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Know Before You Owe

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By William Reed, NNPA Columnist –

Dez Bryant provides a good economic example of what is happening to Blacks across America. In heavy debt after leveraging his first-year salary to pay for “bling-lifestyle” amenities, during the National Football League (NFL) lockout, the 24-year-old wide receiver had to turn to payday lenders to help him keep up his game. Desmond Demond “Dez” Bryant started spending on his salary as a NFL player for the Dallas Cowboys when he was drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

During the 18 months before Bryant signed with the Dallas Cowboys, he bought at least seven men’s watches and two more for women. He paid $65,500 for a diamond cross made of white gold and $60,000 for a custom charm. He ordered a set of dog tags made of white gold and diamonds, and all sorts of other rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces in various shades of gold. Bryant got it all through a line of credit with the understanding that he’d settle up once he signed the pro contract that paid him $8.5 million.

While we hold them out to be “successful”, most people don’t know that a third of NFL players live paycheck to paycheck. Or, that by the time NFL players have been retired for two years, 78 percent have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce. Within five years of retirement, 60 percent of former NFL players are broke.

We all don’t have to be buying gold grills; but Bryant shows how cash and credit poses problems for not only rich Black athletes but, normal folks in the hood as well. More people are using payday lenders to secure essentials critical to daily life, and pay for medical emergencies, tuition fees and house bills that include water and electricity. There are more payday lending stores than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. Payday lending has grown into a $40 billion industry.

The popularity of the short-term loan product has grown significantly since the early 1990s. America has 23,000 payday loan stores and there seems to be an increasing demand for them. Nearly 20 million Americans use payday lenders that charge, on average, $16 for a $100 two-week loan.

If you have a job, it’s easy to get one of these high-interest loans. No credit check, car title or other collateral is needed. All you generally need is some proof you have a steady job, a driver’s license and a checking account. Usually, you’re asked to write a post-dated personal check payable to the lender for the amount you want to borrow, plus a fee. You either repay the loan before your next payday or the lender cashes your check.

Prudent thinking is recommended before you sign up for a “payday” type of loan. If you’re having trouble paying the rent, mortgage payment or other monthly bills, talk to current creditors to develop a new payment plan. If you must pursue a payday loan; shop several lenders, find the best loan, then read the loan application/contract carefully and correct any errors. Never make inaccurate statements about your financial condition. Walk away from any lender who offers to falsify information or asks you to sign a loan application where spaces have been left blank. Understand what you sign – be sure that the terms of the loan as written in your contract match what the lender has told you.

On the other hand, it would be wise to look at opportunities to participate in ownership and the profits of payday loan stores and kiosk locations. Half of America’s payday loan stores are owned by independent entrepreneurs who put together approximately $25,000 to open their store. Payday operators can expect to break even in 15 months if they are able to plan and pay out $8,000 a month to pay rent, utilities, one to two employees, signage, advertising, payroll taxes, software, computers, and office supplies and are able to build up to a portfolio of $60,000 in loans.

William Reed is president of the Business Exchange Network and available for speaking/seminar projects via the BaileyGroup.org

Tax Refunds: Yours to Keep, Not Lose to High-Cost Lenders

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By Charlene Crowell, NNPA Columnist –

Each year as W-2s begin arriving in mailboxes, commercials start promoting a range of services to ‘help’ consumers with tax preparation. These advertisements beckon consumers to take advantage of convenient and worry-free services.

In reality, however, many tax season services are less about convenience and more about taking a hefty portion of refunds consumers have already earned. Each year, high cost tax-related services drain an estimated $11 billion from the pockets of 30 million households with moderate and low-incomes. Two of the most prevalent and high-cost financial ‘services’ are Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) and Refund Anticipation Checks (RACs).

A RAL is a high-cost, short-term loan secured by the taxpayer’s expected refund. Interest rates on a typical RAL are about 150 percent. The fee for the RAL is in addition to the fee for tax preparation. Other add-on fees such as electronic filing, applications, and fees to cash the loan check, wind-up with many taxpayers spending more than 10 percent of their refund, just to get their own money a few days sooner.

According to FINRA Investor Education Foundation, a national survey of self-reported RAL users showed that while 13 percent of African-Americans reporting using a RAL in the last five years, just six percent of whites did.

