In January 2010, a devastating earthquake shook Haiti, with an unfathomable loss of life. Between 250,000 to 300,000 people were killed; 1.5 million are still homeless.
Nearly every member of the LAWG coalition found some way to help, through relief efforts in Haiti, long-term development efforts, human rights work or policy advocacy. You all helped, too: thanks to the generous readers of the Advocate who contributed time and money to your favorite relief efforts.
LAWG is not a relief organization, so we did what we do best—convene groups to get a coordinated, dynamic advocacy effort on track. Meeting at American Jewish World Service, Oxfam America or TransAfrica, an ad-hoc group convened by a number of groups, including LAWG, have been meeting every week to ensure that our nation supports and funds a generous, Haitian-led, sustainable relief and long-term development effort in Haiti that helps Haitians rebuild and recover.
We urged the White House to provide $3 billion in well-directed relief and reconstruction funding. Now that the White House has delivered to Congress a supplemental budget request for Haiti, we have been organizing visits to key congressional offices to ask them to pass an aid package immediately. On May 27th, a bill including funding for Haiti passed in the Senate, but we’re still pushing for it to move through the House as soon as possible.
We’re also working to try to make the aid as helpful as possible, for example by encouraging local and regional purchase of food aid, so imported food aid doesn’t keep Haitian agriculture from thriving. We helped AJWS and other groups distribute proposals for reconstruction from Haitian civil society to policymakers.