“We are here today for Haiti and we are also here for ourselves”

Posted on 05/27/10

 


Participants at the recent Walk With Haiti in the Bronx neighborhood of Mount Eden.

 

Earlier this month, hundreds of students, parents, and community members of the Bronx neighborhood of Mount Eden came together for the Walk With Haiti to show their solidarity with the people of Haiti. This community, located in the poorest urban Congressional district in the U.S., raised $14,500 for survivors of the catastrophic January earthquake.

Organized by the New Settlement Apartments, a community action group, the Walk was attended by more than 500 students, along with over 200 parents, supporters, and staff, said New Settlement Executive Director Jack Doyle.

“We are here today for Haiti and we are also here for ourselves,” said Jack as he spoke to post-walk crowd, “because of the beliefs and values we hold dear.”

Though none of the students are from Haiti, many of them or their parents are from developing countries, including the Dominican Republic, Mali, Gambia, Guyana, Jamaica, and Ghana, and thus have an intimate understanding of “solidarity” with the poor communities devastated by the earthquake. “The energy, enthusiasm, heartfelt sense of connection to the suffering of the Haitian people on the part of the children and the teens who participated [in the Walk]” were especially inspiring, said Jack.

Chanting and waving streamers in the red and blue colors of the Haitian flag, the walk’s marchers traveled down the Grand Concourse from 172nd Street to the steps of the Bronx County Court Building. Once there, participants celebrated to the music of Linc Carnival Band, took part in events aimed at raising awareness about Haiti. Speakers included Aaron Charlop-Powers, a U.N. staff, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene, and NY State Assembly Member Vanessa Gibson.

In the weeks leading up to the Walk, students involved in New Settlement's afterschool and youth development programs learned about Haiti, created banners, and designed t-shirts. In addition, the young community activists raised awareness about Haiti in the local community and collected donations for Haiti earthquake relief efforts.

New Settlement Apartments is a nonprofit organization with an 20-year commitment to improving housing and education opportunities in and around their neighborhood.