C-U Haiti Relief holding fundraiser this week

The newly organized group C-U Haiti Relief will present an international forum and fundraiser for Haiti this week.

"I (Heart) Haiti" is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the University of Illinois Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln, U. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Speakers with knowledge of Haiti will share their perspective about the country, and attendees will be given information on ways to paticipate in relief efforts, said organizer Melissa Pognon. The event will also feature musical performances by a West African ensemble.

Speaking at the event will be Erik McDuffie, assistant professor of African-American studies and gender and women's studies, and Roy Lanham, adviser for the Haiti Connection at Eastern Illinois University.

The lineup of performers includes drummer Bolokada Conde and Rhythm Manding, featuring dancer Alseny Soumah. Conde and Soumah, both from Guinea, West Africa, have toured the world with Guinea's top-performing music ensembles and are currently visiting instructors at the university through Robert E. Brown Center for World Music. Rhythm Manding is a group of Bolokada's students who often accompany him for local performances. For more information: http://www.bolokadaconde.blogspot.com

Thursday's event is open to the public. Admission is free, but organizers are suggesting a $5 donation for Haitian disaster recovery. Nonmonetary donations, such as clothing or medical supplies, will also be accepted.

C-U Haiti Relief is a consortium of students, faculty and Champaign-Urbana community members working for disaster relief in Haiti. The group is an initiative of Planners Network, an association of professionals, activists, academics and students involved in planning professions who promote political and economic change.

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