This morning I listened to Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! program and learned that former despot Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier” returned to Haiti yesterday. Anger filled my entire body. Why? I couldn’t imagine how “Baby Doc” was allowed to return to a country he had harmed deeply. I carried the anger with me into my morning subway commute. As I walked to work, I wondered what could I do to keep the Heart of Haiti beating today. So I decided to use my Digital Sisterhood Twitter account as a vehicle for sharing a message that asked my Twitter followers to join me in taking a deep breathe and sending love and light to Haitians at 12 noon. I am going to do it this week. Join me.
As a Heart of Haiti Ambassador, I am on the look out for ways to keep the Heart of Haiti beating in 2011 and beyond. One way I discovered is to support local entrepreneurs who are raising money to fund projects that help rebuild Haiti. In early January, I discovered a set of fabulous set of recycled black rubber bangles from Haiti made by a DC based photographer Nicole Wolf – http://twitter.com/nicolewolf – in REDEEM, a boutique located in my 14th and U Street, NW neighborhood in DC. I bought a set of three for $10. The money I spent will help support Nicole’s Up from Under Facebook Cause, a Haitian home rebuilding project. If you are in the DC area, drop by REDEEM, 1734 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC to purchase a set of bangles. Visit http://redeemus.com for more information.
Nicole’s Haiti fundraiser inspired me to create my own using my art work from my novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One. Visit my Cafepress.com site for my “Open your heart to Haiti today!” fundraiser – http://www.cafepress.com/openyourhearttohaititoday – to check out t-shirt, cups and other items. Your purchase will help support Renewal 4 Haiti, a grassroots nonprofit organization that is providing medical care in Haiti. Visit http://renewal4haiti.org for more information.
Today marks the first year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake. As a Heart of Haiti Ambassador, I am honoring the memory of three dynamic feminist leaders Myriam Merlet, Anne-Marie Coriolan, and Magalie Marcelin who died as a result of this devastating event. See the photo and look in the background for the wall hanging displaying photos of the three feminist leaders (photo was taken on January 27, 2010 at The International Feminist Solidarity Camp held in the Dominican Republic).
Myriam Merlet served as the chief of staff of Haiti’s Ministry for Gender and the Rights of Women. She was also an author, activist, and founder of Enfofamn, an organization that raises awareness about women through media, collects stories and works to honor their names. She convinced author and playwright Eve Ensler to bring “The Vagina Monologues” play to Haiti. Her efforts also established safe houses for women in Port-au-Prince and Cap Hatien.
Magalie Marcelin enjoyed a dynamic career as a lawyer, film and stage actress, and founder of Kay Fanm, a women’s rights organization that addresses domestic violence and provides services, shelter, and microcredit loans to women.
Anne Marie Coriolan was as a top adviser to Haiti’s Ministry for Gender and the Rights of Women and founder of Solidarite Fanm Ayisyen (Solidarity with Haitian Women, or SOFA), an advocacy and services organization.
Today I am sending love and light to these three feminist leaders and the women of Haiti. May we all be inspired by their legacy of service!
My digital advocacy work as a Heart of Haiti Ambassador has opened my heart to Haiti and her people in a major way. After reading journalist Lisa Armstrong‘s article about Haitian women who are mobilizing to fight for protection and justice for their Haitian sisters after the January 2010 earthquake in the January issue of Essence Magazine, I decided to launch a two year fundraising campaign for Fonkoze, the largest grassroots microfinance institution (MFI) in Haiti that is committed to the economic and social improvement of Haitian people and communities and to the reduction of poverty in the country. Fonkoze was one the organizations mentioned in Armstrong’s Essence article.
When Father Joseph Philippe, a Haitian Catholic priest, established Fonkoze in 1994 to support the economic development of all Haitians, he targeted Haitian women. Since then, Fonkoze has served more than 45,000 women borrowers, most of whom live and work in the countryside of Haiti, and more than 200,000 savers. What a powerful legacy!
