he Grambling State University Relief Task Force presented Haiti Solidarity Day in the nursing building auditorium during convocation hours Tuesday. The Haiti awareness symposium informed, entertained and provided another opportunity to donate to victims of the earthquake. Participants were encouraged to fast for a day or skip lunch and donate the cost of it to Haiti.
Vice president for International Affairs Dr. Mahmoud Lamadanie introduced the occasion. He urged listeners to see beyond labels and give to people in need.
“The religion of the victim makes no difference when it comes to Haiti,” said Dr. Lamadanie, who denounced televangelist Pat Robertson’s insensitive comments about Haiti and the suffering people there.
Robertson said that Haitians made a pact with the devil and were “cursed with one thing after another,” during an episode of his show The 700 Club.
Dr. Lamadanie read the controversial quotes before stating that, “God is a merciful God . (who) expects us to give and act in a godly manner.”
Rev. Connie Breaux of Campus Ministries led a prayer Haiti.
St. Lucian student/songstress Nola Rene graced the stage with two beautiful selections, “Praise You in this Storm” and Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.”
Panelists discussed “Haiti: History and Culture of a People and Nation.”
The distinguished speakers included Dr. Marc Cadet, economics professor and a native of Haiti, Dr. Martin Ayim, kinesiology professor, Dr. Douglas Thomas, assistant history professor and Dr. Lemmy Akoma, public administration professor.
The professors presented various parts of Haiti’s history and emphasized its significance as the first free Black republic.
Although the information on a PowerPoint presentation said that about half of Haiti practiced a form of voodoo, Dr. Cadet said that neither he nor his family knew anything about it.
Dr. Thomas presented a shorter and edgier message. He said there’s an international conspiracy to keep Haiti “bent and bowed.”
He also criticized American invasion of the country and attempts to “adopt” Haitian children for capitalistic gain.
As the program drew to a close, Rene asked the audience to stand and led a karaoke style rendition of Michael Jackson’s “We Are the World.”
Interim president Dr. Frank Pogue attended and was acknowledged.
“It is our hope that you will join us in reaching out across the sea to our brothers and sister in Haiti, extending the borders of this community to demonstrate the true bonds of unity and community.,” wrote Dr. Pogue in a letter to the Grambling State University community.
Executive assistant to the interim president, Dr. Kenoye Eke offered closing remarks.
He said that there would be more opportunities to help.
“Compassion undergirds any effort to give,” said Dr. Eke.
The following are options to donate:
n Visit the GSU home page and click on the “Giving” option.
Cash donations will be accepted in the Advancement Office (100 Robinson Building/Old Air Force ROTC Building).
Checks are to be made payable to: GSU Haiti Relief Fund.
A one-time payroll deduction is available for faculty/staff.
The payroll deduction form should be completed and turned in to the Payroll Office. The cut-off date for deduction cards is Friday.