Similarly, RACs, temporary bank accounts opened for the sole purpose of receiving tax refunds, are another costly loan. Once the refund is deposited, the lender issues the consumer a paper check or prepaid debit card and then closes the account. RAC fees vary, but as with RALs, consumers often elect to have the tax preparation costs deducted from their refund. RAC customers are also charged checking cashing and other add-on fees for this short-term loan.

Consumers most vulnerable to the lure of expensive RALs and RACs are either unbanked or under-banked but are also eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2011 and depending upon family size, the maximum EITC will range from $464 to $5,751. Anyone desiring to learn whether they qualify for this tax credit should visit IRS online at: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96406,00.html.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), African-Americans alone account for 36.9 percent of the unbanked – consumers without a personal account with either a bank or credit union. Further, Latino and African-American communities together represent more than 60 percent of the nation’s unbanked households

Consumers with bank accounts who turn to non-bank fringe services for day-to-day money management are ‘under-banked’ households. Under-banked households pay more for basic transaction and credit financial services, and additionally are more vulnerable to loss or theft. These families also, according to FDIC, often struggle to build credit histories and achieve financial security.

Rather than wasting a portion of tax refunds on RALs or RACs, consumers would be better served by accessing one of the free tax services available. These locations can be found online at: http://rspnsb.li/wxAmeA. Local IRS offices are available to assist or direct consumers to qualified preparers. Other nonprofit, social service agencies or those serving older residents can also offer referrals to qualified low and no-cost tax assistance.

Most importantly, anyone who hires someone to assist them with their returns should be aware that IRS holds the tax filer accountable for their selection of a preparer. Every qualified tax preparer must sign the return and also enter their assigned Preparer Tax Identification Number. Tax preparers are also required to give taxpayers a copy of their own returns.

Tax refunds represent monies owed. Every consumer is entitled to keep as much of it as possible.

Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at: Charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

CBC Will Kick Off Voter Protection Tour in March

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By Lauren Victoria Burke, Writer, Politic365
Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informer –

The Congressional Black Caucus will launch a multi-city “voter protection” tour that will kick-off the weekend of March 3 near the 47th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”

“We intend to launch our voter protection tour, which will consist of field hearings and community gatherings, during the same weekend as the annual pilgrimage to Selma, Alabama,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO).

Each year, the Faith and Politics Institute holds a Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama. The weekend includes a tour of historic civil rights sites and ends with a walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It has been attended over the years by 150 members of Congress including several Republicans. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is the Pilgrimage’s Chairman. This year the twelve year-old event begins on March 2.

“We think that what John Lewis and others did at the Edmund Pettus [Bridge] is still very relevant in light of what we are dealing with now in terms of the seemingly organized effort to reduce minority participation in the upcoming election,” Cleaver added.

Cleaver confirmed the tour will kickoff that weekend of the annual pilgrimage.

On March 7, 1965, John Lewis led 700 protest marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. When the marchers stopped to pray after police ordered them to disperse, they were tear-gassed and beaten by Alabama State Troopers in an incident now known as “Bloody Sunday.” Lewis’ skull was fractured in the clash.

The CBC voter protection tour will consist of about 10 cities. The cities most likely to be stops on the tour are Atlanta, Cleveland and Dallas. By filing time, Cleaver did not wish to confirm locations just yet. CBC Member Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) did confirm that one of the stops will be in Florida, a key battleground state during the 2012 Presidential race.

Interestingly enough, Wilson’s Republican colleague in the CBC, Rep. Allen West (R-FL), told Politic365 that he did not attend the meeting where this was discussed and was not aware of the plans.

The CBC will team up with the NAACP for the tour and one major sponsor that will be named in the near future.

“Every black elected official around the country and in the area is where we are going to stop. We are not able to announce it today but we will have at least one major partner,” Cleaver told Politic365.

Republican legislatures around the country have altered state voter laws over the last year. Many say the changes have more to do with suppressing the turnout of minority voters and low income Americans than with preventing fraud. Republican controlled legislatures in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and West Virginia have cut the number of days citizens can vote early. Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott reduced early voting from 14 days to 8 and Republican Governor of Ohio John Kasich reduced the early voting days from 35 to 16.

