|Black student leaders hopeful for Haiti’s recovery|
A young victim of the powerful earthquake that shook
Port-au-Prince receives medical treatment. UN Photo/Logan Abassi.
By Ciona D. Rouse*
Jan. 18, 2010 | NASHVILLE, Tenn.
If New Orleans can recover from Hurricane Katrina, there is hope the
people of Haiti will find new life after the massive earthquake that
struck Jan. 12.
“I feel hope for those people,” said Charlie Coleman, a student
leader at Dillard University in New Orleans.
“I know that those people in Haiti right now are feeling like there’s
lost hope and there’s nothing that can be done because it was a natural
disaster,” said Coleman, a freshman. “If New Orleans can overcome the
obstacle with the help of the United States and with other countries and
everybody working together, Haiti can rebuild, as well.”
Coleman and 23 other young leaders who are enrolled in or have
graduated from the 11 United Methodist-related historically black
colleges and universities gathered in Nashville for an orientation to
The Black College Fund’s Lina H. McCord ambassador program.
As they learned more about telling the story of The Black College
Fund, many students also followed the news closely to receive updates of
the aftermath and responses to the Jan. 12 Haitian earthquake.
William Montgomery, a senior at Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss.,
has had Haiti on his heart for several months. The pastor of Ecru and
Thaxton United Methodist churches said his mission team selected Haiti
as its destination for summer missions.
Although he was originally unable to go on the mission trip with his
congregation, Montgomery now feels called to connect his church with the
United Methodist Committee on Relief and lead a team there when the
time is right.
“God has a plan, and I’m going to probably change (my schedule) and
end up leading the team to go help in whatever way we can,” Montgomery
The young leaders were happy to see communities coming together to
support the people of Haiti in their immediate recovery, especially
seeing the success of social networking efforts reaching young
“I’m impressed with the response,” said Courtneika Hudson, a senior
at Paine College in Augusta, Ga. “I know there is a lot of stigma in
society about young people not really caring a lot about what’s going on
in the world. So just to see the outreach that we have … it was
actually quite rewarding to see that.”
The student leaders have helped to coordinate relief efforts on their
campuses, like conducting clothing and food drives and holding
fundraising events for Haiti.
Recognizing Haiti’s long history of poverty, the students also hope
that the efforts will continue past the immediate relief.
“I want people to realize that it has to be a continued effort in
helping a country, a city, even a state rebuild and become what it once
was,” Coleman said.
*Rouse is a freelance writer based in Nashville.
News media contact: David Briggs, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or
Charlie Coleman, Dillard University:
"When people work together, big things can be accomplished."
Courtneika Hudson, Paine College:
"This crisis hit closer to home than we know."
William Montgomery, Rust College:
"There's more we can do in this world to help."
Photos from team in Haiti
in Haiti: The Church Responds
Black College Fund
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