From left to right: Ketlie Numa-Lespinas, Rodneyse Bichotte, Raymond Joseph, Maria Castaneda and Mathieu Eugene pose for a photograph following the 1199SEIU press conference in Manhattan Jan 11. Photo Credit: Bianca Silva





Little Haiti, Brooklyn Photo Credit: Garry Pierre-Pierre

By Bianca Silva

When Brooklyn Council Member Mathieu Eugene was driving on Jan. 12, 2010, his wife called and asked if he was aware of what was going on in Haiti. Slightly perplexed by her comment, she urged him to get to a television and see for himself what was happening. What Eugene saw unfolding his eyes on live television was heartbreaking to say the least.

“It was painful,” he said as he recalled the experience at a press conference Friday at the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East auditorium in Manhattan.

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti that killed approximately 250,000 Haitians and caused millions to be homeless followed by a cholera outbreak that same year. At the time, the Obama administration granted Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to Haitian nationals who have since been unable to return to Haiti due to ongoing environmental and corruption problems.


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