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Students support Haiti

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As aid continues to flow into the rubble that once was Haiti’s capital, University at Albany students came together last Tuesday for a candlelit vigil to show support for the millions who have been affected by the disaster

“Oh god I pray that you will touch the hearts of those who are hurting, oh god.” Devin Raymond, President of Angelic Voices of Praise, recited during the opening prayer.

It was 5:41 p.m. on Jan. 12 when Port-au-Prince was first hit by the series of earthquakes that have virtually leveled the city. 200,000 Haitians have been confirmed dead with more still missing in collapsed buildings and upturned roadways.

Millions have lost their homes, their loved ones; everything they have ever owned. In response nations from around the world have been pulling together to start the rebuild.

The vigil, organized by Zeta Phi Beta and the Haitian Student Association, brought a crowd of around 100 students and faculty to the small fountain outside the campus center.

As they listened to the singing of the Black National Anthem, by Samantha Ramcharitar, many joined in with a call of “Let us be strong until victory is rung.”

Although Haitian students only make up a small portion of our campus population, there was an underlying emphasis on solidarity amongst everyone in attendance.

“We need to raise some fundamental questions in terms of making the right decisions for what is happening in Haiti,” Dr. Marcia Sutherland, Chair of the Department of Africana Studies, said. “We must understand that supplies must be given.”

From clothes and food, to money and medicine, everything is needed in order to pull the people of Haiti back to their feet.

“This evening words are all we have to offer,” Dr Eloise Briere, a professor in the French Department, said. “Let these words tell of our compassion and solidarity with the people of Haiti.”

Although words were all that could be offered during the vigil, “what is most important right now is money. Haiti needs monetary funding,” Nicole Jean, 19-year-old sophomore psychology major and member of Project Recover, commented.

“I am Haitian, and some of my family members have been affected by the earthquakes. They have lost houses and all their belongings, we need to be here to support them.”

Donations are being taken at the EOP office and on the Haiti Relief Fund website at www.albany.edu/haiti_relief_fund/. The Haitian Student Association will also be hosting a memorial service at the Campus Center Ballroom, Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 5:41 p.m.
 

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