Senator Barack Obama formally accepted his nomination as the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer in this year’s presidential elections. By white supremacist ideology standards, this is a milestone. For by such standards, power and privilege belong to those deemed to be devoid of one drop of black blood running in their veins, throughout their arteries and their hearts. By such standards, whether one adheres to them or not, Mr. Obama is a black man who has broken through the race barrier to become a real contender for leading the US past the bungling of George W. Bush and into a new era for the 21st century.
By my standards, Mr. Obama is an ordinary human being, neither white nor black, with an extraordinary gift for speaking truth to power – as he did when he addressed the issue of racism in the United States –, and great leadership abilities. Still he has flaws, which his opponents will use as best they can while exploiting biases and prejudices that Americans have not yet overcome.
762 strong… 238 to go!
Speak truth to power is what I have asked many of you to do, by signing a petition against child slavery in Haiti. This petition will be delivered to whoever presides over the White House next January. It will also go to the leaders of the Government of Haiti, other governments that support Haiti and relevant international agencies concerned with the rights and welfare of children in Haiti.
I am delighted that as of today 762 of you have responded to the call for action. Thank you for all your efforts. However, I need 238 more to sign on to the petition by September 15 so that we can reach our goal of 1,000 online petitioners. Some petitioners have left comment for the decision-makers who will receive this petition. Below is a select number of comments, some are slightly edited for clarity.
Won’t you stand with the children of Haiti so that they won’t have to face the bleak future that this girl in the picture faces today? Many of the civil rights activists who faced the violent wrath of segregationists back in the 50s when they mobilized against apartheid in America have been reported saying that they never in their heart and mind imagined that a person of color would be the nominee of a major democratic party. It took less than three generations. A new future is possible in Haiti: I believe that slavery can be eliminated in deed in Haiti in five years or less and that within the next 20 years every child in Haiti, regardless of economic and social background can enjoy the fruits of education. All it takes is to say like Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper who descended from slaves and a family of 19 brothers and sisters: “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Aug 27, 2008, Marie Mondesir, New York
I am a mother, a grandmother and feel that no child should be treated under such condition; specially in a country which is the first freed black republic of the world. It seems that the inhabitant of this country does not understand it was a slave revolt that freed them from their masters. Every child deserves to be treated as a child and enjoy their childhood. Before we can do that we have a lot of work to do. Education, Education, Education
Jul 31, 2008, Giovanna Chery, New York
Without educated children, we cannot have an educated country. The country should be educated in order for the nation to advance financially, socially, and holistically in all aspects. With education we learn of past mistakes and how to avoid them. We must educate these children for even a slight hope for a better Haiti.
May 21, 2008, Judit Grau Of Darbouze, Spain
I met Ivna, that girl of 8 years old in Thomassin 25. I saw her every single day, selling cookies, washing pots, clothes, eating less, and being a part of the whole group of his “family” I have her on my heart, on my thoughts and on my prayers, I regret to live in this world and not be able to do anything to save her or take her out of there. One morning I called her to her cookie’s place and she came sad, with horror on her eyes, covering her little body with a bigger cotton jacket, crossing her strong arms and rude hands over her innocent body. She could not even look at me but I did not need her to look at me at all. I wish and I hope somebody could do something for ALL OF THEM but I know the only one to stop this is GOD, and until he will COME we will just be able to TRY. Anyway here is my signature and my words. And I could sign infinite times. May GOD bless all of them wherever they are and whatever they are suffering. Judit G.G.G. de Darbouze.
Dec 23, 2007, Merlie Fleurizard, Florida
I am a second generation Haitian living in the united states and it saddens me to hear that not only do children in Haiti have to endure extreme poverty and limited opportunities but must also face childhood slavery. This must be put to an end. children are the future and if they are continuously belittled and denied the right to pursue an education than Haiti will never survive this grave economic, social, and political depression that forces them to flee their homeland.
Dec 14, 2007, Olivia Geri, New Jersey
This NEEDS to end NOW….
Nov 15, 2007, Monica Lloyd, California
Children must live in freedom and be protected from any type of abuse.
Nov 14, 2007, Martha Diaz, Florida
children should be working hard only in school!!!
Oct 28, 2007, Anonymous, Kentucky
Child slavery is disgustingly wrong. Children should spend time being children and being educated, not being subjugated to ridiculous amounts of work. It’s time to abolish this horror.
Oct 20, 2007, Anonymous, New Jersey
I lived in Haiti for thirteen years and I have seen first hand what those kids went through. I experienced some of the abuse although my dad was taking care of me. But they knew he would not ask me if they were good to me or not. I am glad to see something is being done about it.
Sign the petition, please. I Want to End Child Slavery in Haiti