Haiti’s Tremors Through BMC

Posted February 19th, 2010 at 4:23 pm.

Impact

We had a few contributions of personal stories from students who have close ties to Haiti. A main concern when the news first broke was, of course, what the impact was; how many were affected? Who? Checking on friends and family became the first priority. But it can be hard to completely grasp the reality from so far away; the media can often create distance from the events, making them seem more unreal rather than helping us understand the seriousness of the situation.

Outreach

How can we bring this out and discuss it in a productive way? It’s hard to open up, especially about personal stories. But it’s important to discuss, and process, these events in a productive way; it’s important that people who need to discuss it can. We hope anyone on campus who has connections to Haiti is okay, and we wish everyone who might have benefited from this conversation could have attended.

Help

What can we each do? What help can we provide? We discussed the idea of a service trip to Haiti, and a few students felt that this was the most personally involved way to help. It feels more helpful when the work is hands-on. But, in this situation, we may have to redefine how we value “help”: a service trip may not yet be possible in light of the situation and the aid Haiti currently needs. While we may feel that the best way to help is to be present, we personally may not be equipped to provide the help that is immediately necessary. As was noted in the discussion, immediate needs Haiti has are things like clinical experience and disaster-relief skills. Instead, we can donate to organizations that can provide these services, and provide emotional support for those who may need a safe place to discuss these events.

Donating/Organizations

BACaSO’s culture show continued as planned, but with certain alterations in view of the recent events. A poem about Haiti and a short performance were incorporated into the original show to help address these events, especially for those who were unable to attend the Diversity Conversation. Additionally, donations were taken to be combined with donations collected by several other Tri-Co organizations, such as Sisterhood, the OIA, the CEO, and the Black Students’ League.

Next Step

What is the next step? What’s the plan? How do we progress from here? We can all relate to the idea of a natural disaster; it could happen anywhere, we’re all vulnerable to this type of upset. In view of this, we are each responsible for helping in whatever way we can. We can all help those who need to talk about it to process these events, and donate to campus groups who are collecting funds. Perhaps the most important thing is the attitude with which we move forwards, because it is important to move forwards. As one attendee noted, “There are certain things we’ll never get back, but it’s not a reason to be held back.” Having optimism that Haiti will recover, and that we each can contribute to that recovery, is the positive thought on which we ended our discussion.

Filed under: civic engagement,culture,diversity,families,history by Vanessa Christman

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