2012 was a humbling year for mankind. We suffered many collective losses as nations, communities and a society. There were also personal losses that hit close to home. Through these tragedies prayers were made, hands put to work, cries for help answered as we came closer together. 2012 was a year of evolution where we all realized we have to re-evaluate the way we are living, interacting and raising our children. 2012 was the year we took notice of the real meaning of humanity and that we are in danger of losing it in this current reality. Ironically the same events that put into question our humanity are the same ones where stepping up to the plate to help others reaffirmed that it still exists.
This year I made it to Haiti just in time to participate in workshops at the Anne-Marie Morisset Cultural Center a whole week before their annual Christmas party. Founded by my family after the earthquake in honor of my late maternal grandmother, the center is becoming an anchor that is keeping us all embedded in Haiti’s reality, our home community and intertwined as a family. AMM’s 2012 end-of-year activities really mirrored the holiday spirit. Family and friends came together to enrich the lives of children in our communities. It wasn’t just about the grub and gifts, but art projects that encouraged creativity and started cultivating collaborative group work in children who are used to protectively guarding their personal school supplies and whose schools cannot afford the time or supplies for group activities. HIP is partnered and committed to the AMM center as sure as I’m Anne-Marie’s granddaughter.
HIP’s year seems to have been the perfect prelude leading up to laughing with glittered covered faces in Haiti. From the remarkable night of awareness at Gloria Steinem’s NYC home – hosted by John Legend - to highlight and raise funds for the work A Long Walk Home continues to do for rape and domestic abuse survivors to ‘A Night of Fashion, Music and Art - A Benefit to Support Children’s Art Programming in Haiti’. A turning point was joining friends
Maria Zavala and Dawn Tarpinian to help Sandy’s New Jersey victims on the eve of an enlightening series of discussions about Haiti at the Haitian Studies Association conference. Then there was the a nail-biting U.S. electoral season… It is bittersweet that it’s only with passing disaster or event that we see the need for becoming more dutiful to our world, our neighbors and our civic responsibilities. The senseless crimes like the Sandy Hook tragedy in Connecticut and the victims who lost their lives after being pushed in front of NYC trains remind us of how we must embrace our loves and take nothing for granted. The end of the one year leading to the start of the next is when people strive to be the best version of themselves. It is the time to act with kindness, open our hearts and remember what separates us from the other creatures on this earth. Humans are useless if we lose all sense of humanity.
My only resolution for 2013 is to make sure that I live in the spirit of Christmas the whole yearlong: giving my best to others while making myself happy. That last part I had slacked off on last year because I was trying to make others happy, but we can’t give the best of ourselves if we don’t nurture our own well-being and happiness. I think I’m up for that challenge. Are you?