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Disaster Relief Efforts

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2010

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Help for Haiti: Assistance for Haitians Seeking to Extend Stays in US

January 19, 2010 | Posts

The colleges of the City University of New York continue to provide funding and support for the Haiti relief effort, including a telethon, broadcasts on “Radio Soleil” and a special service for “Temporary Protective Status” in cooperation with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

To address the need for legal assistance for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians in the United States, CUNY Citizenship Now!, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Legal Aid Society, the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association and other advocacy groups will hold TPS application assistance events in Brooklyn on January 30 and February 6. The January 30 event will be held at Medgar Evers College.

TPS grants individuals the right to remain legally in the United States and work for up to 18 months.  Congress has authorized Department of Homeland Security to grant TPS to individuals from countries who cannot safely return yo their countries due to grave disturbances, including natural disasters. Immigrant advocates, including the Mayor’s immigrant affairs office and Legal Aid, have reached out to CUNY Citizenship Now!, which has extensive experience in providing free legal assistance to immigrants. It will use the NYC/Citizenship Corps’ (a joint project of the Mayor’s office and CUNY) volunteer list of more than 1,300 individuals to staff the event along with its own attorneys and paralegal staff. For more information, go to www.cuny.edu/citizenshipnow.

New York City College of Technology has begun a “Dollars for Disaster” fundraising project coordinated by the Office of Student Life and Development. Collection locations at a variety of key spots on campus, encourage individuals to make cash donations that will be forwarded the Red Cross Haitian relief efforts. Plans are also in the works by the Dental Hygiene department and its student club, SHADA, to host a toothbrush sale with proceeds being donated to the relief efforts. Additionally a group of students, staff, and faculty met today to discuss plans for a campaign to collect items needed in Haiti. Group members are researching what type of goods will be needed and the organizations that may be accepting these donations. Subcommittees are meeting later this week to work out details.

Ricot Dupuy, Brooklyn College class of 1981, the general manager at Radio Soleil D’Haiti, which broadcasts from Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, said Radio Soleil was operating as a communication hub, with many Haitians from the local community coming in to check on word from loved ones. The station played  a feed from its sister station in Haiti, one of few that is actually broadcasting on the island, so that community members could hear people from home.  Medgie Desir, a junior communications major at Brooklyn College, had recently worked at the radio station to help Dupuy set up programming to reach a younger audience. But for the last few days, she has been fielding media requests for Dupuy and talking to community members.  “It’s just been so crazy here. Just when you think you are strong, someone else comes in with another sad story,” she said, adding that while she hasn’t been to Haiti since she was 3 years old, she would like to try to go back to assist in the recovery. “I haven’t even been there in a while but it’s still part of me.”

Hostos Community College co-sponsored a telethon this weekend that raised pledges of $35,000. The effort also yielded 15 trailers loaded with food, medical equipment and supplies worth over $2.4 million dollars. The event was broadcast live via several international television networks seen in the United States, the Dominican Republic and Latin America.

Queens College student leaders from the Model UN Program are organizing a canned food and clothing donation drive and will set up collection boxes in key locations around the campus.  Arrangements are being made with the Haitian Consulate of New York City to accept these donations.   Emanuel Avila, QC’s Coordinator of Judicial Affairs and Service Learning, is working with students to prepare and circulate flyers with information on how the college community can help with disaster relief. Information will be posted campus-wide through the college’s web site, digital signs and email blasts.