Who Are We?
The Haiti Solidarity Network of the North East (HSNNE) is a New Jersey based 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The organization was founded in 1994 by Father Jack Martin, and soon later joined by Father Bill Crum and Father Eugene Squeo. After returning from a Pax Christi delegation in Haiti, Father Jack felt the need for him to remain involved in the struggle faced by poor people of Haiti. Founded on the principle of SOLIDARITY with the people in Haiti through prayer and meetings, HSNNE right from birth has responded and provided assistance to emergency recovery in Haiti. Through the years, Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast has been front and center on fights against social, political and economical injustices towards the people of Haiti.
HSNNE remains committed to informing itself and others about Haiti and its rich culture. HSNNE is also dedicated to publicizing accurate information about Haiti. Through its Coady Haiti Movement Program, HSNNE since 2012 has engaged in financial support of the community and fosters self-sufficiency projects in various parts of Haiti. In the same form of solidarity, HSNNE has and will continue to join forces and/or support other organizations that support the struggle of our Haitian brothers and sisters in Haiti and abroad.
Through respectful, non-violent dialogues and togetherness, Haiti will prosper…
Haiti Solidarity Network of the North East, known affectionately as HSNNE, came to be in 1993, after a Pax Christi delegation traveled to Haiti in support of an infant democracy and democratically elected president. Father Jack Martin was one of the travelers and returned home recognizing the need of the Haitian people for support and solidarity in their struggle for human rights and freedom. With the help of Father Gene Squeo, Bill Crum and others, they began to meet on a regular basis to keep the commitment to Haiti alive. Over the next few years, HSNNE became a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, initiated a newsletter called “Kenbe Fèm” and held regular meetings attended by a growing membership. The group focused on current issues affecting Haiti and visits to Haiti by members and others to learn about needs and provide help when possible.
In 1998, Father Joe Towle, MM, asked Father Jack and HSNNE member, Normand Varrieur, to help produce a video documentary in the Maryknoll Series on Children of the World, featuring a teen age girl in Marigot, Haiti.
In 1999, Pax Christi awarded the Dorothy Day Peace Award to Father Jack and HSNNE.
In 2000, Georgette Delinois became president, succeeding Fr. Jack. Normand Varrieur initiated a liaison with a Catholic Law School in Jeremie called Ecole Superieure Catholique de Droit de Jeremie, ESCDROJ, which was founded by Bishop Willy Romelus to prepare lawyers able to build and function in a government under the rule of law. Fr. Gene and HSNNE member, Judy Reilly, worked to establish a relationship between ESCDROJ and Seton Hall Law School, which has grown into collaboration between the schools and the development of the Haiti Rule of Law Project at Seton Hall. At the tenth anniversary graduation of ESCDROJ
in 2006, Fr. Gene and Judy were honored as Godparents of the first graduating class.
Members studied and chose, as one focus of attention, deforestation in Haiti. The effort was advanced by the groundbreaking and diligent work of HSNNE member, Gene Herrington. Gene’s work formed a basis for our early support of reforestation efforts by the Religious of Jesus and Mary in Gros Morne, and our ongoing support of an agronomy project in Vallieres, where OLM, Park Ridge , NJ, was expanding twinning outreach.
HSNNE supports and collaborates with the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas (PTPA), formerly known as the Haiti Parish Twinning Program, founded by Theresa Patterson and Harry Hosey out of their Catholic parish in Nashville, Tennessee. Through the efforts of members Tonie Malone, Father Jack and Normand, twinning relationships were established between several New Jersey Catholic parishes and parishes in Haiti. Among them are St. Joseph’s, Keyport, twinned with a parish in Pignon; St. Catherine’s, Mountain Lakes, twinned with a parish in Dame Marie; Our Lady of Mercy, Park Ridge, twinned with a parish in Vallieres; Our Lady of the Lakes, Sparta, twinned with a parish in Acul du Nord; Presentation Church, Upper Saddle River, twinned with a parish in Cavaillon; Most Blessed Sacrament, Franklin Lakes, twinned with a parish in Bodmè de Limonade; St. Joseph’s, Lincoln Park, twinned with a parish in Grand Vincent and St. Patrick’s/Assumption, All Saints, Jersey City, twinned with a parish in Jacmel. Medical missions, scholarship programs, micro-credit programs and the organization of community peasant groups have flourished in these parish-twinning relationships. Members, Dr. Sue Morrison (medical missions), Tonie Malone (micro-credit and scholarships), Clauvice St. Hilaire (peasant group organization), Judy Reilly (micro-credit and scholarships) and Joe Parlapiano (scholarships and education) have worked long and hard in their Haitian twin communities.
Following the coup d’etat in Haiti in 2004, HSNNE members undertook an effort to advocate for democracy and justice in Haiti, contacting and visiting our elected government representatives and speaking to members of the public concerning the continuing human rights struggles in our beloved land.
Board members, Georgette Delinois, Dieudonne Bazile and Clauvice St. Hilaire, acted as translators and facilitators on many parish twinning and HSNNE missions. Board member, Sister Kay Coll, served as a staff member of Hospice St. Joseph’s in Port-au-Prince. Member, Sister Carol Ann Lockwood, ministered in Gros Morne with the Monfortain Fathers and the Religious of Jesus and Mary. Member, Pierre Moreau, is a Bureau of Immigration Affairs Accredited Representative, working for Catholic Charities in Newark, representing many immigrants in court proceedings.
On April 19, 2008, Fr. Gene received the Pax Christi NJ Dorothy Day Peacemaker of the Year Award for 2007.
HSNNE has supported and worked with other groups and people in solidarity with the Haitian people, such as Guy Antoine- Windows on Haiti.com, Brian Concannon- Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Mario Joseph- Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, Paul Farmer- Partners In Health, Sisters Patricia Dillon, Jackie Picard and Vivian Patenaud- Religious of Jesus and Mary, Evel Fanfan- AUMOHD, Ninaj Raoul- Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, Movimiento De Mujeres Dominico-Haitiana, NYU School of Law Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Hands Together for Haiti, and the Visitation Hospital Foundation in Ti Riviere de Nippes, Haiti.