A clown, Insomnia cookies and the #jujuchallenge came together on Locust Walk last week as part of Students Organizing for Liberation’s Ferguson Friday demonstration. The demonstration was a part of SOUL’s larger campaign to raise money for Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
In addition to soliciting donations at Ferguson Fridays, the group is using a social media campaign to raise awareness and encourage donations.
College senior and SOUL co-chair Julius Olalusi said the group wanted to highlight how students, and Americans in general, are largely unaware of how Hurricane Matthew has devastated Haiti.
By the end of their month-long crowdfunding campaign, SOUL hopes to have raised $4,000 to help alleviate the damage Hurricane Matthew has done. Some estimates say that over 1,000 people have died and over 800 have been injured.
“The motivation behind it was the lack of coverage of Hurricane Matthew in relation to Haiti,” said SOUL co-chair and College senior Titus Adkins, who is also an opinion columnist for The Daily Pennsylvanian. “I would say about 80 to 90 percent of what is discussed is related to what happened in America, but not the damage that has happened in Haiti.”
SOUL was able to connect with 2000 Engineering graduate Darnel Degand who is doing work in Haiti with his organization Three Little Flowers. SOUL plans to donate all proceeds raised directly to this organization. SOUL is collecting donations through websites GoFundMe and Venmo and has raised $700 so far.
Olalusi said they wanted to make sure the money was going to the right place after word got out that the Red Cross only managed to build only six houses with half a billion dollars in donations.
“We’re hoping this money can go straight towards youth and anyone directly affected by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti,” Olalusi said.
SOUL is also concerned with re-imagining the story of Haiti, the first black Republic.
“This campaign means a lot to us because of how much Haiti has been mistreated throughout history. There have been so many ways Haiti has been screwed over by countries like France and the United States,” College sophomore and Ferguson Friday chair Mariama Diallo said. “It’s really disheartening to see.”
SOUL is hoping to reach and educate people through social media about how they can donate to relief efforts in Haiti, as well as about the country's history.
“I just want people to know Haiti is more than just poverty and disaster,” College sophomore and SOUL public relations chair Kenja Farquharson said. “But right now, they do need our help and we should help them.”