By RON FANFAIR
The Town of Ajax presented a cheque to Haiti’s honorary Consul General Dr. Eric Pierre at a Black History Month celebration last Saturday.
Councilors joined Cultural Expressions Art Galley owner Esther Forde, one of the event’s organizers, in handing over the $9,700 financial donation to Pierre in the wake of last month’s devastating earthquake that left over 210,000 Haitians dead and millions homeless and displaced.
The contribution included a $6,000 corporate donation.
“The response from Canadians has been exceptional and I would like to thank you for this,” said Pierre. “Haiti, in its darkest moment, is the focus of friendship without borders and you are part of that global community that has shown so much love and compassion.
“As Haitians, we are all mourners because we have all lost someone in the tragedy and it’s comforting to know that you are mourning with us, sharing our pain and doing whatever you can in your own communities to generously donate money. There are so many needs right now, so every little bit helps. Let your imagination go wild and think about what you can do to assist Haiti.”
While welcoming international help, Pierre said Haitians should be allowed to decide how their country is rebuilt.
“It doesn’t matter how powerful or generous countries are, Haitians must be in control of their destiny,” he added.
This is the first time that a Black History Month event has been celebrated in the Ajax Town Hall council chambers.
“I think it’s significant that it is being held in the chambers because it represents the tax-paying constituents,” said Ajax’s first Black councilor, Renrick Ashby, who is preparing to run again in this October’s municipal elections. “The face of this town has changed a lot in the past few years, but we can’t be just content with that. We have to take the next step in terms of volunteering and participation. When you do that, you are then fully part of the community and not just a homeowner or town resident.”
The celebration included poetry reading, art exhibits, a community display and interactive games.