Haiti Remembered

by Catherine Angst

Today Jacques Pierre releases an artistic memorial video honoring the victims and survivors of the January 12th, 2010 Haitian earthquake. Pierre is the Haitian Creole lecturer at Duke University’s Department of Romance Studies and the co-director of Duke’s Haiti Lab. Pierre was born in Cap-Haitian, Haiti.

Seven years ago, Haiti experienced a devastating earthquake that took 230,000 lives and injured 300,000 people. Many countries from the around the world showed solidarity with Haiti during this catastrophic moment. Haiti has made substantial strides toward recovery since 2010. Pierre wants to keep the memory of the victims alive.

In 2015, Pierre coordinated a special commemorative service for the fifth anniversary of the earthquake at Duke Chapel. “The service was a symbolic way to grieve but, I didn’t want people to forget about the loss experienced by the Haitian people,” said Pierre. Shortly after that commemorative service, Pierre began what would develop into this digital memorial.

Over the past two years, Pierre has collected words of solace from around the world and many universities. People have shared their messages of love and support across this book’s pages.

Pierre says, “My hope is this video becomes a collective memory. I would like everyone to share their wishes and hopes for rebuilding Haiti.” Pierre plans to give the memorial book to Haiti which is in the process of constructing an earthquake memorial site.