Standing with Haiti

Published on Jan 15, 2010

The Astraea Foundation is deeply saddened by Tuesday’’s earthquake in Haiti and its devastating aftershocks. We stand with the people of Haiti, their friends and their families in this time of crisis. Among many, many others, Flo McGarrell, the director of our grantee partner, Fanal Otenik Sant D’A Jakmel (FOSAJ), did not survive the earthquake. Our condolences go out to his family and to all who knew and loved him. Haiti and the LGBTI community have lost a brilliant and committed activist, humanitarian, and artist.

Haiti- Port au Prince

We had the opportunity to meet Flo and a FOSAJ member in the spring of 2009, during a visit to New York. We were very impressed and inspired by their work; recent visits to Haiti by close allies of Astraea in the past few months have confirmed that the group was making an important contribution in the lives of LGBTI people there. Astraea is making efforts to get in touch with the group and provide additional support.

Astraea has also been in touch with grantee partners in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island with Haiti and was not affected by the earthquake. The lesbian feminist collective Las Tres Gatas and trans group Transsa Dominicana are working in solidarity with Haitian communities in both countries. Members of Las Tres Gatas are traveling to the border and into Haiti to provide medical and social services. Other members have stayed behind to raise funds in areas highly frequented by LGBT people to contribute to the effort on the ground. They plan to collaborate in rebuilding efforts in the coming weeks and to support women, girls, and LGBTI communities in healing through the use of theatre and arts therapies. The two groups intend to connect with LGBTI communities and leaders in Haiti to assist in rebuilding their organizations. This solidarity work has important implications given the long history of deep racial and national tensions between the two countries.

In times of intense loss and chaos, too often women and LGBTI people experience increased violence, and Astraea calls for aid efforts that recognize their leadership, help prevent violence and provide services.

Astraea stands ready to provide emergency support to our grantee partners in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. But we need your help!

Donations to efforts that are grounded in the leadership of women and LGBTI people with a long-term goal to rebuild are much needed. Your donation will help mobilize LGBTI-inclusive efforts in solidarity with all Haitians, and will be directed to one of our grantee partners working in Haiti.