Q. You are having a fund raiser in Berwyn, Illinois for the purpose of raising money to support the Haitian earthquake victims. Will you elaborate on the details?
A. Our primary objective was to promote the legacy of Du Sable right here in Chicago by working with different ethnic groups and everybody who is interested in celebrating the founder of the city. Since the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, we have diverted some of our attention to the plight of Haitians living in Haiti. We went to Haiti to work in hospitals, bringing supplies with us, the second week after the earthquake. Then we did a fundraiser in March to help some orphanages and health centers that we visited. The particular event you are referring to is called Isabelle-A-Palooza, in memory of Isabelle Belance a former member of our Board; it will take place on Thursday, the 28th of October, at Fitzgerald’s night-club located at 6615 Roosevelt Road in Berwyn. There will be three different bands that will play a variety of music ranging from Rock and Roll to Afro/Caribbean. The fundraiser will benefit Grace Children Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti which was damaged by the earthquake. The hospital provides medical care for children with AIDS and tuberculosis.
Q. On Saturday September 25, 2010 you were one of 3 speakers at a fundraiser for the Haitian earthquake victims, held at the Columbia College campus on 401 South Wabash Avenue. You stated that the Haitians in the Diaspora send approximately 2 billion dollars a year in remittance to their relatives in Haiti. Therefore, the Haitians abroad have a vested interest to assert their influence to insure their remittance is being spent efficiently. What is your reply to those who would say that the Haitians in Haiti have a right to self determination?
A. It is correct that the Haitians in the Diaspora send a vast amount of money every year to support their relatives in Haiti. What we propose in the DuSable Heritage is that the money be used in a way that will allow local communities in Haiti to become self sufficient, such as local projects in health, education, environment, agriculture and other economic development activities. The Haitians in the Diaspora must use their money and expertise to travel to Haiti and work in cooperation with the local communities, in order to establish long term projects that are going to assure economic development and self sufficiency.
Q. When is the next time that you will be returning to Haiti and what advice do you have for anyone who wants to know what he or she can do to help the Haitian earthquake victims?
A. Our next annual event will be On Saturday March 5, 2011; it is what we refer to as The Annual DuSable Day, and it is always held on the first week of March. Prior to this event, we intend to return to Haiti with a team of health professionals to establish a long-term cooperation with a local community. We selected St Marc, which is located about an hour or two driving north of Port-au-Prince, since Jean Baptist Point du Sable originated from that city. I recently went to St. Marc and met with the mayor and some of the citizens, and I listened to their needs and plans for the future. I would like to return with a group that can help implement the goals that the citizens and leaders of St. Marc previously articulated.
There are many ways that people can help Haiti. They can donate money to organizations that are doing meaningful work in Haiti; they can also donate their time and expertise to these organizations, either in Haiti or abroad.
Q. What does it take to become a member of your organization? What are the dues and how often must they be paid? Finally, what are the responsibilities of the members?
A. We are actually in the process of restructuring the organization, given the needs in Haiti after the quake, and many of these questions are currently under discussion. The easiest thing is to call at (312) 938-0341 or to send an email at [email protected] . We will do our best to get back to the person as soon as we can.