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 Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More