CSUN’s Hands for Haiti, a benefit concert for those devastated by the Haiti earthquake was held Friday night.
The event, which was held in the Northridge Center of the University Student Union (USU) showcased students and professionals to raise money for the Hope for Haiti Now foundation.
“We’re very impressed, we’re very thankful that we had such a variety of people turn out tonight to really show their support for Haiti,” said Justin Weiss, coordinator of Unified We Serve, one of the event’s sponsors.
Weiss said about 400 people were in the audience including non-CSUN students.
“We had people from community members to CSUN students to even middle school aged children coming so we’re very thankful that everyone came in unification,” Weiss said. “We’re really making a difference not only for our community, but for a larger Haitian community as well.”
The event accepted a minimum of a $10 donation at the door.
Weiss said the estimated amount of money raised is still unclear.
“We’re still working on the numbers, but we really did a great job raising a great deal of money,” Weiss said.
The event featured 11 performances that included rock bands, hip-hop music, poetry, and slide shows as well as 13 presenters that included Allison Kent, USU Board of Directors, the Black Student Union (BSU), CSUN Students for Israel (CSI), Infraternity Council, Residence Halls Association, and The University Corporation (TUC).
“It shows that we care,” said Daniel Garcia, 19, kinesiology major. “There is a lot of people here that show compassion and for the people of Haiti and hopefully we raised enough money to help out.”
The event began with a poem and a slide show, on two screens, showing picturesque photos of Haiti prior to the earthquake that hit last month.
That was followed by a hip-hop performance and an appearance by several members of the BSU.
“We felt the urgency to do something with a common purpose,” said Jonathan “Yoni” Mann, president of CSI presented with a representative from BSU. “We stand here today with one simple message: donate, donate, donate”.
The slide show began with the words “January 12, 2010” and clips of television news networks giving the news of the Haiti earthquake. That was followed by images of injured children, machines picking up debris, houses torn and crumbled down, streets filled with dust and debris, a sky view of the damages, as well as rescue efforts reaching Haitians.
Members of the Matador Involvement Center went onstage and gave statistics of how many people were killed in the Haiti earthquake, reminded the audience of the Northridge earthquake in 1994 and introduced the USU Slam Team, which recited poetry of the Haiti earthquake.
CSUN student Eliza Russell, 19, English literature major said while she enjoyed all of the performances, the LWA (Ladies With Attitude) Step Team was one of her favorites and thought the event was “encouraging”.
“Especially now when everybody is saying our generation doesn’t care,” Russell said. “I think it went well especially when it was people my age doing it, so it was like “wow” and it was decent, it was organized, it well put together so I liked it.”
After the performance of the LWA Step Team Associated Students (A.S.) President Abel Pacheco along with CSUN senators presented a check of $1,000 from A.S. to the George Clooney Foundation.
Pacheco said serving as president was “not only an honor but also a privilege”.
The event ended with everyone both on stage and off holding hands and singing “Lean On Me.”
“I am just very thankful for everyone that came out and really showed their support, their heart, and how much they wanted to help and that meant a lot to us,” Weiss said.
Weiss said the most challenging part of putting together this event was the time frame.
“I think working, doing so much on such a short period of time because of the atrocity happening in Haiti that we had to do something so quick that the normal time of putting an event like this together (is) three, four months, we did in three weeks and that was a challenge,” Weiss said.