Hope for Haiti: FIU community honors victims, offers support to survivors

To help the people of Haiti or for more information, visit FIU for Haiti.

By Sissi Aguila

Students, faculty and staff gathered to show solidarity with the victims of the tragedy in Haiti Jan. 20 at Modesto A. Maidique Campus (MMC) and Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC). During the day-long commemoration titled “Hope for Haiti: Doing our Part,” attendees sang, prayed and consoled those who had lost loved ones in the magnitude 7 earthquake that destroyed the capital, Port-au-Prince, and claimed more than 200,000 lives.

“This issue is close to my heart not because I am of Haitian descent,” said Kenasha Paul, president of the Black Student Union. “I represent members who are Jamaican, African American, Cuban, white and Asian. We’ve all come together because this issue affects each and every one of us. This is a human issue.”

“Hope for Haiti: Doing our Part,” was organized by the Black Student Union, Haitian Student Organization, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Multi-faith Council, Student Government Association and Campus Life.

“We felt there was a need for students to reach out to students in this time of need,” said Azee Johnson, president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council at MMC.

During the day, the organizations held a variety of events including a mass and balloon release in the GC Pit.  In the evening, students, faculty and staff fought back tears during a candlelight vigil on the steps of PC. The audience spontaneously joined in to help sing “Amazing Grace.”

“I’m so proud of you tonight because we came together as a community,” said Rosa Jones, vice president of Student Affairs. “A community of FIU students, staff, faculty and friends; a community that celebrates its diversity; a community that is very proud of its many Haitian-American students.”

Throughout the day, attendees also wrote words of support and condolences on the walls of the GC Pit and Panther Square. One student wrote, “Together we are strong! Never give up hope. This will only make us stronger.”

On Jan. 23, the Haitian government officially declared the search-and-rescue phase for survivors over.

Some of the more memorable “Hope for Haiti” moments are highlighted in the video below.

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