Mattapan center helping local Haitians

State Rep. Marie St. Fleur speaking at a Tuesday morning forum at the Boston Foundation. St. Fleur, who was born in Haiti, spoke about the need for Haitian-Americans to have a greater voice in the relief and rebuilding efforts there. State Rep. Marie St. Fleur speaking at a Tuesday morning forum at the Boston Foundation. St. Fleur, who was born in Haiti, spoke about the need for Haitian-Americans to have a greater voice in the relief and rebuilding efforts there.

An emergency resource center set up to assist the families of earthquake victims and survivors has been re-located to the Mattapan branch library on Blue Hill Avenue. The center, coordinated by staff from the union and the Boston Public Health Commission, has been helping Haitian Americans connect to relatives and other services. The new number for the center is 617-593-0363.

The center was initially set up in the Columbia Point headquarters of SEIU 1199, which turned over much of its office space for the effort for the first week after the quake. The operation was moved to Mattapan last Thursday. The library will be open for support services through Saturday, Jan. 30. The Mattapan library is located at 1350 Blue Hill Ave.

•••
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is stepping up yet again for the Haitian cause. SEIU, the largest healthcare workers union in the country - announced today that it is donating $1 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for earthquake relief and recovery efforts in Haiti.

“This tragedy has hit 1199 very close to home. Our union has tens of thousands of members who are of Haitian descent in New York and Boston,” said President of 1199SEIU George Gresham. “We are grateful that organizations like UNICEF are there on the ground, providing life-saving supplies, emergency personnel and equipment, as the number one priority right now is to prevent a second wave of disaster.”
In partnership with UNICEF, the union has also launched a special Haiti relief website at www.wecareforhaiti.org as well as a special toll free Haiti relief hotline number at 1-877-875-6561, to help provide crisis counseling and assistance to anyone affected by the tragedy.

•••
A multicultural coalition of Latino organizations has pulled together a special “Salsa for Haiti” event for this Saturday, Jan. 30 at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in Boston’s South End. The event includes Salsa lessons for beginners and starts at 9 p.m. The center is located at 85 West Newton Street in Boston. A $10 donation is requested at the door.

•••

The Longwood Symphony Orchestra at the New England Conservatory are planning a program called “Symphonic Relief For Haiti: A Global Concert to Benefit Partners In Health” for this Sunday January 31. Artistic Director Jonathan McPhee will conduct the LSO, an orchestra whose membership is comprised mainly of health care professionals representing nearly every medical institution in the city. Featured artists will include NEC faculty Paula Robison and Richard Stoltzman, NEC student
Jean Bernard Cerin and Preparatory student Aurélie Théramène, A Far Cry chamber orchestra, and the Boston Children’s Chorus conducted by Anthony Trecek King. Student musicians from NEC, Longy School of Music, Boston Conservatory, and Boston University will augment the instrumental ensembles.

The concert has already received a $10,000 sponsorship from Partners HealthCare and $10,000 from Tufts Health Plan. Proceeds will benefit the Stand With Haiti initiative of Partners In Health, the non-profit, Boston-based health care organization. The musicians will play works by Bach, Faure, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Tchaikovsky, as well as Albert Schweitzer Portrait by American composer Gene Scheer, which was co-commissioned by LSO and the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and given its world premiere last spring by the LSO. Modeled after Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait, the Scheer work pays homage to the legacy of Dr. Albert Schweitzer whose work as a physician, musician and humanitarian translated idealism into action, eliminating health care inequalities through direct service.

Among the performers are two with Haitian backgrounds: baritone Jean Bernard Cerin, a Master’s degree candidate at the Conservatory whose family survived the Haiti earthquake but is living outside of the home in fear of aftershocks; and 17-year old Haitian-American violinist Aurélie Théramène, a student in Project STEP whose family in Haiti has also been deeply affected
by the disaster. All musicians are donating their time and expertise to this ambitious effort because of their beliefs that music builds human capacity, elevates the soul, and prepares students for lives that enhance the public
good.

All general admission tickets are $25 and available in person at the Jordan
Hall Box Office, 290 Huntington Ave. Boston, online at
http://necmusic.edu/symphonic-relief-haiti, or by phone at 617.585.1260. For 
more information, visit Longwood Symphony at www.longwoodsymphony.org or call 
617-667-1527.