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Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA)
By Jonathan Leaning
July 27th, 2015
The United States occupation of Haiti, enforced by the U.S. Marines, officially began on July 28, 1915 after six months of military engagement ostensibly to protect their citizens from civil unrest at the time, and lasted until 1934. The occupation marked the end of Haiti’s long period of independence dating from the 1804 Haitian revolution against the French colonizers.
Building relationships with grassroots organizations that advocate for human rights-based development takes time, but without investing in them, philanthropy is likely to stumble. The case of Haiti is instructive.
With questions surfacing in the media about the Red Cross' housing program and Sean Penn rising to the organization’s defense, the debate about how best to help Haiti is in full swing.
By Sara Mersha
May 22nd, 2015
It is rainy season in Haiti – or at least it is supposed to be rainy season. But the rains didn't come in April, and it has only rained a few times in May. All the rice seeds they saved up to buy, and all the time they took to plant the seeds and care for the plants – it's all gone. They lost them because the rains haven't come, and the government never finished the irrigation project it had promised them. But the bigger reason is climate disruption.
In the United States we’ve spent months zeroing in on the reality of police brutality against Black people. We’ve been grateful to see and take part in a growing movement that addresses structural racism—pointing out that Black people are disproportionately more likely to die at the hands of police, face institutional racism, and breathe more polluted air.
In the Black nation of Haiti, too, there has been a systematic dismissal of the value of Black lives and US policy has been deeply implicated in interventions that slaughter the interests of Haiti’s people in favor of a narrow elite.
Women, and rural women in particular, are the backbone of Haiti and its economy. They farm, harvest, and transport their produce to local markets where they in turn sell it. They do all of this despite little-to-no support from the government and without the necessary agricultural infrastructure to ease their burden.
The future success of global social movements depends largely on cultivating the next generation of activists. With the support of Grassroots International, local groups around the world are organizing creative social, political and environmental awareness programs explicitly engaging youth. Below are a few highlights from some of the grants we made this past year.
Last week, a broad group of organizations involved in a Climate Justice Alignment process in the US released the statement below, in solidarity with communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean and the US Northeast. Grassroots International is proud to be part of the Climate Justice Alignment, working with allies such as the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Movement Generation, and the Black Mesa Water Coalition to build up a campaign for a Just Transition. This critical effort aims to move us away from an economy based on extreme energy (such as oil, tar sands, gas, agrofuels, mega-dams, nuclear power, and other forms of death-dependent energy). At the same time
If Walmart really tried, I doubt they could have picked a slogan more completely counter to the wisdom, values and insights of global movements of small farmers and indigenous peoples.
The difference between "Live better" (Walmart's latest slogan) and "living well" (the organizing principle of small farmers around the world) means the difference between personal success and community contentment.
And whereas Walmart wants to “Save money,” indigenous and peasant groups in the Global South want to save the planet through grassroots alternatives to corporate globalization.
The United States is facing its worst drought in nearly 50 years. Not alone in its extreme weather, parts of Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia (especially India) and South America are in the same boat. And while the drought certainly affects people in these nations directly, the impact may be felt as much – if not more – in the small Caribbean nation of Haiti, for reasons as complex and numerous as import-dependent food systems, lack of agricultural investment, and just plain bad luck and timing (from earthquakes to floods to global climate disruption).
Se Ra, Se Ta!-- Later is too late” was the resounding cry of people in Haiti on November 25, 2011, in the various actions held in honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This affirmation also acknowledged that in the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 earthquake, the devastating effects of other forms of violence, such as crime, disease, economic and structural violence have been equally traumatic to the people of Haiti.