Smith Georges thinks of his native Haiti. The community activist and artist painted a mural of Haiti when the 2010 earthquake struck, and he felt compelled to update it after the latest tragedy.
Georges also said his family could not reach his aunt, who still lives in Haiti.
“I hope nothing bad happens to him, but seeing the devastation in these areas really gives me a lot of reason to be anxious,” he said.
Georges attended a press conference and a prayer vigil on the steps of St. Jerome Roman Catholic Church in Flatbush on Monday.
Elected officials and community leaders gathered, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Reverend Al Sharpton, all vowing to help the Haitian community and encouraging others to do the same.
“We know the strength of the Haitian people. It is legendary. But let’s be there for them and let them know that they are never alone, ”said de Blasio.
“In 2010, everyone said there was an opportunity to reinvest in Haiti,” said Dr Christina Pardo of Life of Hope. “Now is another opportunity for us to take control and make sure people are represented.
Lovely Pierre is originally from Haiti and now lives in Canarsie. Her children joined her at the vigil.
“Even though I left there a long time ago, it’s hard and heavy for me because it’s my hometown, I had the opportunity to come here, to study here, but if I hadn’t had this opportunity, it could easily have been me, ”said Pierre.
The mayor says the city is providing mental health support to the Haitian community at the Haitian-American Council Training Center and the Christian Church of the Evangelical Crusade.
Georges said Haiti can use all the support it can get at a time like this.
“You see that the problems are piling up in addition to the problems in Haiti. I wish not only Haitians or Americans of Haitian origin, that the whole world comes together and reaches out to Haiti, ”he said.
There are many ways to help, but officials are warning people to donate to credible organizations.
The mayor says one way people can learn to help is by visiting NYC.gov/fund.