Yesterday February 2, 2010 turned into a strange yet motivating day for me as a writer.
A dear friend said yes to driving down to Palo Alto with me to attend the 7:00pm Other Voices TV “Why Did Haiti Collapse? More Than an Earthquake” at Community Media Center. I got onto North 101 instead of South 101, so, lost 15 minutes there. Then, relying on MapQuest wrong directions, we lost another 20 minutes. Asking people for directions to 900 San Antonio Road [Community Media Center] led us to the Jewish Community Center instead.
So we did “follow the numbers.”. I drove to the 800 block of San Antonio and got onto the side of the street with even numbers and headed in the direction of higher numbers than 800. 900 San Antonio Road was tucked away in a strip of buildings partially hidden behind a sound wall.
We made it! 20 minutes late but we made it! Paul George of Peninsula Peace and Justice Center http://www.peaceandjustice.org was moderator. His articulate speech on KZSU 90.1 FM http://kzsu.stanford.edu/ on February 1, 2010 had propelled me to attend this program.
The 2 panelists gave compelling eyewitness accounts and the audience learned how we can really help Haiti right now (right now to help lessen the suffering).
Seth Donnelly, a longtime Haiti solidarity activist, has visited Haiti many times, assisting grassroots projects and documenting human rights abuses by the UN occupation forces, was a calm eloquent speaker.
Walter Riley, a longtime civil rights attorney, peace activist, and Haiti Solidarity activist, was in Port-au-Prince when the devastating earthquake struck Haiti. For three days, he and his family aided in the frantic rescue efforts and witnessed the scope of the devastation. Walter is the Chair of the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund.
What did I learn from Mr. Donnelly and Mr. Riley? Many organizations are raising money. Great. Is that money really going to the Haitian grassroots agencies? Is the money to buy food, medical supplies, and building material waiting for red tape (supplies and materials sitting on tarmacs while Haitians are dying)? Apparently, Haiti’s grassroots (women’s groups being a huge component) are the ones who can help most effectively because they’re right there helping neighbors; they know their infrastructure. What else did I re-learn? Natural disaster on top of abject poverty = brutal suffering. Medical personnel, disaster relief workers, and compassionate souls are all heroes.
Channel 27 Mid-Peninsula, California http://www.communitymediacenter.net/
Haiti Emergency Relief Fund http://www.haitiaction.net/About/HERF/HERF.html
I don’t have the means to write big checks; I do have a big voice as a writer though.
Writers, keep on writing!