December 30, 2014
Building a better Haiti and keeping people safe are two of my passions. Through Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), I found a great way to do both this year.
When I moved from Haiti to the U.S. as a young adult, I had no money and spoke no English. From humble beginnings bagging groceries and driving a cab, I eventually grew to lead aviation security and emergency management at Boston’s Logan Airport. While I now lead my own security firm, I devote much of my personal time assisting others and giving back to my community because of the challenges I have faced along the way.
I joined forces with IJDH and BAI this year because fighting for justice and speaking out can be dangerous work. BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph has faced many serious threats, including death threats, because of his work. All of the BAI lawyers and support staff know that they may be putting themselves and their families in danger by challenging powerful interests. Mario’s own wife and daughters were granted asylum in the U.S. because of the risks his work exposes the family to. Yet, they all keep doing this work because they believe in building justice in Haiti.
When I was invited to donate my expertise to help mediate the risks the team faces daily, I accepted enthusiastically. I joined the IJDH Advisory Board and began providing guidance on security protocols and equipment. Mario challenged me to improve the safety of the Haitian lawyers, support staff and clients at BAI while maintaining an open welcoming environment for grassroots partners and regular folks. I have travelled twice to BAI now to assess the security situation, install donated equipment, recommend new protocols and provide training to security guards and the whole staff.
Though I’ve made important contributions this year, I know that my work isn’t done. Your work isn’t done either. BAI is on the right path to building justice in Haiti, but needs the power of our expertise, our time, our money and our voices to make 2015 another decisive year for Haitian rights. As 2014 comes to a close, please keep BAI and IJDH in your heart and mind as you’re making your final holiday gifts. And thank you for making 2014 such a successful year for improving human rights in Haiti.
Happy New Year,