The Rawlings Opening Statement
The people of Haiti have survived colonialism, tyranny, neo-colonialism, and now a devastating earthquake. Few collections of people have exhibited the will to endure in the face of overwhelming despair. But in this moment of crisis, there is no shame in asking for a helping hand. As Americans, we must rise to the challenge and live out our ideals as a nation.
Historical Overview brought to you by the History Channel "Where history lives"
There is nothing more apt in terms of historical symbolism between the U.S. and Haiti as the northern neighbor's failure to grant diplomatic recognition to the tiny Caribbean country until 58 years after the latter's independence. Haiti came into existence following a brutal series of wars against the French colonialists- wars, sparked by slave revolts, which were so destructive they would derail Haiti's future prospects for the next 200 years. Fearing a revolt from its own slave population, U.S. officials left the new nation to fend for itself. In 1962, Abraham Lincoln finally granted Haiti diplomatic recognition. Lincoln's Union army was in the midst of a war against the slave-holding South; recognizing Haiti made political sense.
And so it would be. The U.S. ignored Haiti until the great power was compelled to act. From the 1950s into the 1980s, the Duvalier dictatorship was tolerated in the name of stability, until the U.S. recognized the unavoidable voice of the Haitian populace. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Haitian immigrants arriving on U.S. shores were sent back, while their Cuban counterparts were welcomed in. We, as Americans, have had a hand in the struggles of the Haitians. We must help. (more at HQT- IE)
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Yo, u wanna make a diff? Text HAITI to 90999 and D'Nate to the Cross.
The Donna Karan Closing Argument
Too often we focus on the aspects of the world which divide us. That diversity is necessary for human development. But when a tragedy befalls members of our human family, we must put aside those differences. We must ease the bureaucratic impasse that makes it so difficult for us to help those in need. We must put aside our own petty individual concerns, open our hearts, and give generously to our brothers and sisters who are living under tragic circumstances through no fault of their own. Please give what you can.