Last October the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University released a study on the new voter ID laws that stated that “as many as many as 10% of eligible voters do not have, and will not get, the documents required by strict voter ID laws.” The study also indicated that 5 million voters could be impacted by the new laws.

Because of past discrimination, new voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina are required to undergo what’s called “pre-clearance” review by the Department of Justice. The Justice Department blocked a new voter ID law in South Carolina on December 21st saying it discriminated against minority voters.

The CBC has met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus regarding partnering in some way on the voter protection/voter suppression tour. As of this time no formal plans with the CHC have been set.

The CBC had a five city “Jobs for the People” tour in August of 2011 that gained national attention and reportedly secured nearly 3,000 jobs for attendee

 

Church Denies Crusader Access to Dr. King Event

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By Wendell Hutson, Special to the NNPA from the Chicago Crusader –

On a day when the nation paused to recognize civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a Black church denied the Crusader access to a South Side public event.

Governor Pat Quinn met Monday with Corey Brooks, Sr., pastor of New Beginnings Church, 6625 South King Drive, who has been sleeping on top of the shuttered Super Motel since November until his church can raise $450,000 to buy the motel’s land. The church plans to demolish the building and redevelop it into a $10 million community center, according to Brooks, whose 2,500 members are predominately Black. As of December 31, the church had raised nearly $200,000, according to Danielle Willis, a spokeswoman for New Beginnings Church.

The Crusader received the same media advisory about the event from Willis just as all other media. But around 2:50 p.m. when the Crusader arrived at the event, which was held in front of the church, the Crusader reporter was told by church volunteers, acting as security guards, to leave the ‘media’ section and instead stand across the street on the sidewalk where about 100 people were also standing and cheering.

And every other reporter and TV cameraman was taken on top of the roof to interview Brooks but the Crusader was not allowed because “these are the media outlets that confirmed they were attending,” Willis said.

But the Crusader also confirmed via e-mail to Willis. “Please stand on the sidewalk my brother until we get further instructions for you,” said one church security guard, who did not give his name.

But when the Crusader began asking why was it the only media outlet not allowed in the media section, which was set up on the street, no one gave a straight answer. The U.S. Constitution affords the media the right to cover events held on public property, such as streets, once identified as a journalist, one Chicago police officer at the event told the Crusader. In Chicago, all government media credentials are issued by the Chicago Police Department, which conducts background checks on all individual journalists. The Crusader had its police issued media pass displayed and even showed it to Willis and church security guards.

Afterwards, Willis implied that the Crusader was also not granted the same ‘convenient’ access as other reporters, who coincidently were all white, because of a January 5 story it ran on the pastor. “Why would you expect things not to be contentious with the stories you have written about Pastor Brooks?” Willis said in a phone interview. “And you not cooperating only made things worse.”

The January 5 story reported that Brooks had refused to sign a promotional release form that would have allowed a previous Crusader story on him to be entered into the “America Inspired” contest sponsored on the website examiner.com. On Feb. 1 the website will award $50,000 to five stories in five different categories that received the most online votes between January 9 through 27. For the Sacrifice category, which is where the story on Brooks would have appeared, the story must show how a person is making a sacrifice to benefit others or for a worthy cause. And the person featured in the story (in this case Brooks) would receive $50,000.

Brooks said he declined to sign the release on the advice of his attorney, who was unavailable for comment. Despite the story Willis alleges that the Crusader spoke to her in a disrespectful manner.

“What you call talking loud I call yelling and screaming,” she added. No Crusader staff members yelled at Willis or any other church member. When the Crusader contacted Brooks he said he had not yet spoken to Willis so he could not comment on an incident he was unaware took place.

“My focus is on young, Black males being murdered. The focus is not you or I. The focus is them and that’s all I care about,” Brooks said. “I am sacrificing everything being on this roof. I am sacrificing my family and my life and I do not have time for foolishness.” And Brooks’ Executive Assistant Pastor Steve Bozeman, who was in Atlanta and did not attend the event, told the Crusader in a phone interview that Willis was following his instructions. “Feel free to write whatever you want. I do not have time to get into this right now but know that whatever Danielle did she did so at my direction,” Bozeman said.

And just prior to the Crusader voluntarily leaving the event Brooks came down from the rooftop temporarily along with Quinn to thank everyone for their support and asked for their continued prayers.

