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An Appeal to ASA Members Regarding the Human Disaster in Haiti

January 20, 2010

Dear ASA Members and Colleagues:

Haiti's natural disaster of last week has transmuted into a human disaster of immense magnitude. The earthquake and its aftershocks have not only destroyed most of the country's physical infrastructure, it has also devastated its civil society and governmental institutions. Conditions there are so dire, according to news reports, that distribution of help, health care, food, water, and basic needs of life to the people faces serious challenges.

Sociologists are acting individually as well as collaboratively to collect funds and assist in relief efforts. I am writing to you, as ASA President, to express my gratitude that our community of researchers, students, teachers, and practitioners is contributing to efforts to alleviate human suffering in Haiti.

Many worthy organizations and government entities are working around the clock to help Haitians. Some of these that I want to alert you to are the American Red Cross, Partners in Health, Direct Relief International, and United Nations-related organizations such as UNICEF and CARE. These organizations are presently disseminating medical supplies and assistance to Haiti. Some of these accept donations. The American Anthropological Association is referring its members to the Haitian Studies Association.   If there are any ASA members with special expertise on Haiti and Haitian social issues, I urge them to get in touch with me through the Public Affairs Office of the ASA (attention Lee Herring, pubinfo@asanet.org). Additionally, if anyone has knowledge of the situation with sociology departments at Haitian universities, I would appreciate your contacting the ASA Public Affairs Office. Please also consider drafting Op Ed pieces and letters to the editor, maintaining blogs, and doing media interviews as ways of disseminating sociological knowledge that might help people understand the current situation and to build support for the long-term rebuilding of Haitian society.   Thank you for your concern and help. Watch the ASA website for additional alerts.

Evelyn Nakano Glenn President,

American Sociological Association