The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Students Speak to Raise Awareness and Funds for Haiti Relief

Senior Libby Strichartz called it “the most eye-opening experience of [her] life.”

In the wake of the terror and destruction of the earthquake which struck Haiti in January, a group of LAHS students flew to Port-au-Prince this July to provide relief for the displaced and wounded. Tonight, they share their stories, but more importantly the stories of the victims, still in Haiti, still in need.

“We want our voices and our stories to be heard,” Libby said. “We want to advocate for the Haitian cause, and that’s the one thing we really promised people while we were there: that we would get the truth out.”

The presentation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight in the Eagle Theatre, and will be composed of student speakers, video footage from Haiti, and a Q and A session at the end.

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Tickets will be $5 at the door, and all proceeds will go to a sister school in Haiti. The presentation will retell the students’ first-hand experiences during disaster relief, and look at a larger discussion about the larger political change necessary for long term solutions.

For social studies teacher Seth Donnelly, who both advised the trip and organized tonight’s presentation, the work to be done in Haiti is far from over.

By having tonight’s talk, Donnelly hopes to remind listeners that the destruction and chaos—which he described as “what Hiroshima must have looked like after WWII”—didn’t go away after Haiti disappeared from the front page headlines.

“Millions of people are still without adequate food, medical attention and shelter,” Donnelly said. “Very little of the aid pledged by governments seems to have reached the ordinary people on the ground.”

But the talk isn’t just to recollect the horrors—it’s to also honor the bravery and selflessness of activists and Haitians alike. Other local activists will speak alongside the LAHS students.

From Evergreen High School’s branch of ODFL, adviser Victoria Duran and senior Stephanie Nguyen will share their stories from working at ground zero, as will adviser Jon Felder and senior Vanessa Romero of Phoenix Academy in East Palo Alto.

All of these stories, however, pale to the stories of the Haitians. As Donnelly describes it, in the aftermath of the quake and the midst of confusion and chaos and violence, “the people organized into an amazing network of grassroots organizations.”

“Youth groups, women’s groups, mobile schools and health care teams are working day in and day out,” Donnelly said. “Our presentation will highlight both the destruction, but also the heroism and tenacity of these Haitian grassroots organizations and activists.”

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