I have been to Haiti over 25 times. I have seen this beautiful country with its beautiful people through the lense of a video camera, when I co-directed with Rebecca Chaiklin a documentary about Wyclef Jean and his quest to bring peace to Haiti. I was filming a documentary on Russell Simmons and his journey to end the Rockefeller Drug Laws, when we first met Wyclef backstage at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004. Haiti had recently endured the removal of democratically-elected President Jean Bertrande Aristide and was on the brink of civil war. To make matters worse, a major hurricane had hit the city of Gonaives and thousands had been killed. Wyclef wanted to return to Haiti (his first time since the Fugees MTV concert in 1997) to do a major peace concert. Backstage in Boston, he asked Rebecca and I if we would go with him and make a documentary. We had no idea what to expect, but we said yes.
The concert didn’t happen right away because of the violence in the country, but what did get formed was a movement…a movement to bring hope back to the homeland of this Refugee…and the epicenter of that movement was Wyclef. And that movement is YELE HAITI. I watched over the course of five years, Yele Haiti become the most important non-profit on the island, doing tremendous work while at the same time raising international awareness about Haiti by bringing people like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Petra Nemcova, Akon, Matt Damon and many others to the island.
When the earthquake hit yesterday, my heart sunk. When I saw the photos of the damage, tears strolled down my eyes. When I spoke to my friend in Haiti this morning and she uncontrollably couldn’t stop screaming, ‘my friend is dead, my friend is dead,’ my mouth could move, but no words could come out. I am tired, I am weary, but I know that we must help Haiti. When I spoke with Wyclef last night he told me that the most important thing is to raise money for relief efforts. Every dollar counts, so if you have the means, YOU CAN DONATE $5 BY TEXTING YELE TO 501501. Wyclef is in Port-Au-Prince, accessing the situation first-hand, and is going to work immediately.
I have seen the work of Yele Haiti with my own eyes and your money could not be going to a better organization. Please donate!
Today we are all Haitian!
For up to the minute coverage on the Haiti Earthquake, click HERE
Political Director to Russell Simmons
Managing Editor, GlobalGrind.com
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