From the Farmworkers Association of Florida - Apopka
In response to the humanitarian crisis on the U.S. border with Mexico at Del Rio, Texas, where an estimated 10,000 Haitian refugees were encamped out in the open, a coalition of local organizations, including the Farmworkers Association of Florida (FWAF) in Apopka, as well as many individuals have launched an effort to help assess and address the situation and to develop a plan of action.
"Our hearts break for the thousands of Haitian men, women and their children who are suffering from lack of the basics of food, water, shelter and health care along the border in Del Rio, Texas," said Jeannie Economos,. "Many have family here in the U.S., and just want a chance to be reunited, to have a life for themselves and their families and to breathe free. With so many Haitian farmworkers in our own Apopka community, we are called upon to act."
Nattacha Wyllie, of the Haitian American Art Network, Inc., has organized a team of allies that is traveling to Del Rio, where they are hoping to help some of the refugees find temporary housing, and to both assess and document conditions on the ground there.
The goal of the trip is to find and identify those refugees with families in Florida, and,
importantly in Central Florida, who hope to reunite with their families in our area. The need for transportation and lodging to make the trip from Texas to Florida is, in some cases, all that is preventing the reunions. A coalition of organizations is launching an awareness and fundraising campaign to help both the individuals, and families, and to relieve the suffering and crisis at the border. The group anticipates needing supplies, such as food, water, diapers and other baby items, as well as, legal assistance and mental health support for those who make the long journey. Long-term, there will be the need for housing and safe, secure conditions.
“We strongly support the efforts of our Congresswoman Val Demings, co-chair of the House
Haiti Caucus, who is leading efforts to end this crisis at the border and has called for immediate actions to address the concerns of the Haitian Diaspora,” said Marie Francois, executive director of the Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention.
All those who are concerned about this humanitarian crisis are urged to respond by donating requested items or money to cover costs to the Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention, 1685 Lee Road, Suite 200, Winter Park FL, 32789.
You can also make a call to Mears Transportation to encourage them in their interest in providing transportation for those identified refugees from Texas to Central Florida. For questions, or further information, please contact: Nattacha Wyllie, 321-240-9812.
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