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Journalist to Speak on Haitian Relief Effort

Published: February 22, 2010
Melissa Jiha ’10 doesn’t want people to forget about her home country, Haiti.

The public health major has been working with other Haitian students as well as faculty, staff and fellow students in a month-long initiative to help with the relief efforts following the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated her nation.

“We’re hanging on,” Jiha said. “We’re trying to stay positive.”

Coming this week is a Feb. 25 presentation by author and journalist Amy Wilentz , "Haiti: Tragedy and Hope." Held in the Reeves Theatre at 2:30 p.m., Wilentz will speak from her history writing about the nation. Wilentz is the author of The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier, and she teaches in the Literary Journalism program at the University of California at Irvine.

“I want students to realize that Haiti is a politically prescient country; an indicator country. Its people liberated themselves from slavery and the colonial power 200 years before most other colonies got out,” Wilentz said.

“There is much to be done now, and immediately,” she said.

Wilentz suggests students interested in helping should find organized programs to travel to Haiti with to help build shelters. Supplies and money are always needed so the efforts of the UT students in raising more than $3,000 for the American Red Cross should be well received.

This past month, UT students have collected a 14-foot U-Haul truck full of supplies that Jiha and Coralie Moscoco ’11 drove to Miami mid-February for shipment to Haiti with the organization Fondation Rose et Blanc. And the donations keep trickling in.

“We don’t want this effort for Haiti, this memory, to die away,” Jiha said.

To help with fundraising efforts for Haiti, contact Jiha at .

For more information on the Feb. 25 program, contact Brooke Pawlak at or (813) 257-3501.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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