An 8.0 magnitude earthquake shook Ica and Pisco, two cities south of Lima, the capital of Peru, on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007. Occurring around 6:40 p.m. local time, the tremors throughout the surrounding area caused rush hour traffic to grind to a halt and had people racing from trembling buildings and onto the streets.
Approximately 500 people were killed and up to 1,000 more were injured. To make matters worse, the area continued to be hit with aftershocks, some at a 6.0 magnitude, in the following weeks.
Students at the College may ask themselves what a natural disaster occurring in a country 3,000 miles away has to do with them or think that they cannot do anything to help, but Uni?n Latina disagrees.
Uni?n Latina, an organization promoting unity within the Latino student body and the campus community, thinks this terrible tragedy concerns everyone.
Eliana Reyes, senior communication studies major and president of Uni?n Latina, said via e-mail, “It (is) an important cause in our community and should not go unnoticed. We believe that as citizens of this country and this campus it is our role to serve and help others regardless of race or color.”
For the next month, Uni?n Latina will be collecting from club members, friends, family members and other organizations toward its goal to donate at least $1,000 to victims through the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), an international humanitarian non-profit organization. This organization provides food, water, clothing, tents and medical relief to the thousands of people displaced by this tragedy.
“During the month we will have tables with information and donation jars,” Reyes said. “There are more activities yet to be planned, but the majority of money will come from letter donations.”
With thousands of homeless families living in the streets and children missing weeks of education because of ruined homes and schools, every dollar counts. Reyes believes that with the support of the campus, Uni?n Latina can raise over its goal of $1,000 in the next month.
“Everyone should be part of this,” Reyes said. “We can’t feel the pain of these people because we were not there to experience it, but we have a responsibility to them. It does not matter if you are Latino or not, people are people and deserve the help. We need to show them the solidarity of our school.”
Some clubs that have already expressed interest in participating are Lambda Sigma Upsilon, Gospel Choir Ministries and Chi Upsilon Sigma. If you or your club would like to help fundraise, simply donate $15 to Uni?n Latina by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and they will send you a letter to send to your friends and family urging them to donate and support this cause. You can also write a check to Peru Earthquake Relief and drop it off in the Uni?n Latina mailbox on the second floor of Brower Student Center. If you would like to know more about CARE’s mission, you can visit them on the Web at CARE.org.