[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

17399: (Hermantin) Miami Herald- A letter from Bruce Weber (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Posted on Sun, Nov. 23, 2003

A letter from Bruce Weber

Everyone was put on this earth to have a neighbor, even in the wilderness of
Alaska, where your neighbors might be a family of polar bears or a park
ranger. Would you just sit and relax watching the news or reading a
newspaper about your neighbors who had left their country - about which all
they could remember were torture, hunger and dictatorship?

These neighbors risked their lives, packed in unsafe boats, to come to a new
neighborhood where their children would have a chance to be educated and
grow. Would you not welcome them when they first moved to America with a
plant or a pie? Would you not want your children to share their basketballs,
skateboards and comic books with them? Would you not want to help them find
some work, since they are more than willing to work hard? But the answer is
no! Your neighbors arrived here in your backyard -- only to be separated
from each other -- mothers from sons, fathers from daughters. They are read
their rights in English, when they only speak Creole. Some are forced into
hotel rooms or detention centers, where their children never know the simple
pleasures of fresh air and a playground.

I learned this after seeing Jonathan Demme's film The Agronomist. It's a
movie about the founder of the Free Radio Station, Jean Leopold Dominique,
and his wife, Michele Montas. In this film, Jonathan showed a man who
bravely spoke out to inform his neighbors of their rights not just as
citizens, but of their rights as human beings. He was murdered in Haiti, a
crime that went unpunished. After seeing the film, I asked Jonathan, ''What
can I do?'' He said, ''Try to get into the detention center here in Miami;
try to show your neighbors with your camera what is happening right next
door!'' So I enlisted six strong, determined and intelligent neighbors --
Nan Bush; Behna Gardner; Abbey Gardner; Marleine Bastien, executive director
of Haitian Women of Miami; Candace Jean from Catholic Charities Legal
Services, and Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant
Advisory Center, to reach out in the only way I know -- with my camera.

I thought about my own family. They came here from Russia, Germany and
England, and when they first saw that beautiful mirage of a giant woman
carrying a torch in New York Harbor, they desired nothing else but to call
this place home. So I visited Miami's Haitian neighborhoods, the churches,
the streets and the backyards. I was welcomed with kindness and trust, and
these photographs are my ''thank-you notes'' but also my cry for help to all
my other neighbors to see, hear and act upon what it simply means to be a
good neighbor and teach this new world the once-upon-a-time beauty of the
words ``Let Freedom Ring.''

-- Bruce Weber

>From the hottest toys to tips on keeping fit this winter, you’ll find a
range of helpful holiday info here.