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Newark Puerto Rican Leaders Help Fellow Haitian Community In Time of Need

NEWARK, NJ — A cross-city solidarity between Newark’s Puerto Rican and Haitian communities has been forged over the years through helping one another in times of need, a partnership that one Newark resident and Haitian-American, Barbette Lherisson, knows she can rely on.

As a member of NJ for Haiti, an Elizabeth-based outreach organization that provides support to the Caribbean island, Lherisson said that when a 7.2-magnitude earthquake earlier this year rocked the country of Haiti and was immediately followed up by torrential rainfall from Tropical Storm Grace, a coalition of Newark’s Puerto Rican political leaders stepped up.

That support, she said, came particularly from Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz and North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr. Following the devastation in Haiti, the elected officials immediately reached out to Lherisson to donate funds, medical relief, and supplies to NJ for Haiti.

“What the Latin coalition is doing is helping to feed so many children and adults who are going day-by-day without medical support, food and essentials,” Lherisson told TAPinto Newark.

When the earthquake hit, the havoc resulted in the deaths of more than 2,000 people and 12,000-plus injured. These numbers were further exacerbated by the wake of Tropical Storm Grace, leaving much of the country’s population in dire need of medical support, shelter and other necessities.

Turning to Sen. Ruiz and Ramos for assistance, Lherisson said the two elected officials immediately lent a hand. Between the senator and councilman, a number of goods, resources and funds were collected to assist NJ for Haiti’s relief efforts.

These efforts echoed back to 2017 when Lherisson helped raise funds and a number of goods and resources for Puerto Rico after a wave of devastation brought by Hurricane Maria swept across the country.

As Newark area officials coordinated relief efforts to assist the native islanders, Ramos and Ruiz said Lherisson was quick to step up.

“When we had Hurricane Maria affect the island of Puerto Rico, we were fortunate to work with Barbette to get support to the island,” Ramos told TAPinto Newark. “I feel for so many family members who live here in the states that have relatives back home. There’s so much uncertainty. It’s tough for them and just having conversations with them. That’s why I thought it was a good idea to help out in whatever way we could with Barbette.”

“When she reached out to us for this initiative, we all said we would contribute to the cause,” said Ruiz. “Like when we had fundraisers for Puerto Rico post-hurricane, it was a no-brainer for all of us to come together to do a small thing that shows a big message that here in Newark we are thinking about our friends abroad.”

Knowing how vulnerable natural disasters can leave residents in the Caribbean, Lherisson said it has become a part of her DNA to give back whether it’s to her own native country or a neighboring island.

“That’s what we do,” she said. “We stand together. We are a part of the community.”

Founded in 2010 by a number of Haitian community leaders, elected officials, nonprofit organizations, and government and faith-based agencies, NJ for Haiti is led by Stanley Neron, a Haitian-American and Elizabeth Public Schools Board of Education member, and Eliezer Marcellus, the dean at Rutgers University-Camden.

NJ for Haiti was formed in response to raising funds and awareness for the victims of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked the country in 2010. The United Way of Greater Union County, a nonprofit community outreach organization, serves as the fiscal agent for NJ for Haiti.

NJ for Haiti has since hosted annual missionary trips with various organizations around New Jersey to bring food and resources to the country.

Now, Lherisson is calling on the community to contribute in any way it can.

"Haiti is in much need of medical supplies, shelter and financial resources and is calling on everyone's support to help the people of Haiti," she said.

To learn how to get involved or donate to NJ for Haiti, visit

This article was written by TOM WIEDMANN and was originally posted here


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