Haiti: Two Years After Deadly Earthquake, Life Largely Unchanged

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By Starla Muhammad, Staff Writer
Special to the NNPA from the Final Call –

(FinalCall.com) – “Occupy” Haiti? Activists argue this is exactly what the U.S., UN and thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are doing in the world’s first independent Black republic after a devastating earthquake shook this Caribbean nation two years ago.

So-called great liberators under the guise of humanitarian aid and rebuilding have become entrenched, calling the shots while the masses of Haitians continue suffering.

Rubble-lined streets, families wallowing in tent cities, cholera, and lack of fresh water is as big a problem today as it was in the immediate aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude quake that decimated Port-au-Prince and other areas of the country, Jan. 10, 2010.

Two years later, nothing has changed, said some activists, in describing the lot of the average Haitian.

The same questions raised one year later are still being asked two years later. What happened to the money? Who is profiting from Haiti’s misery? Are UN peacekeeping troops really peace breakers? Unanswered questions and continued interference by a foreign presence in their homeland have frustrated and angered Haitian activists. Haiti has been forgotten, they said.

Does anybody really care they ask?

“Nobody cares,” Ezili Danto of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network told The Final Call. Ms. Danto has stopped granting interviews because most media outlets are asking her about the two-year anniversary of the earthquake but neglect to ask about Haiti any other time.

She said despite the billions of dollars of aid pledged to Haiti by many countries there has been no “systematic relief.”

“Instead, half-a-million Haitians—500,000—have been infected with UN-cholera and 7,000 Haitians are dead from the UN/US/international ‘help’ that brought the most virulent strain of the cholera bacteria into Haiti,” wrote Ms. Danto on www.ezilidanto.com. However, the Haitian people are strong, resilient and will not be deterred by current obstacles, she added.

“Not deterred that the foreign NGO/charity industry, USAID special subcontractors and most of the donor countries kept most of the billions in earthquake relief collected under Obama/Clinton/UN oversight.”

“Not deterred that this newly US-hobbled-Haiti is now the ‘hot’ place for the super-rich, the wannabe humanitarians, their adrenaline-addicted celebrities, adventurers and the paid-to-lose-progressives to setup shop, take on their right wing counterparts with a hustler’s wink and for the Kim Kardashian ilks to come for spa treatments and acquire exotic ‘tribal crafts,’ ” added Ms. Danto.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, a son of the Caribbean, said recently many do not want to see Haiti rise up and become independent and self-reliant. In the Muslim leader’s historic first trip to Haiti in December, he delivered a powerful and timely message to the Haitian people. Min. Farrakhan reminded listeners at an outdoor rally of the great legacy of Haitian heroes Makandal, Boukman and Jean Jacque Dessalines that led to the overthrow of their French colonial slave masters and independence Jan. 1, 1804.

“The reason you suffer is because the enemy knows that what you did in 1804 can be done again. So, from France, from England, from America: No matter what they say, they do not want to see Haiti rise again,” said Min. Farrakhan, whose words were translated into kreyol as he spoke Dec. 14 from a stage in downtown Port-Au-Prince. In the background was the still destroyed National Palace and a tent city that is home to displaced Haitians.

Money pledged, money spent, where?

“The only thing I can tell you is the same thing everybody else has been telling you which is the same: There’s still no work being done in Haiti. Relief money in Port-au-Prince has not reached the Haitian people at all,” Carmella Coqmard Muhammad told The Final Call.

Ms. Muhammad’s parents are from Haiti. She still has relatives in the capital Port-au-Prince and Cap Hatien in the North. The Haitian people are “absolutely frustrated,” said Ms. Muhammad.

Worldwide sympathy was accompanied by billions of dollars raised by various charities and groups in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. According to the UN, $4.6 billion has been spent on relief efforts. But that is about half of the money pledged to help Haiti recover and rebuild. Yet little if any progress that directly impacts and improves the lives of the people is being seen

Only about half of the earthquake rubble has been removed. According to the Associated Press, only four of the 10 largest projects funded by international donors have broken ground.

“It turns out that almost none of the money that the general public thought was going to Haiti actually went directly to Haiti. The international community chose to bypass the Haitian people, Haitian non-governmental organizations and the government of Haiti. Funds were instead diverted to other governments, international NGOs, and private companies,” human rights activists Bill Quigley and Amber Ramanauskas wrote in a Jan. 3 posting on CommonDreams.org. entitled, “Haiti: Seven Places Where Earthquake Money Did and Did Not Go.”

