Friends, I want to thank you again for your support, which has bolstered me over the past two days.
However, more than anything, this is a call to action! Since Wednesday, I have received well over 1,000 emails from many of you and others who were passed on to me from some of you. Nearly all of you have asked me how you can help. I spent the first day wondering the same, before realizing that WE can be the way to help we have been seeking…that WE can be the ones people in Haiti are still waiting for.
WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE
In two days, with the help of a small but very capable and dedicated group of people, we have:
- Established a consortium of homes in Port-au-Prince to house medical/relief volunteers for free
- Partnered with a local hospital to provide a working environment for our doctors
- Partnered with a rental car company to provide transportation in Port-au-Prince
- Held high level talks with JetBlue executives and obtained an offer to use excess capacity on their planes and in their cargo hold to ship doctors and supplies for free
- Partnered with a non-profit organization to receive contributions on our behalf so your support can be tax-deductible, if you live in the US
- Established a caravan that will take doctors landing in the Dominican Republic into Haiti by car, over land, since that is the only way to get in or out at the moment.
We have done much, but there is much more left to do.
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
- We have received detailed lists of the types of medical supplies needed from hospitals and relief professionals in Haiti. Now, we need to get them to Haiti
- We need funds to cover operations costs (i.e. flights not covered by JetBlue, food and clean water for our doctors in Haiti and cargo costs for the supplies we are able to ship)
- Water filters and other relief materials for the coming days, when the task turns from saving lives to gathering the bodies of the dead
Our goal is simple and clear: To put in touching distance those who need help with those who can provide it. We are not in competition with the other organizations out there and if you have given to them, we thank you. However, our group realizes there is more need than there is help that is getting to Haiti right now. We also realized that with our vast network friends, colleagues and other resources, it would be irresponsible to sit on the sidelines and do nothing.
HOW TO HELP
Your support can be pledged at this site: http://www.razoo.com/story/Haiti-Disaster-Relief where you can obtain a receipt. It is NOT necessary to register for the site in order to donate. Should you run into any problems, please contact Lisa Frist at firstname.lastname@example.org, who many of you know from the Kennedy School and who is managing the site for our team, also free of charge. Please give what you can and encourage your friends at the bank, at the consulting firm, at the university, at church, at the gym, in all walks of your life, to do the same.
I can promise you the following:
- Every cent you give will be used for the purchase of medical materials (i.e. medicine and body bags) and or transportation for doctors and other relief workers.
- All doctors and partners in the effort will be providing their services free of charge.
- I will be on the ground, doing all I can to make sure your dollars have real and direct impact in the most needed communities.
Last, you may be asking yourself…”What’s their name? “ Well, to be honest, after working on pulling together the pieces for this effort for two straight days, most of us without taking breaks for food or sleep, it never occurred to us to think of a name. However, if one must be had, perhaps you can refer to it as simply “Denise.” Denise was my mother’s name and when I think about why I am doing this, it is perhaps because 50 years ago, when she was homeless in the streets of Port-au-Prince, with my then one-year-old older brother, she would have been EXACTLY the kind of person I would have wanted to help had a tragedy like this occurred. She was spared in her time, but many like her were not spared in this time, in OUR time.
We did not choose this moment…it chose us. Furthermore, I know that most of you, like me, are the kind of people who run into fires, rather than away from them, when there are still people in the building. Today Haiti is that burning building. I realize all of us cannot go (in) there now…but I can. However, know that I will not be going in alone…I will be taking all of you with me. I will be taking your hopes for my safety, your prayers for my people and the dreams of my mother and those like her, who simply want to live. I hope to land on the ground early next week, but I need your help TODAY. Haiti needs all OUR help NOW.
The night is darkest before the dawn. Haiti’s long overdue dawn is coming (I know it in my bones!)…and with your help, it can come that much sooner. Please feel free to forward this message to anyone in your personal network. This link should tell them all they need to know about me: http://www.gs.columbia.edu/news-article-find-out-more?ntitle=1919 . Please give what you can. I thank you. Denise thanks you. Haiti thanks you.
Help in Acting Together Immediately – HAITI