This week marks the 5th anniversary of Haiti's devastating earthquake in 2010 -- hundreds of thousands died and millions were later affected.
In 2010, AOL and other news media outlets rallied to report on the earthquake aftermath and help the people of Haiti. The world moved to action. I also remember the local Northern Virginia community embracing me as I personally dealt with this tragedy. My family in Haiti lost their homes but fortunately no one lost their life.
A year later, I wrote about the recovery progress and marking its first anniversary. Today, my family continues to help rebuild the country of Haiti along with their own homes. I also remain actively engaged with in-country and DC-based organizations that support the rebuilding efforts.
This past weekend, I paid my respects to this tragedy by visiting the Embassy of Haiti in Washington with my husband and 4-year-old son. Although my son is too young to fully comprehend it all, I wanted to show him there's more to life than toys and iPads. I wanted him to know we live in a world of great countries, universal dreams for freedom and peace, unity, and love among global citizens. I also told him about the Haitian people who are hopeful, kind, resilient, creative and innovative -- you have to be innovative to survive in this challenging and sometimes dangerous environment.
Of course, I'm biased and these are general statements. However, given the current situation in Haiti and other places around the world, one needs to look beyond their tragedies and problems because they don't define the people or the country. What makes us who we are is solidarity in our beliefs, what we choose to protest versus let pass, our policies and laws and action -- or lack thereof. These yield to real change.
What can you do? Beyond sadness for Haiti, I also hope you will:
· Be angry about the $13.5 billion donated in 2010 yet significant amounts are nowhere to be found.
· Be sad about the millions of dollars pledged but was not realized.
· Be skeptical of quick fixes or "band-aid" solutions that are either exploitive or ineffective.
· Be curious about local and global organizations, governments, and businesses effectively partnering with Haiti.
· Be prudent. It means, "acting with or showing care and thought for the future."
As an individual, make 2015 a year of change and action. Consider taking on a local or global cause (ie. freedom of speech, curing cancer, diverse workforce in corporate America, women in technology or leadership, urban youth development, etc.) that matters to YOU. When the world is a better place, Haiti will benefit.
The anniversary of the tragedy in Haiti is a time to remember and to continue making things better there and in the rest of the world. This week, I'll show my son the small Caribbean island of Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic) on our globe, and then rotate it to show how we share one home.
Thank you for your support and interest in Haiti.
Read More about the Earthquake Five-Years Later Stories in the News:
· AOL.com: Haiti Better Off 5 Year later...
· Fox News: Pope names new envoy to Haiti
· Haitian American reference on Wikipedia: Did you know W.E.B. Du Bois, former miss America Marjorie Vincent, actress and model Garcelle Beauvais, recent Congresswoman Mia Love, and professional basketball player Blake Griffin were Haitian-Americans?
· Did you know that Haitian soldiers fought in the American Revolutionary War in 1779? Savannah, Georgia was under siege by the British. More than 500 Haitian volunteers under the command of Comte d'Estaing fought along side American colonial troops. This is one of the most significant foreign contributions to this war and there is a statue today in Savannah as tribute.