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Poetry for Peace and Justice: a benefit for Haiti Emergency Relief Fund

UNIFA Graduation Laureates - 20180318_115155-1

_1996_Kiilu Nyasha & Pres Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti

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!

Directions:

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.

 

 

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Haiti Action Committee • PO Box 2040, Berkeley, CA 94702 • For more information, call: 510-483-7481

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Haiti Action Committee Statement: “We Denounce the Trump Administration’s Decision to End TPS for 59,000 Haitians”

Haiti Action CommitteeHaiti 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.


Reports of a mass killing by the police in Port-au-Prince; brutal beatings of protesting teachers and students in Cap-Haitien on 11/13/17

Dragged from their homes and shot by police

 

Haiti Action Committee

  • Reports of a mass killing by the US/UN occupation trained and supervised Haitian police in Port-au-Prince
  • Police brutally beats teachers and students in Cap-Haitien demanding money for education, not to restore the murderous army

Monday 11/13/17 was a day of extra-judicial killings of men and women estimated by community residents to total 14 not counting a number of disappeared according to Radio Timoun (Youth Radio).

The reporting was live from the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Grand’Ravine on the Maranatha school grounds and nearby where 8 of the bodies including those of a teacher and the school caretaker still lay as of 2 hours ago this morning, Tuesday 11/14/17. Other bodies were stated by witnesses to be in nearby bushes. Many are reported wounded by police gunfire and beatings with hammers. In addition, news reports make mention of 31 arbitrary arrests.   (See video Masak lapolis fe nan Gran Ravin 13 Novanm 2017: Warning graphic content)

These killings were conducted by units of the Haitian police according to a number of survivors beaten by the police and other witnesses interviewed by Radio Timoun. It is also reported that at the very early hour when the police attack against the community took place, many children and adults were injured by the very potent tear gas used by the police.

Also on Monday 11/13/17 in the northern city of Cap-Haitien, marching students shouting “Down with the army, long live education, long live schools!” were brutally attacked by the police using tear gas and batons. Many teachers and students were beaten and severely injured. Schools have been closed there for the past week. The students were saying no to the government’s plan to restore the old disbanded Haitian military. They are demanding that the money instead should be used to pay long overdue salaries to the already much-underpaid teachers.

The demonstrators are also denouncing a reported plan by the corrupt US/UN-occupation government of Jovenel Moise (PHTK Party) to fire teachers en masse, replace them with his supporters and not pay them the overdue wages.


Haiti Action Committee Denounces the Attempted Assassination of Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

3-21-2017

_3-20-17_Aristide supporters#3Supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide   Photo courtesy of HaitiInfoProj

See also: Video footage of Aristide supporters just prior to assassination attempt. Video courtesy of Wendy Joseph Lerisse

Yesterday, there was an assassination attempt against former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president. President Aristide had been summoned to appear as a witness in a court case. While returning from court, his motorcade was attacked by armed Haitian police. A number of people were injured in the attack. Mass protests against the police broke out immediately.

In the wake of the electoral coup which installed Jovenal Moise, a right-wing protege of former president Michel Martelly, as Haiti’s new president, there has been a marked increase in repression directed against grassroots activists.

This attack on President Aristide signals a new stage of terror in Haiti. It harkens back to the days of the Duvalier dictatorships. Human rights activists and all supporters of democracy in Haiti need to condemn this attempted assassination and demand that those who committed this act be brought to justice.

_3-20-17_fmr pres AristideFormer president Jean-Bertrand Aristide greets thousands of supporters in Port-au-Prince  3-20-17  Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Haiti Action Committee


Haiti 101 Years After US Invasion, Still Resisting Domination

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…

Source: Haiti 101 Years After US Invasion, Still Resisting Domination


FBI gives green light to crack down on Black Lives Matter protesters – BLM statement follows

The violent events of the past week have placed the country at a decisive moment. Words matter but deeds matter more. Leadership matters. President Obama spoke about the need for real change and new “practices” following the murders by police officers of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Following this story is a Black Lives Matter statement on the murder of police and escalating protests to end state-sponsored violence against Black people.

Source: FBI gives green light to crack down on Black Lives Matter protesters – BLM statement follows


Did Aristide support violence and pe lebrun in Haiti? – Speech – Sept. 27, 1991

 

This is a very important speech. Please read the background information below because the speech is not in English and the information shows some of the depths that the U.S. government will go to in order to demonize Haiti. — Malaika H Kambon
Uploaded on Jan 30, 2011

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.