Continuing the Conversation about Haiti

Last summer, a group of prominent Jewish leaders traveled to Haiti with AJWS to learn about grassroots earthquake relief efforts and AJWS’s disaster to development strategy. Tonight, these leaders are coming together for an event at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Manhattan to share their reflections and to continue a conversation about Haiti’s future.

If you can’t make the event, no worries. And if you can make it, we look forward to seeing you! Either way, we invite you to continue the conversation on our blog by exploring a few questions:

1) Are disasters such as the earthquake that happen in developing countries really “natural,” or are there underlying factors that lead to their tragic and disastrous effects? If there are, how can or should our language and our actions capture the real nature of such disasters?

2) People are often more willing to respond immediately after a disaster rather than invest in long-term work to prevent future crises. Why do you believe this is the case? How can we shift our collective consciousness so that long-term planning and prevention is at the center of our disaster response efforts?

3) What role should the U.S. government play (or not play) in Haiti’s future? How do you think governments should engage with grassroots organizations and local leaders?

4) AJWS and other organizations are continuing to voice concern about how Haitians have been excluded from decisions that affect food aid, employment and housing in the aftermath of the earthquake. How can we engage and empower Haitians to have a say in their country’s future?

Post your responses and start a conversation!