According to Mr. Quigley and Ms. Ramanauskas:

The largest single recipient of U.S. earthquake money was the U.S. government. The same holds true for donations by other countries;

Only one percent of the money went to the Haitian government;

Extremely little went to Haitian companies or Haitian non-governmental organizations (NGOs);

A large percentage of the money went to international aid agencies, and big well connected NGOs;

Some money went to for-profit organizations whose business is disasters;

A fair amount of the pledged money has never been actually put up;

A lot of the money put up has not yet been spent;

Nicole Lee, president of TransAfrica, told The Final Call transparency and accountability for where the money has gone is still needed. TransAfrica, along with several other groups in a Jan. 11 press release, called for immediate changes to recovery efforts to ensure that critical human rights concerns are addressed in Haiti. Representatives from TransAfrica, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Film at 11, Let Haiti Live and the Center for Constitutional Rights made recommendations including making non-profits more accountable for the money received.“Too many people have been left behind and too much money (has) been wasted to continue with business as usual,” said the group.

Haiti has often been dubbed, “The Republic of NGOs.” Reports vary on exactly how many of these groups function there. Conservative estimates say at least 3,000, but some argue the number could be upwards to 10,000. These organizations have been in Haiti for decades.

Ms. Muhammad said most of the frustration and anger of Haitians is directed toward the non-profits and charities. “These organizations promise a lot and give nothing. I can’t say it is the government itself that they are disappointed with because he (President Michel Martelly) just got there. For them, they don’t expect anything from him. They don’t look to the government for help,” said Ms. Muhammad.

Little progress, little power

Over half a million Haitians are still living in nearly 800 tent camps and political log-jams between President Martelly and the Haitian parliament have caused some problems.

After rejecting Mr. Martelly’s initial two choices for prime minister, parliament finally approved Dr. Garry Conille, an aide under the administration of former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Mr. Clinton now serves as the UN special envoy to Haiti. Some view this as further evidence of U.S. meddling in the affairs of Haiti.

“It is clear that in Haiti today there is a shadow government, with the presence of former U.S. President Bill Clinton in the National Palace and at the head of a so-called ‘Presidential Advisory Council for Economic Development and Investment.’ It is no secret to informed people that the invisible hand of Bill Clinton is in the appointment of Garry Conille,” wrote Yves Pierre-Louis in article in Haiti Liberté prior to Mr. Conille’s confirmation.

“What’s more, Conille directed Clinton’s offices as co-chair of the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (IHRC) and Special Envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. To impose Garry Conille as Prime Minister, all the country’s laws will have to be violated in the interests of the imperialist powers and the big, local predators,” continued Yves Pierre-Louis.

“It is a common misconception, both in Haiti and abroad, that the country’s president holds executive power. In fact, his main power is to nominate the man or woman who does: the Prime Minister,” wrote Kim Ives in a separate article for Haiti Liberté.

The non-profits use Haiti as a way to make money, said Ms. Muhammad. While traveling with a delegation from the Nation of Islam last August, Ms. Muhammad said the group witnessed a construction project while en route to a city in the mountains.

“We saw a prison being built that will facilitate children from around the age of six I was told, seven and eight. How are you going to put a six-year-old in prison? Who was building that prison? The Clinton Foundation,” said Ms. Muhammad.

Critics argue that the thousands of non-profits over the course of years have made it nearly impossible for the Haitian government to provide services for its people. These groups get more funding and have greater capacity than the government. The funding often comes from the United States, the United Nations and other countries and major international agencies. This is becoming more evident after the 2010 earthquake.

According to a 2010 brief by the United States Institute of Peace, the Haitian government has had little chance to develop the human or institutional capacity to deliver services. “The Haitian people have learned to look to NGOs, rather than the government, for provision of essential services,” said the brief.

Mr. Clinton helped broker a $45 million deal between Marriott and Digicel to build a 174-room hotel which is supposed to create 175 jobs. But meanwhile hundreds of tent cities remain.

The thing with the Haitian people is, everybody has taken from them, said Ms. Muhammad “They use Haiti as a way to make money,” she said.

