Subscribe to SLJ
Bowllan's Blog
Inside Bowllan's Blog

Writers Against Racism: Writers Helping Haiti?

Here I sit.

It’s so difficult to go about a normal teaching day, while at this very moment, scores of Haitians are struggling to survive. 

It’s a haunting reality.

Every tweet on Twitter and every status update on Facebook, in my opinion, should be devoted to Haiti. How can the world think of anything else? The images of dead babies, women and children walking aimlessly down the streets, fathers crying tears for their loved ones, and here I sit – writing – thinking – drifting, and really, doing nothing. Yes. I gave. But that to me is not good enough for this writer > me.

After my blog posting yesterday, a woman asked me, do you have relatives there? And while I don’t, I have a lot of friends who are Haitian and the fact that they are Haitian and I am not, really doesn’t matter. They are people who need our help. 
But there are writers who are doing something.

According to Marjorie Kehe at Christian Science Monitor, Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, who authored "Breath, Eyes, Memory," "The Dewbreaker," and "Brother, I Am Dying," has been speaking out about the earthquake that has ravaged her hometown. "She refers to the earthquake as "an apocalypse for this small and often tried country." 

Wall Street Journal writer, Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg also interviewed Kehe.

"The author, interviewed in Miami by telephone, noted that a number of international writers had been expected to meet Jan. 14 in Haiti to discuss literature, as part of a broader arts festival that got underway Jan. 1. A blog that comments on Caribbean culture, Repeating Islands, said that 50 authors had been expected to attend." (via Haiti Novelist Edwidge Danticat: ‘Magnitude of This is Immense’by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg) 

Now I am off to teach my next class, how to use MovieMaker. And something just does not seem right about that.


  1. B Herrera says:

    Just finished a web cast today with author and Holocaust survivor Gerda Klein. She urged students involved in the Stand Up, Speak Out, Lend a Hand program to dedicate this year’s service project to Haiti because she “knows what it’s like to have nothing.” My students immediately started planning to help – not just from the school, but throughout the city. They already have plans to include businesses, civic leaders, import/export companies and all the schools in collecting, organizing and sending supplies that will be needed long after the news crews leave the area. I am proud because they chose to do something. They did not wait for an adult to suggest or plan it. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I might add that the students who are organizing this are my “at risk” students, not my National Honor Society members. They don’t have much, but they know they are lucky to have enough to share with others.

  2. B Herrera says:

    I am also proud because two of my students told me, “Haiti is that place we read about last semester. I know them.” They were talking about “1937” by Ms. Danticat. They loved her writing and obviously what they read helped them understand world events.

  3. Amy Bowllan says:

    this is so encouraging, B! PLEASE keep me posted. This is a long term effort that we have to follow. Thanks for the update!!! xo

  4. B Herrera says:

    Will do. Wish us luck.

  5. I have two simultaneous responses: 1. I too want to do more and wish to be there and am thinking about it most of the time.
    2. THere are people in need all around us whom we may be better able to reach with our hands than in Haiti. So, money to Haiti, helping hands at home.

  6. Amy Bowllan says:

    I like that idea, Betty. It makes a LOT of sense to me.