NAACP reaching out to Haitian community

LIMA — According to Lima NAACP President Ron Fails, talk is what you do when you do not want to do something.

That was the message he relayed in the Lima NAACP press conference Saturday as he shared the organization’s ideas to support the city’s growing Haitian population.

“It certainly doesn’t feel good when you’re talking of a person’s need instead of helping them meet the need,” he said.

Fails announced four points to address the rights of immigrants to Lima and help them become a part of the community: education on housing discrimination, education on their rights, cultural training and church connections.

“They don’t have connections and they want them so we’ve invited them to our church gatherings and the outcomes have been very positive,” he said. “We even have Haitians who are part of our recovery program, not because they are dealing with substance abuse, but because they are homeless and we embrace them to help them get on their feet. I believe from a biblical standpoint, to love one another is the commandment of God and loving is helping. Otherwise it’s not love. So we’re trying to follow the scripture and invite other faith-based institutions to do the same.”

Henry Huston said his neighbors are Haitian and that a lot of the problems could be solved by communication.

“I think the biggest issue is learning to live the way Americans live in this country,” he said. “They have a good demeanor and are kind people, but I don’t think they have clicked into the way the culture is.”

“It is for that reason that we are starting classes to help them understand cultural differences,” Fails said. “Even with points like that, notice this is not negative and when you address the issues, they comply. It’s like anyone that doesn’t know what to do until they know what to do.”

Fails said, above all, ugliness helps no one.

“When people need help, you don’t need people to hurt you,” he said. “Hurting is the easiest thing to do. And I challenge myself and everybody else because one day, we all needed help and we received it. We must not forget that.”

The Lima NAACP will hold classes for anyone in the Haitian community twice a week starting Saturday afternoons and depending on work schedules.

Anyone interested in participating in the classes or other volunteering can call a hotline at 419-516-1122.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.