have come from and how do you hold onto it when the tasks at hand seem daunting?
UK: My mom always taught me, in everything you do in life, if you do it with your heart, if you do it with honesty, you will be a success. She taught me as a kid, “if you are hungry, don’t ever go to your next-door neighbor and ask for food. Put a grain of salt under your tongue and you’ll be fine for the whole day.” Self-reliance. Don’t sell yourself short. To stand for something, you can’t let anybody buy you. She taught me character. She’s truly my hero, and for the most part, this foundation is because of her.
As a foundation, Edeyo is an apolitical organization. We are a group of young women and men with a lot of character and unequivocal hope in a new and better Haiti - an equitable and just country, especially for the voiceless and underprivileged children. We’re going to keep on fighting for these children so they can have a healthy life and education and a future. When you do right, everything else is going to work itself out; we don’t have to try to make it happen by compromising our integrity and core values.
EBONY: What do you think it will take for more people to get involved in the work that’s being done in Haiti?
UK: People have to see it. What you call home, it can be just a tent for them. Of the 300 children in my school, I don’t think more than 10 of them have a home like we call a home here. It could just be a cot to sleep on. You have to see it with your own two eyes.
Haiti is the first independent Black country in the world and that’s something all Black people can be proud of. But we need more help and support from the African American community. I’m making an appeal to all African Americans to get more involved with what’s happening to the people of Haiti. We respect Sean Penn and all of these other folks’ work in Haiti, but we want some leaders from the African American community and every day people to get involved and see how our stories connect.
We are planning on going back to Haiti before the school year starts in September and would encourage anybody who wants to learn more and experience first-hand what is happening in Haiti and what we are doing there and wants to help to contact us and come with us. It’s not too late.
For tickets to the Edeyo Gives Hope Ball on June 27, or to donate to the organization, visit Edeyo.org.