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Emergency Vigil in Support of Haiti

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

An emergency vigil was held asking people "to donate money to go to grassroots women and their families, and therefore communities, rather than to thieving elites and their corrupt NGOs."

Emergency Vigil in S...
emergencyvigilredcross.jpg, image/jpeg, 1996x2232

Despite the heavy rain 24 people took part in an emergency vigil for Haiti at the Downtown Federal Building, Thursday eve, Jan 21. One very dedicated participant had been waiting for us since noon when the weekly vigil for Haiti usually takes place. Signs said “Haiti – Help Not Occupation. Return Aristide,” and asked people to question “Where is the Red Cross?” and to consider supporting earthquake victims through Many signs simply called for humanitarian aid to take precedence over a U.S. Military presence. Others condemned the ongoing occupations in both Haiti and Honduras.

It was reported that other emergency vigils for Haiti were being held around the world including ones also organized by the Global Women’s Strike in London and in Philadelphia protesting that survivors are dying as the US military blocks food, water and medical supplies from getting through, and calling on the US to prioritize getting help to grassroots communities. And Haiti Action Committee has called a vigil in San Francisco on Monday, January 25.

This vigil was put on by the organizers of the LA weekly vigil for Haiti, and for the return of President Aristide and of disappeared Haitian human rights activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine (see:; this issue was emphasized as well—and pedestrians inquired about it. Organizers of the LA vigil, which takes place every Thursday 12-1 at the downtown Federal Building, include Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike, Northeast Radical Neighbors and GWS/LA.

This emergency vigil in support of the people of Haiti also included participants from the International Action Center/LA, National Union of Homecare Workers, the Coalition for Peace and Democracy in Honduras, Bayan, and others deeply concerned about the crisis in Haiti.

Speakers protested that the US military have taken over the airport and are obstructing rescue efforts while as many as 20,000 people a day are dying because help is not reaching them, and called for people to protest this genocide. Other points were made as well. “In a repeat of what happened during the Katrina disaster, banks, shops, and institutions are being protected while starving people, who help themselves to whatever they can find, are called 'a security risk' and are being shot at,” said Sidney Ross-Risden of Global Women's Strike. “We are outraged!

“. . . We heard from Rea Dol who runs a school in Haiti on Sojourner Truth. She said that her school is one of three buildings that remains standing in her neighborhood. People have naturally come there, and in a week, she has not seen a parcel, a packet, or a bottle of water or food. It's outrageous, and it's indefensible.”

She encouraged people to listen to Sojourner Truth the following morning (Friday January 22) for a teach-in on the history of Haiti. (This can be accessed online by going to and selecting Sojourner Truth for January 22.)

Also speaking was Lynda Brewer, a grandmother, long-time active, and Global Women's Strike member. “The whole symbol of lynching was not that you killed the person or tortured the person, but you hung them up high to keep everyone [from] resisting these colonial powers--and that's what Haiti has been since they freed themselves in 1804. They've been the victim. That's why they're the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere because they fought against the French, and they won. They sent Napoleon back. Most people don't know that Toussaint L'Ouverture and his group developed cannons that reached so far out into the ocean that the French couldn't respond. So they had to turn around.”

She then read a letter from Selma James, founder of Global Women's Strike and widow and colleague of C.L.R. James, author of The Black Jacobins (the definitive history of the Haitian revolution). James's letter appeared in the Guardian and can be read here:

Walter Lippmann, an activist who works in solidarity with Cuba, pointed out that “Cuba has over 400 doctors that are working in Haiti. They've been there for 10 years! In fact, the Cuban hospital is the only hospital in Haiti that's really working right now. It's so shocking that CNN actually had a short report that described the activities of the Cuban hospital. (See:

“Hundreds of Haitians have gone to Cuba to study medicine, where they get a full medical education for six years for nothing at the cost of the Cuban government. Then they go back, and they practice medicine in Haiti. In fact, the Haitian medical students which are studying in Cuba now have actually now all gone back to participate in the recovery and the medical activities.

“Cuba sends doctors, the United States sends soldiers.”

Sam Weinstein of Payday (see: and the Utility Workers Union also spoke. “I wrote letters to both the Washington Post and to the Los Angeles Times pointing out that in 1948, more than 60 years ago, the U.S. dealt with a blockade of West Berlin. And they did it for almost a year, more than 11 months, dropping 13 thousand tons per day of food and other supplies into the city of Berlin. And 60 years later, they're incapable of organizing a relief effort in Haiti.

“And I finish the letter by saying, ‘Is the problem that Berliners were white and Haitians are not, as was the case with Katrina?'

“They haven't published that letter, but the truth still remains. This is payback, it has all been payback for 200 years for making a revolution and overthrowing slavery.”

The vigil called on people to help stop the genocide in Haiti. Call the White House in protest at 202-456-1111. Call the US State Department at 202-647-4000.  Call your member of congress through the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your congressperson. They also urged people to donate to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund at where your money will go to grassroots women and communities rather than to thieving elites and corrupt NGOs.

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Emergency vigil in support of Haiti

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Emergency vigil in s...
emergencyvigilreturnaristide.jpg, image/jpeg, 2134x2848

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Call for action

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Call for action...
emergencyvigildonateat.jpg, image/jpeg, 2134x2439

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Emergency vigil in support of Haiti

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Emergency vigil in s...
emergencyvigilfoodwatermedeciine.jpg, image/jpeg, 2848x2134

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Emergency vigil in support of Haiti

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Emergency vigil in s...
emergencyvigilgroup.jpg, image/jpeg, 2608x2116

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Calling for the return of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Calling for the retu...
emergencyvigillovinskybanner.jpg, image/jpeg, 2820x1852

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A picture of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

A picture of Lovinsk...
emergencyvigillovinskyphoto.jpg, image/jpeg, 2123x2539

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Emergency vigil in support of Haiti

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Emergency vigil in s...
emergencyvigilhaitinooccupationreturnaristide.jpg, image/jpeg, 2134x2771

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Emergency vigil in support of Haiti

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Emergency vigil in s...
emergencyvigilmedicinefirsthondurasoccupation.jpg, image/jpeg, 2564x2134

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Emergency vigil in support of Haiti

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Emergency vigil in s...
emergencyvigilnooccupationreturnaristide.jpg, image/jpeg, 2134x2536

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Emergency vigil in support of Haiti

by Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Emergency vigil in s...
emergencyvigilparker2.jpg, image/jpeg, 2117x2606

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 6 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Emergency Vigil in Support of Haiti Ross Plesset Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:37 PM
Ideas mous Monday, Jan. 25, 2010 at 10:02 AM
my gwad chum Monday, Jan. 25, 2010 at 10:21 AM
Red Cross = corrupt NGO Mister Mister Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010 at 1:18 PM
Haiti = colonized Mister Mister Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010 at 1:20 PM
So I'm not pissed off enough or what? mous Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010 at 10:59 PM

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