including in Haiti, had nothing to say about the attack.
This is no surprise. The U.S., which orchestrated the 2004 coup against the democratically elected government of President Aristide, has been determined to prevent another Lavalas administration from governing in Haiti. Having put in power former president Michel Martelly, who was associated with the disgraced Duvalier regime, through fraudulent elections in 2011, the State Department has been intent on imposing his successor through the same means. In 2015, fraudulent elections placed a little known Martelly protégé in the lead position heading to a run-off. Despite independent investigations that revealed burning of ballots, theft of ballot boxes, “election observers” who voted over and over again, and widespread voter suppression, U.S. State Department Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten argued that Haitians should accept the 2015 results and move on to the next round.
But Haitians refused the dictates of the State Department with statements and banners declaring “We Will Not Obey”. Calling the results an “electoral coup”, tens of thousands of people took to the streets demanding free and fair elections, insisting that their voices be heard and respected. It was only due to these popular protests that the Martelly dictatorial regime was replaced by an interim government, a verification commission was set up to investigate the elections, the fraud was exposed, and the 2015 elections were annulled.
This is a remarkable victory for the grassroots movement in Haiti. But, as Haiti proceeds towards a new round of elections, the State Department and the European Union are challenging the decision to annul the 2015 elections. Both have threatened Haiti with economic consequences if the electoral process does not proceed to their satisfaction. And they are allowing anti-Lavalas armed vigilantes like Guy Philippe, wanted as a drug trafficker by the DEA, to maraud through Haiti.
As the new round of electoral campaigning begins, we view with alarm the attack on Dr. Maryse Narcisse and Fanmi Lavalas. We urge friends and supporters of Haiti to send a clear and strong message to both the State Department and your Congressional representatives.
* Condemn the armed attack on the offices of Dr. Maryse Narcisse and the continued attacks against the Lavalas movement.
* Denounce the continued interference and threats from the State Department and the European Union. They are attacks on Haitian sovereignty and self-determination.
* Support the right of the Haitian people to choose their own government through transparent, free and fair elections.
CALL SECRETARY KERRY’S OFFICE AT: 202-647-9572
or GO TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT WEBSITE AT: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform AND WRITE HIM
CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS: (+1) 202-224-3121