For more information and how you can assist:www.state.gov/haitiquakeAbout the Author: Jane Daly serves as a Program Officer in the Office of Public Liaison.
At Miami Dade College's North Campus on the afternoon of Monday, March 29, neither high winds nor torrential rain prevented locally-based members of the Haitian Diaspora from engaging with State Department officials on the U.S. government's response to the January earthquake disaster.
Members of the Haitian Diaspora based in several cities on the U.S. East Coast engaged in discussion with State Department officials in Washington, DC by means of a digital video conference. Locally elected officials in Boston, New York, and Miami partnered with the Department of State's Bureau of Public Affairs and the Haitian Diaspora Working Group in reaching out to members of the Haitian Diaspora in their communities. In Miami, U.S. Representative Kendrick B. Meek's office (FL-17) organized the local community's involvement. In New York, U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke (NY-11) and City Councilman Jumaane Williams (45th District) participated in the briefing and arranged for community members to participate. In Boston, locally elected officials and representatives of Mayor Thomas M. Menino's office participated.
Participants heard comments from Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, who provided a status update on the U.S. government's response to the disaster. In addition, officials from the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the U.S. Agency for International Development engaged Diaspora members in discussion on topics ranging from temporary housing, visa issues, and temporary protected status, to reconstruction efforts. The conversation reflects the State Department's ongoing interest in engaging Diaspora members on meaningful ways to involve them in Haiti's reconstruction and development efforts. The entire conversation was streamed live online and can be heard here.