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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Tuesday's Connector of the Day: Jimmy Jean-Louis

January 18th, 2010
05:32 PM ET

As tens of thousands of Haitians continue to deal with the heartbreak and devastation caused by last week’s powerful earthquake, there are still stories of hope and joy.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/18/1801_blog_main_gi.jpg caption ="TV star Jimmy Jean-Louis is helping to raise funds for the victims of the Haiti earthquake."]

There have been a number of cases in Port-au-Prince where people have been discovered alive after being buried under rubble more than five days ago.

Amongst the remarkable stories of courage and luck, there are also dozens of people who are being reunited with friends and family after days of searching.

Many people have also opened up their wallets to make donations to the relief effort – Hollywood has been particularly forthright.

At Sunday's Golden Globe, many wore ribbons in support of the devastated Caribbean Island. George Clooney and other A-listers are participating in high-profile telethons as well to garner support.

But actor Jimmy Jean-Louis has a much closer connection to the tragedy.

The Haitian born actor who is best known for his role in the hit television series “Heroes” was reunited with his mother and father who were feared dead because of the disaster.

Even though his parents were alright, Jean-Louis hasn't been untouched by the earthquake - he has lost family members and his childhood home was completely destroyed.

Before the quake, Jean-Louis worked tirelessly to help Haitians beat poverty through education with his charity that he founded.

The Hollywood Unites for Haiti charity was initially set up to help Haitians suffering from poverty, but today the charity has devoted all of its resources to helping victims from the tragic quake.

Here's your chance to ask Jean-Louis any question.

Do you want to know about his role on "Heroes" or do you want to know what the situation is like in Haiti? Perhaps you want to know what his charity plans on doing or what the best way to help is.

Please post your question below.

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. jackson

    Love your role on "heroes" and i always am pleased when you appear in an episode.

    Several questions come to mind:

    1. Is "Heroes" and/or NBC planning on doing anything to help with Haiti? I can envision you and/or the other cast members doing a PSA during the commercial breaks to send aid/money. Perhaps NBC, having made oodles of money off heroes, would be willing to part with 30 seconds of time for a PSA.

    2. Having lived in Caribbean myself for a few years, I am curious as to your thoughts of reducing the type of corruption that is endemic in most of the governments in the Caribbean. I have lived in exactly the kind of houses that collapsed like pancakes in Haiti. Where are the building inspectors? The building codes?
    Can any NGO or any foreign government help to prevent this type of disaster from happening again by helping Haiti get rid of its corrupt officials?

    3. How do you think your charity helps to raise people out of the grinding poverty that exists in Haiti? Does education help the children avoid poverty, or is there more that you think could be done by your organization; or any other NGO?

    I go back to my experiences in the eastern caribbean where it seemed that for every dollar donated, 80 cents would help pave the road from the governor's mansion down to parliment so his rolls-royce wouldn't suffer.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  2. Siyad Hajir

    It is good to hear that you have been reunited with your family and i was watching right here on the CNN channel .
    Secondly ,some countries like Venezuela are blaming united state of taking advantage over the disaster in Haiti,by bringing troops to the country.My question is:are the Americans taking advantage or they are there to help the victims of the disaster?


    January 18, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  3. Eduardo, Venezuela

    Hi Jimmy,
    Im glad your family is safe and sound.
    We're collecting everything we can here at Venezuela to help but, how can we be sure that our help is really reaching the needed?

    Comment for Mr. Siyad Hajir:
    Its a shame my country has to bring some political controversy over such a terrible tragedy, even if the U.S. were or not taking advantage of the situation, it is not up to our 'so called' government to point hands yet. That said, I believe its a good question!
    Greetings from Caracas!

    January 19, 2010 at 12:20 am | Reply
  4. Prashan

    Hi Jimmy, I am so glad that your parents are safe. I am from Sri Lanka and we suffered immensely after the 2004 Tsunami. People are still missing and people still being found. Especially children and babies. Please look after your parents because at the end, they are the greatest possession you have. Savor every minute you have with them. Fame will be lost and found, friends will be lost and found, fortune will be lost and found, but parents and siblings, once lost, can never be found or replaced.

    I hope that other Haitians will have happy endings in their lives in these trying days. We know exactly what you are going through. Our prayers are with you, your family and the thousands who are there needing every miracle available.

    Good luck and GodSpeed, Jimmy.

    January 19, 2010 at 1:59 am | Reply
  5. Nicole

    Monsieur Louis,

    First, I am happy that your mother and father are safe.

    I spent several weeks in Haiti on a medical mission some years ago. What struck me most was the extreme wealth and poverty living sometimes yards away from each other. I am wondering about the class divide in Haiti and what you think can be done to even the playing field for those on the other side.


