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Queens Chronicle

Queens continues to help out Haiti

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Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2010 12:00 am

Fundraisers, help for immigrants facing deportation

The crisis in Haiti continues, and Queens continues to respond with a variety of fundraising efforts and other assistance, more than two weeks after the earthquake that shattered the country.

A benefit concert featuring several music and dance troupes, from the American Ballet Theater to Science Skills Center High School’s Jow-ile-bailar Dance Company will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, located at 35-12 35 Ave. in Astoria. Tickets can be had at the box office, where the suggested donation is $20 for adults and $10 for students. The proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders.

The First Baptist Church of East Elmhurst will hold a Community Relief For Haiti Rally on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the church, located at 100-10 Astoria Blvd. The Rev. Al Sharpton will be the guest speaker. The event is a community-based fundraiser, which the Corona East Elmhurst Clergy Association will be a part of. For details, send an email to thefirstbaptistchurch@gmail.com or call (718) 446-0200.

A Humanity for Haiti Inspirational Concert will be held at York College Performing Arts Center, located at 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. in Jamaica, at 4 p.m. on Jan. 30.For more information, contact Queens Clergy United for Community Empowerment at (718) 297.0720.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) is assisting Haitians in the United States who need help applying for Temporary Protected Status, which is being offered for 18 months.

Beginning on Thursday, Feb. 4, in partnership with City University of New York, an attorney will be available in Meeks’ district office to assist constituents with the application process at no cost.The attorney will see applicants each Thursday in the month of February, by appointment only, between the hours of 9 a.m. and -5 p.m. at 153-01 Jamaica Ave., 2nd Floor.

Meeks is also collaborating with CUNY to host an application day to assist Haitian nationals, on Feb. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. That event will be held at York College’s Academic Building, located at 94 - 20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. in Jamaica.

“Lifting the threat of deportation brings much needed relief to thousands of Haitians in my district and throughout New York City who can now focus on helping their loved ones back in Haiti,” Meeks said.

Meanwhile U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is urging Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to press the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) for a debt moratorium for Haiti.

The nation faces approximately $429 million of external debt to the IDB, according to Gillibrand, as well as other debt obligations to the International Monetary Fund and bilateral debt to Venezuela and Taiwan totaling almost $900 million.

While the U.S. has established a trust fund to help service Haiti’s debt, it only addressed a fraction of the country’s total outstanding external debt, she said. Since outstanding debt owed to the IDB is by far the largest amount, Gillibrand believes that the proposed IDB moratorium would go a long way to lessen the financial burden on Haiti during its time of extreme suffering.

“In my view, Haiti's limited resources should be directed at recovery, not repayment for the foreseeable future,” Gillibrand said in a letter to Geithner.

Welcome to the discussion.