Dear Parents and Guardians,

There is no doubt that the disaster that has befallen our family members in Haiti has, in one way or another, affected most peoples around the world. I say most because there are those, particularly in the United States, who, in their hatred for President Obama have extended that hatred towards all people of color in general, and Haiti in particular. In spite of that hatred, the world has come to the aid of Haiti. However, there is more to do because the disaster did not happen two weeks ago. It started when the very first captured Africans arrived on the island of Hispaniola. Not wanting to remain enslaved forever, the enslaved Africans fought a long and bitter war to free themselves form French, British and later American oppression. This part of our history is hard to come by if you happen to get your information mainly from television. However, there are several sources to get the true history of Haiti. In fact, Haiti’s victory over the French impacted later freedom fighters around the world. The defeat of France by Haiti served as a catalyst for all enslaved and colonized peoples to fight for their freedom. Did you know that Haiti has direct connection to the founding of Chicago? Yes, indeed. Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable started his journey to establish his trading post in Illinois from Haiti! Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable, the FOUNDER of Chicago was born in San Marc, Haiti, in 1745!

Long after the media attention is diverted elsewhere, Haiti will still need our help. We at Woodlawn are doing our part to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti. We have set up a “Help Haiti Now” bottle to collect change to save lives in Haiti. I am proud to say that our children have been nothing short of amazing. They are contributing their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to help Haiti. Indeed some have even dropped dollars and five dollars. One second grade student, Jakyla, brought her whole piggy bank and emptied it into the “Help Haiti Now” bottle! Thank you Jakyla!

We are asking that you continue to encourage our children to be mindful of the unfortunate children of Haiti and their families. Please use this opportunity to teach our children about the history of Haiti and the lessons of giving back. Use all available resources, particularly the local libraries, to learn about Haiti. We are looking for Haiti nationals to come and speak to our children about the history of Haiti and how it is linked to the African American experience. If you know of such a person please let us know and we will make every effort to bring them to Woodlawn. Please stop by the office and drop off your change to save lives in Haiti when you drop off your child. As always we appreciate your support.

Asante Sana!

Baba Kweku