Bahamians need help and the U.S. has an obligation to help — starting with the government

Resident Shawn Sturup walks by a boat stranded in the middle of the street by storm surge during Hurricane Dorian in the Fortune Bay neighborhood of Grand Bahama, on Friday, September 06, 2019.
Resident Shawn Sturup walks by a boat stranded in the middle of the street by storm surge during Hurricane Dorian in the Fortune Bay neighborhood of Grand Bahama, on Friday, September 06, 2019.

Two weeks ago, Hurricane Dorian poured out its wrath upon our Bahamian neighbors, leaving the country of islands devastated and desolate.

We’ve seen the pictures of the ravaged communities, the rescue workers hauling out dead bodies, the fear on the faces of the distraught people.

Like many Americans, especially here in South Florida, where many a Bahamian helped build our cities, I am distressed that help won’t come fast enough for them.

And then there is this: President Trump’s refusal to allow Bahamians into this country without “totally proper documentation.” What? Does he not know that the people who are trying to get here lost everything in the hurricane — documents, pictures, passports. They lost EVERYTHING!

Furthermore, news reports started saying the Trump administration won’t grant temporary protected status to Bahamians trying to come here while their country is being rebuilt. In the past, the U.S. has often conferred TPS on people from foreign countries hit by a natural disaster.

If the Bahamians are not granted TPS, this would be a low blow, seeing how many Bahamians have helped build America, brick by brick. They have gone to war to help secure our freedoms. I’m not sure our president knows this bit of history.

In the past, when hurricanes have devastated portions of the Bahamas, Americans have always stepped up and helped. Years ago, the church I attend, led by Bishop Walter H. Richardson, was presented an award from the Bahamian government for the help we gave during a hurricane that devastated Freeport.

I have never known of an American president who didn’t want to help our neighboring island country. I guess it is because the previous presidents had something that President Trump lacks: compassion.

When I watched a news report a few days ago and heard Trump say some “very bad people” would be among those trying to escape the hurricane’s devastating aftermath, citing “some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers,” I knew where he was going.

And I thought of Puerto Rico, and the scant response by the Trump team after Hurricane Maria.

Is it because dark-skinned people live on these islands?

One has to wonder.

Meanwhile, those of us who are compassionate will work to make it better for our neighbors in the Bahamas.

It’s the right thing to do.

High Holiday Welcome Program

With the Jewish High Holidays approaching, the Jewish Federation, Rabbinical Association, and several synagogues will offer free services to unaffiliated Jews who are in need.

Through the High Holiday Welcome Program, unaffiliated Jews throughout Miami-Dade County can register to participate in High Holiday services at any one of the 40 participating synagogues free of charge. The program is made possible by contributions to the Annual Federation/UJA Campaign.

Advance registration is required to participate, and will be open through Friday, Sept. 20. All denominations of observance are welcome. To make your reservations, call 305-373-7328 or go online at

Selichot Service

In preparation for the High Holidays, Rabbi Danny Marmorstein and the congregation at Ahavat Olam in Kendall will have a Selichot Service at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. The service is open to the community and is free.

The High Holy Day services will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Erev Rosh Hashanna, with a celebration of life. The worship service will feature Rabbi Marmorstein and The Big Bad Bima Band performing music ranging from pop to traditional Jewish liturgy.

All other High Holy Days services will be observed traditionally and will be conducted by Marmorstein. Ahavat Olam Choral Society will sing, accompanied by pianist Sergio Gonzalez and cellist Konstantin Litvinenko.

For High Holiday tickets and more information. call 305-412-4240 or email, The synagogue is at 10755 SW 112th St. on the grounds of Kendall United Methodist Church.

School Board member honored

Congratulations to Dr. Steve Gallon III, District 1 Miami Dade County School Board member, who will be honored Saturday, Sept. 21, by the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP at the Annual Freedom Fund Gala.

Gallon will be recognized for his “... educational leadership and advocacy for issues of educational, economic, and social justice, and for his bold, powerful, and unapologetic voice for underserved children and communities for nearly 30 years.”

Said Gallon: “I’m humbled by this honor which recognizes my vow to stand, speak and if need be, to fight for what I believe to be in the best interest of the children and this community.”

Day of Peace

The International Day of Peace commemoration will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr.

The theme is “Climate Action for Peace.”

The event is sponsored by Ayuda, which helps improve the lives of children and families who are underserved and/or at risk through education, life skills training, and programs that support self-sufficiency. DeAnne Connolly-Graham serves as chair of the organization’s board.

The keynote speaker will be Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. Musical selections will be performed by the choir from Miami Beach Senior High School.

The event is free and open to the community.