In The News
Help for Haiti will be ongoing union campaign
Most citizens and union workers responded with immediate sympathy and action when massive earthquakes and after-shocks devastated Haiti’s shacks, major buildings --- everything – leveling its populace centers with still uncalculated dead. Even weeks later the numbers are not final.
Certainly the days after the earthquake were dominated by basic rescue operations, water and first aid.
Only now can governments and private relief organizations engage in long-term remedial action. And only now the human heart respond with the full measure of support Americans have always demonstrated in the face of overwhelming natural tragedy.
Curiously and sadly, the normal reaction was not universal. Many in this country were as angry, mystified and distressed along with President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, who was prodded by reporters into a personal reaction to TV evangelist Pat Robertson’s suggestion that the earthquake was a curse on the Haitians because of a pact with the devil and to conservative kingpin Rush Limbaugh urging his listeners not to dig deep into their pockets to help the suffering because the Democrats will “use this to burnish their, shall we say, credibility with the black community, both the light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country,”
“I think in times of great crisis there are always people that say really stupid things,” said Gibbs. In a further comment about Limbaugh, he noted, “I don’t know how anybody could sit where he does, having enjoyed the success that he has, and not feel some measure of sorrow for what has happened in Haiti.”
To Robertson’s remark, immediately criticized by religious leaders in the US and around the world, who noted the strength of the Christian faith in the Haitian community, Gibbs said: “It never ceases to amaze that in times of amazing human suffering, somebody says something that could be so utterly stupid.”
But Robertson and Limbaugh were not the only cases of self-interest ahead of common sense. The Haitian tragedy also brought out the scam artists seeking preying on the generous who wanted to help. Meanwhle, legitimate avenues of aid poured forth in national telethons and individual pleas to help rebuild Haiti.
Ongoing concern is needed, so here are genuine long-term ways to help.
Donations were urged to the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center’s Earthquake Relief for Haitian Workers’ Campaign at www.solidaritycenter.org.
In Milwaukee, the labor council points out that donations marked Haitian relief can be sent to United Way of Greater Milwaukee, a council affiliate, to provide quick help. The website is www.unitedwaymilwaukee.org.
Other sources of help identified by the AFL-CIO:
Partners in Health: www.pih.org/inforesources/news/Haiti_Earthquake.html or send your contribution to Partners In Health, P.O. Box 845578, Boston, MA 02284-5578.
Doctors Without Borders: www.doctorswithoutborders.org or call toll free at 1-888-392-0392. USA Headquarters 333 7th Ave., 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001-5004.
American Red Cross International Response Fund: www.redcross.org/org or call toll free at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions also can be mailed to American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter (specify if you want to make sure your donation will benefit Haiti).
RN Response Network: www.NationalNursesUnited.org.
In the hours after the earthquake, America’s unions quickly responded with help. As some examples, members of the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department unions were crewing ships speeding aid to Haiti while the South Florida AFL-CIO not only supplied nonperishable and medications but helped medical parties get into the devastated country.