Jackson: Haitians should get to rebuild Haiti

July 21, 2010 12:47:41 PM PDT
Rev. Jesse Jackson has returned from his trip to earthquake-devastated Haiti. At RainbowPUSH headquarters Saturday, he and others talked about the huge need for long-term help.Jackson says as relief efforts move from"donation to appropriation. He wants to make sure Haitians and Haitian-Americans have first dibs on the opportunity to rebuild their country.

Jackson is told RainbowPUSH members that the humanitarian aid effort in Haiti, in some ways, lacks humanity.

"There they were driving down the street, dropping rice like dropping slop to hogs. And they were running after the rice. They were running after the water. Why wouldn't you have water stations?" the RainbowPUSH founder said.

He also says poverty played a major role in the size and scope of the destruction in Haiti, pointing out that earthquakes of a similar scale in the United States have caused only a fraction of Haiti's devastation.

Going forward, Jackson and others say the earthquake presents an opportunity for Haitian empowerment.

"The rebuilding of Haiti has to be done by Haitian hands so Haitian people can benefit from jobs and economic development," said Democratic State Sen. Kwame Raoul, who represents residents on Chicago's South Side.

"It should be Haitians, and not Haliburton," Jackson said.

While in Haiti, Jackson and his delegation also saw countless children now in need of homes. He says there should be cultural considerations when adoptions are processed.

"There must be a massive adoption program with Haitian-Americans having the first option to adopt their kin and to bring them to America," said Jackson.

Even before the earthquake, there were an estimated 300,000 children in Haiti who had neither parents nor permanent homes. Some predict the number of orphans in Haiti may now be double that.


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