School screens video from Haiti Action Committee

Students and teachers watched a video on the Haitian crisis today, Tuesday, January 26, during Tutorial.

English teacher Ryan Ikeda created the video, called Haiti Solidarity. Students watched the video with their third period classes. Those without a third period class also viewed the video in the Eagle Theatre. Donations were also collected during this time.

Ikeda shot the footage for the video in April 2009, during a trip with the Haiti Action Committee (HAC) in Port-Au-Prince. There, he and history teacher Seth Donnelly worked with HAC’s grassroots organizations, aiding schools, literacy centers, youth centers and more.

Filming the footage took approximately 15 hours, while the video itself was 9 minutes and 31 seconds long.

According to Ikeda, in the aftermath of the earthquake, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced or killed and millions are without water, shelter and food. He said he and other members of the HAC want students to see the crisis as “less a tragedy against faceless people, but of humans we can relate with.”

“My hope is that there will be some kind of human connection made, and that the students gain a respect for the Haitian people,” Ikeda said. “I want them to feel compassion for the people of Haiti.

In the video were images of Haitian peoples’ living conditions before and after the earthquake, as well as Haitian people singing, dancing.

The video also drew a comparison between the prosperity of America relative to the poverty in Haiti with various images interspersed with statistics of the Haitian peoples’ living conditions.

“There were powerful images designed to help us understand what Haiti is going through at this moment,” Assistant Principal Cristy Dawson said.

The video also was meant to encourage students to donate. Referring to the Haitian delegation that “stood in solidarity with America” during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it asked students to “do the same” by supporting Haiti during its current crisis.

“The needs [of the Haitian people] are astronomical right now,” Donnelly said. “We should continue to mobilize funds well beyond this week, as awareness of the devastating reality there only gets stronger over time.”

Pierre LaBossiere, activist and co-founder of the HAC and the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund also came to the school this afternoon to film a segment on behalf of ODFL and the Haiti Action Committee.

The clip will be shown to hundreds of schools throughout California via ODFL, and will likely be shown to LAHS students during the daily video announcements this Thursday, January 28.

There will be a link to the clip on the ODFL website, as part of an educational series on the crisis particularly targeted at schools. Two versions of Ikeda’s “Haiti Solidarity” video will also be available on the ODFL website, at