Chicago leaders gather for earthquake relief effort

January 17, 2010 7:20:24 PM PST
Since Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti, people in the Chicago area have been looking for ways to help in this time of crisis.Several government, civic and business leaders were hosting a unity observance for the earthquake victims Sunday evening at the DuSable Museum on Chicago's South Side.

The museum is the appropriate place to hold such an event, since it is named after a Haitian explorer.

In addition to the civic leaders, religious leaders from several faiths were also in attendance.

The event was organized by Congressman Bobby Rush, who has made three trips to Haiti since beginning his service in Congress.

Rush was joined by Haiti's Counsel General in Chicago, who broke down into tears as Rush opened the event in prayer.

Congressman Rush called on the Obama administration to grant Haitian nationals in the U.S. an immigration status that would allow them to remain in the U.S. until the time of crisis has passed.

Rush also said he supports a request for allowing charitable contributions to Haiti to be tax deductible for last year.

However, he said the sole purpose of the event wass spiritual, praying for victims and their families.

"This pain is universal, and we want to pray to the God of the universe to bring comfort to those who are suffering right now," Rush said. "And we want to pray for the future of Haiti."