Peacekeepers or mischief makers?

Patrick Muhammad, of Phoenix, Ariz., was born in New York to Haitian parents. He moved back to Haiti as a toddler with his mother, where he was raised until age 15, when he returned to the States.

Mr. Muhammad also has family still in Port-au-Prince and said according to an aunt, there are reports of Haitian children orphaned by the earthquake being removed and “adopted out” to other countries. While also traveling with the Nation of Islam delegation last August, Mr. Muhammad spoke with those displaced by the tragedy. They told him non-profit staffers, coming to “help,” often ate delicious meals but threw away the remainder—sharing nothing with people in need.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was set up by the UN Security Council in 2004 to “ensure a secure and stable environment” and “support the then Transitional Government.” Eight years later over 12,400 uniformed personnel make up MINUSTAH in Haiti.

UN troops have been accused of a plethora of outrageous acts, including sexual assaults of men, women and children, murdering innocent civilians and looting. When cell phone was video released last summer of troops from Uruguay allegedly sexually assaulting 18-year-old Johnny Jean on a MINUSTAH base was circulated, outrage followed.

There have been increased calls by Haitians for the UN forces to leave.

“There is a history of sexual abuse by these so-called ‘peacekeepers.’ There is outrage that these soldiers brought the deadly cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 6,000 Haitians and sickened hundreds of thousands,” said an article written by G. Dunkel posted on the website for International Action Center, founded by former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark.

“‘MINUSTAH’ is a stabilization force in name only,” continued G. Dunkel. “Its real purpose is to maintain domination of Haiti so that U.S. geostrategic and economic interests are maintained.”

The Final Call was referred to Vannina Maestraccia, associate spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, for comment. Ms. Maestraccia forwarded this writer’s questions to Silvie van den Wildenberg, spokesperson for the MINUSTAH. She did not respond.

Ray of light in the darkness

Ms. Muhammad said she finds it difficult to reach out to all of her family still in Haiti because there is so much need. “When people are in that kind of condition reaching out to them is not enough, just to say ‘hello.’ You have to have some kind of avenue, some venue for them. Some kind of help,” she said.

“It’s almost like if you don’t have anything to help them with, reaching out to them is just a constant reminder that you’re doing better and they’re not,” she added. The spirit among Haitians is one of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, said Ms. Muhammad.

Haitians look to Haitians in the Diaspora to come back and help rebuild and provide assistance, Ms. Muhammad continued. She is working along with her family for one of her cousins to relocate from Port-au-Prince to the U.S. so he can attend college.

“With people in Haiti, it’s ‘life goes on.’ They’re used to not getting any aid anyway. The majority of the sentiments of Haitian people is ‘ede tèt ou,’ meaning help yourself. The only person that is going to liberate Haiti and bring democracy to Haiti is the Haitian people,” Ms. Muhammad added.

Ms. Danto expressed her thanks to the Nation of Islam and Min. Farrakhan for purchasing a $150,000 Mobile Max Pure solar water purification system delivered to Haiti in August by the delegation from the United States. The system was placed in a community of voodoo practitioners. Min. Farrakhan has promised two more systems, one for the Christian community, and another for the Muslim community.

Dr. Ron Daniels, president of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and founder of the Haiti Support Project, is leading a delegation of 38 Black and Haitian Americans to Haiti, Jan. 17-21, to further assess the progress of recovery and reconstruction.

The group will also “explore ways to engage people of African descent from the U.S. in the process of building the new Haiti. “As we have observed repeatedly, people of African descent everywhere owe a special debt to Haiti for waging and winning a revolution which became a beacon of hope for Africans at the height of the holocaust of enslavement,” said Dr. Daniels in a Jan. 15 statement.

Mr. Muhammad said the Minister’s visit to Haiti had a deep and profound impact on friends and family that he spoke to. At a Dec. 14 downtown rally in Port-au-Prince, Min. Farrakhan told the Haitian people he felt their pain but assured them they were living at the end of White supremacy.

“Soon Haiti will be free! Soon, and very soon, the enemy will be removed from power not only over your lives here, but he will be removed from power over the people of our planet! So what is your and my responsibility in an hour like this? Ayiti (Haiti) Toma!—This is your land! Everything under this land is your rightful possession!” said Min. Farrakhan.

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