News / USA

Haitian-American Media Play Important Role for Haiti Quake Victims, Haitian-Americans Abroad

The emotional aftershocks of the earthquake in Haiti that killed or wounded 100s of thousands of people and left millions homeless are still being felt in New York's thriving Haitian American community, nearly 2,500 kilometers and a world away. The Haitian-American media is getting readers and listeners in touch with loved ones and keeping them informed about developments in the homeland.

Multimedia

Audio

Radio Soleil d'Haiti is a community radio station that has been broadcasting from a storefront in the heart of Brooklyn's teeming Haitian American community for 16 years. Normally, Radio Soleil has broadcast Haitian and Haitian-American news, public affairs, music and religious programming, mostly in Creole French.

But moments after the earthquake struck in Haiti on January 12, the station became a local community center as well as a vital communications link to the homeland through its hookup with Signal FM, the Haitian mega-station that was miraculously undamaged by the quake.

"The phone has been ringing non stop since then. They are trying to locate loved ones! And understand, they cannot all Haiti," said Ricot DuPuy of Radio Soleil.  "They call Haiti the communication system ahs broken down entirely. They hear a devastating 7.0 quake, they are asking Radio Soleil 'yes we cannot get through, but can you get through? Do you have means to get through? Can you help us?' So they are calling us with the names of the people they are trying to locate. And we go on the air, we air those names, hoping that the loved ones they are trying to reach will somehow find a way to tell them 'I am still alive,'" he explained.

Many relatives, both living and dead, have been located in this way. Meanwhile, Radio Soleil broadcasts other information, such as places throughout the city where Haiti bound donations of food, clothing and medicine can be dropped off. There have been talks by clergy offering spiritual guidance and comfort at this time, and interviews with U.S. immigration officials to clarify President Obama's order offering temporary protected status to Haitian nationals who were in the U.S. prior to January 12.

"As much documentation as someone has to be able to show that they were in the country as of January 12, that would serve as proof... the stronger your case becomes," said one expert.

DuPuy also notes that Radio Soleil has been one highly visible public face of the Haitian-American community to mainstream news organizations.

"CNN. Fox News. ABC, CBS. The Voice of America! This is where they come - Radio Soleil. The New York Times called us 'the heartbeat of the Haitian community,'" he said.

Does he feel gratified to realize he can be so useful?

"Of course it is gratifying in that sense," said DuPuy.  "And certainly out listeners will tell you that when they see me all over the media trying to articulate the urgency and encourage the world to give. There is no way this country could recover from this without the total dedication and support of the rest of the world."

Radio Soleil is not alone.. Radio Panou also serves the Haitian American community, as do at least four well respected newspapers. Leo Joseph, the editor and publisher of the Haiti Observateur weekly newspaper, has also been striving to offer news and information from abroad to Haitians themselves.

"The Haitians at home need to know that they are not forgotten," he said.  "And the United States government has said that they are not going to forget them. We run stories about how people are organizing in churches, how they are organizing in schools, how stores are organizing, banks are organized. I went to my bank to make a transaction, they asked me to make a contribution. Wherever you go! And this is the kind of stories we want to tell them."

Joseph continues to take his journalistic role as gadfly seriously. In its January 20 Haiti Observateur banner headline read "U.S. Marines install themselves in the [Presidential] Palace". It's an ambiguous message in a land that has been forcefully occupied by more than once by American troops. Joseph acknowledges the U.S. says it's there to help.

"But we don't know what this help consists of because… the government of Haiti does not operate in total transparency," he said. "And you don't know really what they did sign with the American government… They could have signed anything."

What is his position?

"Well, my position is that the government should come out and say what they did or didn't do," said Joseph. "The newspaper is a port and the community is a ship. Every ship needs a port. Whatever is happening in the community, we mirror it, and people depend on us for that. Good news, bad news, we are here!"

It's a role concerned people everywhere will continue to rely on in the coming weeks and months as Haiti begin to recover and attempts to rebuild.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid