ST. MARTIN – The Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF) will invite the audience at its 23rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lecture on Friday, January 15, to donate funds for earthquake relief in Haiti, said Shujah Reiph, the CLF president.
“We are inviting all of our island’s people, all people of good will to the MLK lecture at the Chamber of Commerce Building in Spring Concordia, Marigot, starting at 8 pm,” said Reiph. The guest speaker will be attorney-at-law Denicio Brison, addressing legal and other aspects of the 2010 theme, “Truths About Democracy.” firstname.lastname@example.org
The audience collection and all monies from books and poetry/music CDs sold at the lecture will be donated to the Red Cross to assist survivors of the earthquake in Haiti, said Reiph. The 7.0 quake of January 12 is reportedly the most devastating to hit the Caribbean in 200 years.
Reiph and Lasana M. Sekou from House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) met on Thursday to discuss a concrete way for both foundations to contribute, in connection with the already planned lecture that honors the great compassion and universal courage of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, said Reiph.
“Many people are so sad, and feeling overwhelmed about what to do. The idea on Friday is to involve folks. Let’s show our concrete support in this grave hour of need being suffered by our Caribbean brothers and sisters, by our children and the elderly in Haiti,” said Reiph.
CLF will host the table of books and poetry/music CDs published here and offered by HNP. The money from each book or CD bought by audience members on Friday will be donated to Red Cross earthquake relief in Haiti, where millions of people are “directly and badly affected,” said the duo, well known for their activism on the island.
“The Haitian people have been a very resilient and prevailing people. Their tireless and ongoing struggle for freedom, socio-economic independence, solidarity, justice and peace has influenced or impacted all Caribbean peoples, including St. Martin, and a number of countries in the Americas, including the USA,” said Reiph, who is also a labor union leader.
Reiph and Sekou said that the St. Martin people are already joining a regional and world community of prayers and donations. “This Friday lecture serves as another moment of unity as an island-wide community, and to give what we can to relieve human suffering from this latest natural disaster,” said Reiph.
The International Red Cross estimates that between 40,000 to 45,000 people were killed in the quake that devastated the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Millions of people are suffering from loss, injury, hunger, lack of security and other severe hardships said Reiph and Sekou.
“The Red Cross, Partners in Health www.pih.org/inforesources/news/Haiti_Earthquake.html, and Doctors Without Borders, along with key Haitian NGOs and volunteer PVOs, have a tested track record of on-the-ground successes in alleviating poverty and assisting with the tough but ongoing process of human development in Haiti,” said Sekou, who is also an author. Nehesi@sintmaarten.net.
Photo caption1: St. Martin activists Shujah Reiph (L) and Lasana M. Sekou. (Saltwater/TC file photo)
Photo caption2: Proceeds from this Friday sales of The Salt Reaper music/poetry CD, which includes the poem “Haiti 200,” will be contributed to Haiti earthquake relief.