Take a stand for Haiti

By Brian Loschiavo
January 28, 2010

The death toll is predicted to reach 200,000 in Haiti. The country, which is smaller than Maryland, is home to nearly 10 million people, 80 percent of whom are living below the poverty line. Most Haitians live on just two dollars a day, making it the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The number of Haitians displaced from their homes is 700,000.

Maybe it’s true that before things get better they have to get worse. Maybe it will take a tragedy like the devastating earthquake in Haiti for people to realize just how much this country needs us.

The first step in making a difference is keeping what happened in Haiti at the forefront of our minds. We can’t continue to watch the news, listen to the radio and read in the newspaper about what is going on in Haiti for a few weeks, and then put it behind us and forget about it when the new dies down.

In order for a struggling country like Haiti to be rebuilt, it will not only take time, but it will also take effort from the more privileged areas of the world. We don’t all have to give millions of dollars to the country and we don’t have to be there to make a difference. It’s the little things that matter. It’s getting educated about the situation and getting the conversation started about what could be done and what should be done.

As students here at Cabrini we should all see what we can do to help. We should educate ourselves on what is going on in Haiti. We should all participate in the different events around campus that are helping with Haiti relief efforts. We need to realize how lucky we are to be living in the United States and how hard some other people around the world have it.

There are many things that we as Americans should do for Haiti and have the ability to do. We should talk to government officials and lobby to allow all Haitians in the United States to work, considering the number one source of money for poor people in Haiti is the money sent from family and workers in the United States back home.

Our government and military should go into Haiti and treat its people like they are our own. We should not treat the Haitians as if they are criminals, we should treat them, as we would want to be treated. Military officials need to respect all human rights of the Haitians especially for those internally displaced people.

Our country should not be digging Haiti a larger hole by loaning them money. We should be giving them grants and making sure the money is being used to rebuild their public services and infrastructures. We should also call for aid for women, children and the elderly considering they are usually pushed to the wayside.

We should push for our government to get President Obama to enact Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, which can be done with his signature. The United States has already done it for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan and Somalia. Why not do it for Haiti?

We also need to release all Haitians from United States jails who are being held just because they are here without proper documentation. There are close to 30,000 Haitians facing deportation, but no one will be deported for years to come so why make them sit in jail when they can be contributing to society and their families back in Haiti.

We need to lose the mentality of thinking about ourselves first and not caring about those around us. We need to reach out our hand to help a country that is suffering and regain faith in what it is to be an American and what it is to be so privileged. The money and time we are putting into Haiti is not going to waste. If we keep giving it will benefit the world in the long run.

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Brian Loschiavo

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