It is with great honor that I greet you as the 2020-2022 Chairwoman for HAPC. I give thanks to the leaders of this organization who kept the bus going in many challenging times! A special thanks to the founders of HAPC for having the foresight to recognize the need to create a professional organization focusing on, “Increasing access and/or availability of health, legal, academic, and social services.” The founders recognized that in order to accomplish this mission requires a coalition. I have decided to focus my message on such a theme. A coalition is “an organization of diverse interest groups that join their human and material resources to produce a specific change that they are unable to deliver as independent individuals or separate organizations.”
The Power of a Coalition
- Strengthen the core program power base, enhancing your potential to gain attention and affect change.
- Provide talents, skills, and resources that can be shared to achieve program goals.
- Propel a strategic and concerted resolution of the problem.
- Allow coalition members to own, embrace, and commit to the program goals and enroll others in their particular organizations to personally commit to them.
- Provide a forum for open discussion and mutual support of a common goal, with a ripple effect for the organizations that the coalition members represent.
- Reduce the chance of duplicating efforts, eliminate competition for resources, and improve communication within the community.
- Advocate for community environment and policies that support the Haitian communities.
Coalition building is an art. More than anything else, it requires individuals and groups to be willing to rise above their feelings of separateness and to actively collaborate in a spirit of mutual understanding, patience, and flexibility. What we have and need to build upon within HAPC is such a union! A union of professional organizations dedicated to educate, elevate and empower the Haitian communities in the U.S. while always having an eye towards the development of Haiti.
The pandemics of COVID-19 and Racial injustices in this country sheds light on the many forms of disparities existing in our communities in areas of health, mental health, education, economic, social services, legal/immigration, communication, to name a few. These are all interconnected areas that requires strategic efforts for transformation change. Tackling these tasks demand communication, coordination, collaboration skills, and a high level of participation and commitment.
I believe in the unwavering force that a coalition of such dedicated, committed and passionate professionals can have in our communities here in the U.S. and in Haiti. As we set to celebrate HAPC’s 20th Anniversary in 2021, I look forward to the work ahead with our existing members and the members that we will be welcoming on the bus!
Marie Guerda Nicolas, PhD