New Cartoon + Fund for Haitian Refugees
So I finally did a cartoon ("Sink or Swim") about the double standard regarding Haitian and Cuban refugees who manage to land in Florida (see parts 1, 2, 3, & 4, but realize a few of the links are probably expired). But I'm really dissatisfied and I plan to redraw it. I struggled with it for a whole day, trying to come up with a simple image to represent the issue, but none of the metaphors I came up with (Chutes and Ladders? Monopoly? No no no no) really fit the situation. In retrospect I realize this is because the situation is way too complicated to be adequately explained in one panel, which is why I ended up with that silly little explanatory box in the corner and why I plan to redraw it in my more typical multi-panel style. Stay tuned...
Until then, if you can afford it, please make a donation to help the hundreds of Haitian refugees currently being detained by the INS for the crime of... not being Cuban. (Cuban refugees are allowed to live in Little Havana while preparing their asylum appeals, but after 9/11 Bush decided that Haitians need to be locked up). The National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) is one of the only organizations paying attention to the refugees now that they're not "current news", and they've just set up the Haitian Legal Aid Fund (HALAF). From their press release:
Televised scenes of Haitians scrambling overboard in a desperate attempt to reach Miami's shores last month won't be easily forgotten. But the plight of these Haitians currently in INS detention will be unless we do something immediately.
Thanks to a group of concerned leaders from the Haitian, legal, business, and religious communities, we are proud to announce the creation of the Haitian Legal Aid Fund (HALAF). The Fund has a two-fold agenda. One is a coordinated effort to ensure that all Haitian detainees obtain free legal representation. A list of pro bono lawyers from various law firms, bars and nonprofit legal advocacy agencies is already in formation.
The second objective is to attend to the financial needs of the detainees. Because we are working to provide all the detainees with pro bono services, HALAF funds will not be used to hire lawyers but rather to respond to other immediate needs of the detainees, such as bonds, filing fees or other related expenses... All money donated to the fund will be used directly to support the detainees.
Concerned individuals, foundations, law firms and other interested parties can show their support by offering pro bono legal services and/or making donations to the Haitian Legal Aid Fund. To volunteer your services or for more information, call 212-337-0005 ext. 20. Tax deductible donations can be made online at www.nchr.org or by check, made out to NCHR, and mailed to:
275 7th Ave., 17th Floor
New York, NY 10001
There is no question that now is the time to act. For far too long Haitians have been victims of an unjust and illegal immigration policy. We can do something to change that. With support from immigrant advocates and ordinary citizens around the country, we will make our voices heard.
Hear, hear. Every little bit helps...