Tomorrow morning I will lead a short online yoga and meditation session at 7:00 am ET that will be dedicated to the people of Haiti and organizations like Fonkoze. Click here to participate in the live show. If you miss it, you can watch the video. At the end of the session, I will invite everyone to join me in supporting Fonkoze by making a donation to their web site and/or my Crowdrise fundraising project this week to honor Haiti and her people on the first anniversary of the January 12th earthquake.
You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to make a donation. Feel free to do it now. See the links above. Thank you for your support!
PS: Check out the video below featuring one of Fonkoze’s graduates.It is powerful. It will open your heart even more to Haiti and her people!
“Open your heart to Haiti today!” is a fundraiser I launched to raise money for Renewal 4 Haiti, a 501(c)(3) grassroots nonprofit organization founded by Haitians committed to bringing medical care and skills training to Léogâne, the epicenter of the Haitian earthquake in 2010. I was inspired to launch this fundraiser while serving as an ambassador for the Heart of Haiti campaign, a “Trade not Aid” partnership between Macy’s, Fairwinds Trading, and BrandAid. The fundraiser allows me to use my artwork from my novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One on Cafe Press t-shirts, cups, and other apparel to raise money for Renewal 4 Haiti. The artwork is a drawing of the Haitian love and healing goddess Erzulie’s veve, a symbol used during Vodun ceremonies. See photo on the left.
How You Can Help: Visit my Cafe Press web site to learn more about the “Open your heart to Haiti today!” fundraiser and make a purchase during 2011. The proceeds of each sale will be donated to Renewal 4 Haiti. ($3 on each sale). FYI – I only receive $3 for each item sold. So no money comes to me. It all goes to Renewal 4 Haiti! Thank you for your support!
Guess what I did this weekend? I wrote down the ways I can keep the heart of Haiti beating in 2011. The first item on my list is using social media and a monthly online contribution of $10 to promote and support Renewal 4 Haiti, a 501(c)(3) grassroots nonprofit organization founded by Haitians committed to bringing medical care and skills training to Léogâne, the epicenter of the Haitian earthquake in 2010. When I pressed click to complete my PayPal donation yesterday and developed my Crowdrise social media fundraising site today, my heart opened wider to the people of Haiti. Something else happened. I was inspired to ask you to open your heart and give a donation to Renewal for Haiti this week in honor of everyone impacted by the January 12th earthquake in 2010. Did you know that you can also volunteer to give a fundraiser for Renewal 4 Haiti in your local community or work for the organization in Haiti for a week? Click here for more information. More Information About Renewal 4 Haiti: Renewal 4 Haiti’s founders Jodel and Sue Charles are Haitian immigrants living in Denver, Colorado. They launched their organization in February 2010 which is 100%-powered by unpaid volunteers. Since February 2010, Renewal 4 Haiti has provided shelter for 600 families, send backpacks filled with supplies to 100 schoolchildren, ship 60,000 lbs of medical aid and finish a 20-bed hospital seeing 100 people a day. Click here to learn more about the Renewal 4 Haiti’s powerful work. Be sure to read the organization’s blog and Twitter page for updates. Join the Facebook page too. Leave me a note in the comment section about your donation and Haiti efforts from 2010 and 2011. Drop by my blog later today and this week to read more about the ways I plan to keep the heart of Haiti beading in 2011. I’ll provide some tips on how you can do the same.
Macy’s Heart of Haiti campaign and the fabulous women of Girls’ Night Out are sponsoring a Twitter party about giving back to Haiti on January 11 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET. The Heart of Haiti campaign is a “Trade not Aid” partnership between Fairwinds Trading and BrandAid Haiti that offers Haitian artisans sustainable income for their hand-crafted artwork made from recyclable materials. The artwork is sold at Macy’s. Make plans to join me and my fellow Heart of Haiti ambassadors for this fantastic party. RVSP in advance for the Twitter party by entering your Twitter link and ID: http://twitter.com/jylmomIF. On January 11, use the Twitter hashtags #gno and #heartofhaiti to participate and follow the conversations.
PS: There are going to be some giveaways. Click here to find out more.