Destination Salem Blog
They're pronounced "poonch-key!"
It is, once again, my favorite time of year. It is Fat Tuesday. The beginning of Lent, when people around the world are giving things up. Not here, though. We're adding to our diet. We are adding delicious, double-rolled, freshly filled, some with fresh whipped cream, Paczkis. Just delicious.
Paczkis at Coffee Time Bake Shop are only here until Easter, so I recommend stopping by the bakery on Bridge Street for your fresh, hand-rolled treats. Raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, cherry, prune, and glazed pazckis are available without whipped cream, and if you want to really indulge, grab a raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, or cherry real cream paczki. They're only here for six more weeks!
Probably not. The news may frequently focus on the negative, but a lot of people do a lot of good things to make our world a better place. Often, such good deeds go unnoticed. The Salem Award Foundation would like to tell you about two men who have surely earned a crown in heaven. Meet Brian Concannon and Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Haiti (Mario) and its sister organization here in the US, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (Brian).
Both attorneys, they have spent the last 20 years fighting poverty and instability in Haiti by working with grassroots organizations, challenging the legal system to live up to its obligation to hold wrongdoers accountable and provide justice for all Haitians. They use their knowledge of the law in combination with support and advocacy for disenfranchised individuals and groups like these:
- Victims of rape and women’s groups;
- LGBT groups;
- Wrongfully convicted or detained prisoners;
- Those illegally evicted from internal displacement camps following the 2010 earthquake; and
- Victims of political persecution by past dictatorships and the current government
- The US to implement more just aid, trade and immigration policies towards Haiti;
- The UN to compensate victims of the 2010 cholera outbreak linked to a sewage leak at a U.N. base housing Nepalese peacekeepers; and
- Haiti’s law enforcement and judicial systems to eliminate corruption.
Mario, born into poverty in a town with no secondary school and where most people are illiterate is, today, Haiti’s most prominent human rights lawyer. Brian, Boston born, eschewed a lucrative corporate law career to work in Haiti, where he saw the failures own country’s aid, trade and immigration policies and the instability and poverty to which they contributed. Following the overthrow of Haiti’s elected government in 2004, he returned to the US and established the IJDH as a supporting organization for the BAI.
They pay a price. They’re not rich, and the work is endless. Mario faces death threats daily. But at 4 pm on March 23rd, they will receive the 2014 Salem Award at the Hawthorne Hotel. Come celebrate and meet these unsung heroes in person—the ceremony is free to Salem residents and SSU students.
Learn more and register at salemaward.org.
Posted by guest blogger Shelby Hypes for the Salem Award Foundation.