Letter on Haiti to Senators Kerry & Brown

Yon Pwojè ant Ministè yo Kowoperatif nan Lavil, manb kongregasyon li yo ak òganizasyon patnè li yo


December 2010

The Honorable John F. Kerry
One Bowdoin Sq., 10th Floor
Boston, Mass. 02114

The Honorable Scott Brown
2400 JFK Federal Building
Boston, Mass. 02203

Dear Senators Kerry and Brown:

We are writing as members and leaders of faith communities, campuses, and community organizations united to support Haiti and Haitian Americans in their efforts to rebuild that nation in the wake of the devastating earthquake of January 12 of this year and the current cholera epidemic. We have a number of grave concerns that we wish to bring to your attention and ask you to address as our Senators.

As people of faith from a diversity of traditions, we all believe in common values of human dignity, love of neighbor, caring for the impoverished, and welcoming  the stranger. We believe it is a moral imperative and our ethical responsibility to ensure that the people of Haiti – as well as Haitian immigrants and nationals in our country– receive the support and assistance they need and deserve.

We have been encouraged by the efforts of so many individuals, organizations, and governments to support both the immediate and long-term needs of the Haitian people. While we are gratified by recent reports that $120 million has been transferred to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund, we have also been discouraged by the amount of time it has taken to release funds to the much needed rebuilding efforts in Haiti. In addition, we are concerned about the limited rebuilding that has taken place.

We also have deep concerns about the status of and eligibility of federal benefits for those who are able to stay in the United States due to Temporary Protected Status, which is scheduled to expire on July 22, 2011 – as well as those individuals who are here under Deferred Enforced Departure until September 30, 2011.

We respectfully ask that you:

     • Use all the resources at your disposal to identify and address the reasons why millions of dollars in desperately needed areas remain unavailable to relief and reconstruction;
    
     • Ensure that funds raised for the relief and rebuilding of Haiti are released and directed to that work as soon as is possible, including efforts to strengthen the public infrastructure of the country;

     • Increase the role and work of the U.S. Government in treating those infected with cholera, stopping its spread, and increasing public health infrastructure to address the long-term impact of cholera’s emergence in Haiti; and

     • Actively support extensions of both Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure for people from Haiti until such time as they are no longer required.


Sincerely,
Alexander Levering Kern
Executive Director, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (CMM)

Minister Sandra Dorsainvil
First Baptist Church in Needham

Pastor Thomas St. Louis
New Covenant Church of Cambridge

Brian Corr
Executive Director, Cambridge Peace Commission, City of Cambridge

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