Haiti Pilgrimage Delegation
January 17 – 21, 2012
Two years after the earthquake which devastated the world’s first Black Republic, the Haiti Support Project (HSP) led a diverse delegation of thirty-eight(38) business, faith, labor, civil rights/human rights leaders, journalists and educators to Haiti to assess the status of the recovery and reconstruction; establish constructive channels of communication and working relations with the Government of President Michel Joseph Martelly; and review the progress of projects sponsored or supported by HSP. Many of the participants were first time visitors to Haiti. Some described it as a “life changing” experience. We were particularly honored to have distinguished educator and leader Queen Mother Dr. Adelaide Sanford be part of the delegation. Everywhere we went, Queen Mother Sanford was immediately embraced by the Haitian people as she spoke to children, teachers and community leaders.
We were received for a briefing at the U.S. Embassy by Ambassador Kenneth Merten – who expressed cautious optimism about the state of the recovery/reconstruction. He noted that there was a sense of momentum with the election of a new President who is very people oriented and appears to be popular with the people. Agricultural/rural development, education and business investment are among the top priorities for President Martelly. Ambassador Merten acknowledged that the pace of the recovery has been slow and uneven but pointed to specific areas of progress. With the assistance of funds from the U.S. government, 50% of the rubble has been removed and significant efforts are being made in the areas of agriculture, housing, health and justice/rule of law. Approximately 1 million people have left the tent cities and returned to stable housing in their old neighborhoods or resettled to temporary or permanent shelter. Some have also returned to conditions in neighborhoods that were unsuitable prior to the earthquake. Approximately 500,000 displaced persons are still in tent camps two years after the earthquake. Ambassador Merten cited a major industrial park in the north near Cap Haitien as a sign of economic progress. The businesses which are slated to locate in the industrial park will eventually employ upwards of 20,000 workers and serve as a major stimulant to the economy of the region.
The Delegation was warmly welcomed in CapHaitien by Yvon Alteon, Delegate of the North representing the Government of President Martelly, former Delegate George Prophete, and Diedonne Etienne Luma, Director of Tourism for the North. They praised HSP for sticking to the vision of promoting cultural/historic tourism to bring African Americans to Haiti to visit the Citadel and other historic sites as part of the Model City Initiative. Diansnic Joseph of the Local Development Committee of Milot was also present for the welcome. During the orientation Lionel Pressior, with Destination Haiti Foundation, HSP’s principal partner on the ground, discussed aspects of the Model City Initiative, including potential investment opportunities. He also provided an overview of the Oasis Institute for children orphaned by the earthquake.
Connect With IBW
The War On Drugs Is A War On Us
Boycott Florida Campaign
Martin Luther King/Malcolm X Community Revitalization Initiative
Pan African Unity Dialogue
Immigration Policy Reform
Call to Action
Click to Read Report
Black Family Summit
A collaborative of national Black professional organizations dedicated to promoting holistic principles, policies and practices to strengthen Black families and communities.
Collaborative of progressive, African-centered scholars, think tanks and research centers dedicated to utilizing theoretical and applied research to address issues of vital concern to people of African descent and enhance the development of Black communities.
Haiti Support Project
An Initiative committed to “Building a Constituency for Haiti in the United States,” focusing on mobilizing/organizing African Americans and other people of African descent to strengthen the process of democracy and development in the world’s first Black Republic.