Students empathize with Haiti’s tragedy

Florida A&M students held a prayer vigil around the Eternal Flame for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti on last night.

The earthquake registered a 7.0, on the Richter scale, shook the city of Port-au-Prince Tuesday evening.

According to a CNN iReport, the death toll is estimated to exceed 100,000 and countless others have sustained injuries. Those displaced by the disaster are waiting for aid.

Hosted by Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the program was a somber and emotional.
Students decent huddled together in the cold, some leading a shoulder to cry on, while others comforted mourners with uplifting words and encouragement.

Many students have family lost or displaced in the Caribbean nation.

President of the Haitian Culture Club, Rodna Tanis, 24, a biology student and Haitian native finds it hard to hold her faith and stay positive.

“It’s hard to pray right now when you see stuff like this happen,” said Tanis. “I can’t watch the news without breaking into tears.”

Tanis has not heard from her husband’s side of the family and is worried.
“I called yesterday.
The phone rang and nobody picked up.” said Tanis.

Dominique Bercy, 23, graduate of Florida A&M from Port St. Lucy, Fla., has an uncle that went to go visit his mother in Haiti. Her grandmother lives in the mountainous part of the island and she has had no contact with either relative since the earthquake.

“I don’t know how they’re doing but I hope they are alright,” Bercy said.
The university has already begun joining collective efforts to assist in the recovery of Haiti. As well as console students affected by the tragedy.

“As part of the university we’re already taking active steps to move forward to support Haiti, to support our Haitian students and to support our Haitian community,” said Student Government Vice President Calvin Hayes, 22, a senior pharmacy student from Orlando, Fla.

According to Hayes, the SGA will hold a meeting tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. in the Perry-Paige auditorium to offer students support.

Hayes said the meeting is for students who have not been able to reach their families.

“What we’re going to do there is we’re going to address financial needs and concerns and also let them know about our counseling services on campus at the Sunshine Manor,” said Hayes.

A faculty meeting will also be held Friday in Lee Hall at 10 p.m. where a task force will be put together to raise money, send clothes and food.
“We [student government] want to join the collective effort on campus to send money and everything else Haiti needs,” said Hayes.

Bercy said as a graduate of FAMU, student leader, and direct descendant of Haitian people, she has to get involved.

“I come from a line of strong workers,” said Bercy. “I’m going to make it my obligation to do what I can to help with this issue. And if that means getting my FAMU family out and go and help, then that’s what I will do.”

Other students are contributing by donating to artist/activist Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund and the American Red Cross.
Despite the horror of the drastic events in Haiti, Hayes, like other students on campus, maintains a strong faith.

“I know a god that can turn dark yesterday into bright tomorrow and only when it is dark outside can you see the stars,” said Hayes.