Tuesday, March 5, 2024

GUEST BLOGGER SERIES: Rudy Ruiz “Be a force of nature. Help heal Haiti.”

Latinovations would like to thank Rudy Ruiz for his contribution to La Plaza.

(RBB) — Every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. Haiti’s worst earthquake in over 200 years has taken the lives of tens of thousands and threatens millions more in the aftermath. Out of the darkness of the rubble there must come light.

The forces of nature have devastated the people of Haiti. It is up to us to react and respond.
As Haiti suffers its worst earthquake in over two centuries, it brings out the best in America. Thousands of people are flying into action – from relief workers to the military, from our current President to former ones, from celebrities to average citizens – seeking ways to help.

In disasters such as these there are several waves of activity. There is first the shock and grief and horrid loss of life. There is a search and rescue phase. Then there is the aftermath, the struggle to meet basic human needs amidst the devastation of infrastructure and supply methods. This second phase is critical to avoid the massive loss of life subsequent to the initial catastrophe.

One organization poised to make a difference – with a very strong presence on the ground in Haiti – is the Pan American Development Foundation <http://www.panamericanrelief.org> . My advocacy communications agency, Interlex, develops campaigns for the PADF – a DC-based non-profit organization affiliated with the Organization of American States – which provides economic development, human rights and disaster relief throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. The PADF has over 150 staff members on the ground in Haiti. They’ve been in the midst of this tragedy since before it began. Additionally, the PADF’s field team in the Dominican Republic piled into trucks and drove overnight towards the Haitian capital to assist.

Given the logistics, the best way most Americans can share their generosity is via monetary donations, which can be made safely via the PADF at PanAmericanRelief.org or by calling toll-free at (877) 572-4484. Donations are tax deductible as the PADF is a 501 (c)(3) organization. Additionally, the PADF is able to work with corporations wishing to donate bulk supplies or services. Partners that have already stepped up to the table include: Chevron, Royal Caribbean, Moneygram, and MTV.

PADF is utilizing all funds and resources to provide food, water and shelter to Haiti’s people. Afterwards, it will also be a vital player in the rebuilding process, so all contributions will be put to good use in responding to Haiti’s crisis.

One of the PADF’s ongoing spokespeople for efforts to improve life in Haiti is Haitian actor Jimmy Jean Louis, co-star of NBC’s “Heroes.” Jimmy Jean, who also founded the non-profit Hollywood Unites for Haiti, is appearing in the PADF’s TV, radio, print and online PSA’s to mobilize the American public behind the relief effort. He is also planning to travel to Haiti to help search for his own family members. Jimmy told CNN: “I don’t think people have any idea how terrible this is because of the circumstances on the ground in Haiti and the lack of the infrastructure. There are no roads, and it is going to be extremely difficult for help to reach people.”

Despite his personal ordeal, Jimmy Jean Louis has made himself available to help rally American support around this cause, working to quickly shoot and record TV and radio PSA’s before heading home.

That said, in such times an effective reaction and respons
e requires not only generosity but expertise to successfully deliver aid and save lives. As Americans search for ways to help respond to this catastrophic force of nature that has crushed the Haitian people, there may seem to be a glut of options for contributing support. The PADF is uniquely positioned as one of those options due to their hands-on experience in Haiti.

Michael Zamba, the PADF’s Senior Director of Communications, told me: “Natural disaster response is one of our three core competencies. In Haiti 18 months ago we reacted to two hurricanes and two tropical storms, helping hundreds of thousands of people. We have been in Haiti for 30 years. We are not just parachuting in; we already have a whole organization there. We are not hitting the ground running. We are already on the ground.”

America can help Haiti rise up from the rubble, climb out of the darkness into the light. Working together, contributing our support to proven organizations like the PADF, we can respond swiftly and strongly in a time of great human need. Overwhelming circumstances must be met with equally overwhelming power. Today, we can become a force of nature ourselves and help heal Haiti.

A published author and multicultural advocate, Rudy Ruiz is an acclaimed multicultural communications entrepreneur. He founded Red, Brown and Blue as well as Interlex, one of the nation’s leading advocacy marketing agencies. Prior to that, Ruiz earned his BA in Government at Harvard College and his Masters in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.