Sant La: Haitian plan of action

admin | 1/25/2012, 7:30 a.m.

Two years after the devastating January 12th earthquake rocked Haiti the nation is still recovering. Thousands of displaced Haitians continue to deal with situations that stem from the quake. Recently Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center (SLHNC) held a forum with its community partners to unveil a plan of action for theprogress of the Haitian diaspora. It was very important for us to commemorate the second anniversary of the earthquake,said Gypsy Metellus, executive director of (SLHNC). We didnt want this program to strictly be about remembering those who passed. We wanted to take this opportunity to put a face to the plight of all of the earthquake survivors and refugees who are here in this community. The plan of action is centered around five basic bench marks: housing and socio-economic security; health and mental health; legal and immigration help; advocacy for a system of care and fund raising strategies. The next step for us is to finalize this report, Metellus said. We want to factor in the input from the folks that participated in the conversation today. We are printing this report up and we are going to distribute it very widely. The report will be sent to local, state andnational policy makers and academic institutions and the best outcome for us would be a better system of care for cases like this in the future. An estimated 220,000 people perished as a result of the earthquake. Serge Comeau, is an 18-year-old survivor of the 2010 quake who came to the U.S. just one month after the disaster said, When I first came here I felt like an outsider, the U.S. was far more complicated and the social ways were new to me. School was a little more normal for me. I thought it would be hard but it ended up being too easy. By Randy Gricergrice@miamitimesonline.com