Monday, January 18, 2010

Reflection- HUMANITY-Words We Should Stand By-Honoring Ann Marie Coriolan

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bare. MLK

As we pause on the birthday of Martin Luther King, his words could not be more meaningful as we continue to mourn with the people of Haiti.

Last year I was asked to do a presentation of the impact of MLK on President Obama. I took it one step further to speak of a leader who had an impact on MLK and those who used the same theme of non-violence and love. Here is some of what I shared with the students.

Martin Luther King Jr. studied the words of Gandhi. In his teachings Gandhi said, “Where there is love, there is life.” As MLK began to gain a larger understanding of what was happening around him he found himself holding strong to this saying, “Non-violence became more than a method to which I gave intellectual assent; it became a commitment to a way of life.”

Other world leaders developed an equal message in their fight for justice and the humanity. Nelson Mandela wrote in a Long Walk to Freedom, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than the opposite.”

In doing the research for the presentation, I found a telegram that MLK wrote to Cesar Chavez. This speaks to the commonality of their struggle. ”Our separate struggles are really one, a struggle for freedom, for dignity, and for humanity.”

I share this with you to highlight the common theme of love for humanity. Why do I think this is so important at this time? Like MLK, once our eyes are open to the suffering of the world, you could not but feel the pain of the people of Katrina, Colombia and Haiti, to name a few.

Through my awareness, I have always felt this strong connection to the people of Haiti because if we know history, then we know that what they did has impacted all people of African descent. We should always salute them for fighting, FOR US!! The people of Haiti have been recovering from many disasters over the years. If you have spent any time there, then you know that this devastation will require years of recovery.

Beyond our connection to the country is the connection to the human beings we see on the news and in the papers and the family members of friends we hear about.

This week has been difficult on many levels. Death makes you get on your knees and pray to those who guide you and reach for those who you carry close to your heart.
With the passing of my dear friend ‘s mother, Mrs. Mayani, I was reminded that if we care for someone then anything that causes them pain, will affect you as well.

We have been receiving direct information from our sisters in the DR who have traveled to Haiti since the earthquake. Their accounts are real and depict a great sense of loss, pain and chaos amongst the people.

My time with the women of the Red de Mujeres Afro, teaches me more than any book could. I have been moved by the dedication and the passion of our Haitian sisters. Today in thinking of the words of MLK, I salute them. We mourn the loss of sisters who were pioneers in the justice of the people of Haiti.

I write this reflection with a heavy heart as we wait for confirming news of our sister, Ann Marie Coriolan. Ann Marie is one of the founding members of the Red. She was filled with love, her smile was contagious. She is a legend in my eyes because her unwavering commitment was a lesson to all.

From the first time we met, I felt like she was family. She always made me practice my French with her because as she would say, “my name was too French to not be able to speak it.” She claimed me as one of her honorary Haitian women. When she spoke, we all listened because we knew that the wisdom she shared would help each and every one of us. I will cherish every minute I spent with her, her laugh and he joy for life.

Many of us continue to wait to hear from friends and family. Our prayers go out to you. We know that many of you are doing as much as you can. We would like to share this information from the Colectiva Mujer y Salud that also needs our help to reach the smaller areas and some of the poorest. This group has one of our founding members Sergia Galvan working to get the items to Haiti.

So as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., let us pause and send out a message of love to the people of Haiti. Let us use our collective energy and send these words out into the universe, hope, peace, love, community, prosperity. Let love and humanity be your guide. Let these words be the words we stand by.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” MLK
Encuentro Diaspora Afro and the Red de Mujeres Afro Diaspora Region, will be indirect contact with Colectiva Mujer y Salud in Santo Domingo. We will also be sending out information on local work with our Haitian comrades.The account information for you to make your donations for the women and children of Haiti, is the following;

Colectiva Mujer y Salud
Banco de Reservas
Cta Corriente No. 010-251497-6
Swift code o ABA No. BRRDDOSD
C/ Isabel La Catolica No. 201
Zona Colonial
Santo Domingo, Rep. Dom.

Principales Necesidades de la Comision de Salud:
Unidades moviles de atención medica
• Ambulancias-Ambulance
• Carpas-Tents
• Muletas-crutches
• Sillas de Ruedas-wheel chairs
• Medicamentos-medicine
• Unidades Sanitarias móviles-sanitary stations
• Refrigeradores de medicamentos-refrigerators for the medicine
• Camillas-beds

Peace and love,
Yvette Marie

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