NBLSA International Relations Committee 2008 Ralph Bunche Building Bridges Trip -- Port-au-Prince Haiti - Day 1 Mar 15 2:14 AM
On Friday March 14, 2008, students from BLSA chapters around the country visited Port au Prince, Haiti.
The delegation of students consisted of:
Michelle Augustine, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Sheryl Montour, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Michael Leslie, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Natalia Ventsko, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Elizabeth Alston, Southern Methodist University
Damion Blair, University of Windsor and Detroit Mercy
Diana Dessources, Touro Law New York
Edwina King, University of Windsor and Detroit Mercy
Uchechi Anyanwu, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Monique, Howard University School of Law
Nashelle, Howard University School of Law
Jose Massingue, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Askala Harris, Loyola University New Orleans Business School
Eddie Koen, Samford University, Cumberland School of Law
Jennifer Charlot, Columbia University alumni
Marlynne Bidos, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Jessica Rucker, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Christa Forman, Howard University School of Law
A delegation of 20 NBLSA members lead by NBLSA International Relations Chair, Michelle Augustine, met with Rock Cadet the Doyen, at the Palais de Justice in Port au Prince, Haiti. The Doyen explained to the visiting group that his position was essentially that of chief prosecutor for Port au Prince. He also went into great detail about the daily activities of his position, and elaborated on the finer points of the differences between common and civil law. After meeting with the Doyen, the students went on a walking tour of downtown Port au Prince. Among the sites visited were the Presidential Palace and the National Museum of Haiti. Later in the day the group drove by the house of former President Aristide, made a trip to visit local artists and then sat down to eat Haitian delicacies at a popular local restaurant, Medaille.
In the evening, the group had the pleasure of meeting with renowned human rights attorney Mario Joseph. Mr. Joseph took time out of his busy schedule to share with the group information about cases that had helped him to develop a reputation for being a highly competent and vocal advocate of the poor and disadvantaged of his native Haiti. Mr. Joseph elaborated on his professional history. He explained how he came to practice human rights law and over the course of the discussion, he reiterated several times the need for social consciousness in the practice of law. Mr. Joseph ended his talk by encouraging everyone present to be effective and efficient advocates for their clients and he expressed a need for assistance with the very important work that he does. Tomorrow the delegation will visit the Cite Soleil, an area of Haiti which was at one time considered to be the worst slum in the northern hemisphere. Over the past year Cite Soleil has made great improvements and the residents have made an effort to improve the neighborhood. NBLSA members will be donating soccer equipment, school supplies, and money to Pax Christi, a group dedicated to helping children break out of the vicious cycle of violence and poverty for which the Cite Soleil is known.