Jazz Café hosts Souls United for Haiti event

It has been eightmonths since Haiti’s entire infrastructure was torn into pieces. News reports of the traumatic earthquake have slowly dissipated. In Boston, On August 8, with very few sitting, over 60 Haitian leaders, artists and supporters—stood alongside the walls of the Jazz Café and Bar in Roslindale, to support the Soul for Haiti: “We Can’t Forget” benefit.
The spirit of unity was present. Souls united not only to remember the devastating earthquake that shook the entire foundation of Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Jacmel and Petit-Goave—but more importantly, to brainstorm Haiti’s development on a long-term basis.
In just a few days, organizers Nancy Joseph and Lory Guerrier were able to plan a seamless event that included a buffet dinner, two guest speakers and ample entertainment. The turnout was greater than they had expected.
“It was apparent that everyone had soul for the cause,” said Joseph. “I know we can’t and won’t forget. Paske L’Union Fait La Force! (Because in unity there is strength!),” added Joseph.
Guest speaker Cate Oswald, the program manager for Mental Health Support Services for Partners In Health in Haiti, described one of the projects that are currently under construction in the Caribbean country.  
“There have been many promises, but not all of them have materialized. One of the projects that Partners is working on is building a hospital. This will be one of the largest hospitals we’ve ever undertaken,” mentioned Oswald.
“Based on the community-based partnerships’ model that works in Haiti, we are paying people to provide their neighbors with medicine. Partners In Health could not do this work if we didn’t have the support we do for social justice. Our model is whatever it takes,” added Oswald.
The second guest speaker, Manolia Charlotin, co-founder of Haiti 2015, reflected during her speech about her experience serving as a human rights advocate—with the TransAfrica Reform Delegation in Washington DC.
“You sit there as a Haitian-American listening to a government where you live, telling you how the government where you come from is,” she recalled in antipathy, consequently encouraging everyone to “find out why things are the way they are and find out what you can do about it,” said Charlotin.
“Support and donate to Haiti-based organizations, research and contact your local officials and find other media sources to find out news in Haiti,” declared Charlotin.
Lumyr Derisier articulated in spoken word, moments from his life growing up as a Haitian-American. Wendy Sanchez passionately recited warm words from a painful past.
When asked what this event meant to Wendy Sanchez, her reflection shed light on her being first a generation American from the Dominican Republic, where her grandmother raised a little Haitian boy.
“My uncle showed up on my grandmother’s land; she took him in and raised him. He eventually went back to Haiti and started a family,” explained Sanchez.
Other performers included MzLyrically Poetic, DQuest of Now Chapter Music, Shayla Jordan, Rebecca St. Louis, Poetic Bliss and D D Conner amongst live Jazz music from MATRAJAH.
Sheila Moore, Co-founder of Educated Ladies Empowered to Change, Inc., a non-profit organization on the South Shore, traveled from Brockton to Roslindale to show her support.
“I see the importance of this [event] because we are one,” said Moore. “I think we need to still fight, to encourage. I make it appoint to donate whenever I can—to help someone else. This is a very positive event that has made an impact,” added Moore.
The Jazz Café and Bar provided a serene atmosphere, ideal for this awareness-raiser.
“When Nancy approached us…we figured we would be able to do our part by all means and support. I figured if the Irish students and Northeastern students didn’t forget [Haiti] we could give them a forum to host this event,” said Linda Chery, Marketing Director for the Café and Bar.
Organizers say they raised $1,000 for Haiti relief efforts. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to charitable organizations like: Partners In Health. Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAY, Beyond Borders and Quixote are a few Haitian-led grassroots organizations that are currently supporting the rebuilding efforts.
To gain a comprehensive list of these organizations log on to www.haitiresponsecoalition.org.