In both Haiti and Canada, Myriam Merlet was well-loved and known as a passionate author, political activist, and feminist who campaigned internationally to end violence against women and girls. Tragically, on Jan. 12, it was the cruelty of nature that killed her when her home in Port-au-Prince collapsed in the Haiti earthquake.
Merlet was 53, and at the time the chief of staff of Haiti’s Ministry for Gender and the Rights of Women. She had come full circle in her career. In the 1970s she fled Haiti and came to Canada to continue her advocacy and to study feminist theory and economics. A decade later, she returned to Haiti after the overthrow of the Duvalier regime.
Recently, at the University of Ottawa Law School, UFCW Canada was the event sponsor of a fundraiser reception for the Myriam Merlet Feminist International Solidarity Camp, a resource, health, and communications centre for women being established near the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Other sponsors included the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law; the Alfie Roberts Institute, Montreal; the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers; the Black Women’s Civic Engagement Network; the Shirley E. Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession; MATCH International; PeaceBuild – Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group; Every Child is Sacred; the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women; and the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre.
The event raised more than $6,000 to carry on the vision and energy that Myriam Merlet brought to her sisters in Haiti, Canada, and around the world.
“It was an honour for UFCW Canada to be a sponsor of this event,” says Nancy Quiring, chair of the UFCW Canada National Council Women’s Advisory Committee.
“It accomplished two very important goals. By raising funds for the Solidarity Camp, we are continuing to help the people of Haiti in their time of need. At the same time, it gives UFCW Canada the opportunity of being a partner in keeping alive the memory and spirit of a great woman who dedicated her life to equity and a safer, better future for all women.”