    January 19, 2010 at 3:36 am | Reply
  6. Ogejuma sunday

    Where is the origin of the haitains?

    January 19, 2010 at 5:41 am | Reply
  7. Amel

    Hi Jimmy,
    I'm writting from Bahrain and have already followed your organization's work and contributed.
    Would it be possible to hear a bit more about the current situation in terms of medical availabilty etc... Also what would you suggest, other than money, can we contribute that will immidiately improve the conditions there?
    You family and your country are in my thoughts and prayers.

    January 19, 2010 at 7:31 am | Reply
  8. Edgar (Nigeria)

    Hi Jimmy,
    I'm just wondering...Shouldn't you be over there in Haiti helping your people? You could still ask for help from there and people would hear you even better.

    January 19, 2010 at 8:37 am | Reply
  9. Susan UK

    To Edgar (Nigeria), Unless Jimmy has specific skills like to do with demolition/construction or medical skills or skills to with engineering then going to Hati will only add to the burden. He is better off not adding another mouth to feed to the already desperate population over there. Raising money and awareness is the best thing he can do.

    My company is sending water purification equipment and engineers to set it up and getting it running. We have waited until yesterday to send them out though because when it comes to earthquakes if you don't know what your doing you will only cause more problems. By Sunday they will have a source of clean dirnkable water.

    The government is corrupt as all governments are. Some are better at covering it up that's all. Punishing the poor because of the corruption is not the answer! I hope people continue to give money and if they are concerned about the recipeint of the donations give to the International Red Cross or Unicef. But don't turn your back on them!

    January 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  10. Liz Kang

    Hi Mr. Jean-Louis,
    I am relieved that none of your family members were injured, and I think what you're doing for your homeland is wonderful. I currently live in Jakarta, Indonesia, and as you know Indonesia, like Haiti is also a developing country. We also have thousands of people who suffer from Earth Quakes, Fires, Tsunamis, etc. My questions to you are:
    1. Do you think Haiti will ever prevail these natural disasters?
    2. Are you just interested in helping the people in Port-au-Prince or other cities? Where in Haiti were you born?
    3. What can my family and friends do to help?

    Thank you!
    I have my fingers crossed that nothing worse will happen!

    Liz Kang

    January 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  11. Peter S. (H)

    What is your favourite childhood memory from Haiti?

    January 19, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  12. Andrew Wilcox

    Hi Jimmy,

    Thank you for your benevolent gestures towards the people of Haiti.

    The good news is that there has been a very positive response from all over the world.

    I will suggest that you concentrate on the logistics of getting the required items to the needy. There are so many items at the airport which the authorities are finding it very difficult reaching the injured and displaced people.

    Furthermore, you can create some time to counsel the youths who are hopeless at this critical time using yourself as a good example.

    God will give you the grace and strength to carry on.


    January 19, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  13. Jaime A. Llado

    Dear Mr. Jean-Louis
    Being from Dominican Republic and knowing very well the problem of your country, that with this tragety, simply goes deeply. Can you use your relationship with other fellow actors and actrees and influence in that elite group of Holliwood to conform a very strong alliance against ignorance and poverty? Can you dedicate to be "THE" leader and point of reference in this crusade?
    I offer myself to conform this great alliance of intentions that is really what haitians needs.

    GOOD LUCK MY FRIEND AND GOD BLESS YOU!!!! already done more than enought. ( for normal paramethers)

    January 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Reply
  14. Johnnie

    First off, I would like to say I am glad that your family is safe and sound, yet I mourn the thousands of lives that have been affected by this enormous tragedy. I am glad to see that many communities, and many faces from Hollywood are supporting the cause and making sure that the news is spread and we all lend our support.
    My question to Jean-Louis is, what do you feel the international community as a whole can do to ensure that the country does not fall back into the same pattern or poverty, political unrest, lack of jobs, and a vulnerable economy as it was before the earthquake? I feel this is an excellent opportunity to build stability and leadership in the country to keep Haiti from staying the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

    And in response to Mr. Siyad Hajir from the Netherlands, I find it unfortunate that in such a trying moment as we have at this moment, a few governments and individuals find it more important to ignore the true issues of this disaster and rather concentrate on attacking the US. To answer your question, the United States military has over 12,000 troops on the ground and has mobilized the Navy and Air Force to Haiti, fo one very important reason: The US Military is the best equipped and ONLY organization in the world with the logistical support and know how to move that much equipment, supplies, personnel and goods in a short time frame. No one else can do it better. Once the situation stabalizes and we are no longer needed, the military will leave.

    Take care all, and donate as much as you can to the Red Cross in Support of Haiti...

    January 19, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  15. Lindsey Crate

    Were you proud of your Haitian heritage while being part of the hollywood community?
    Was anyone in hollywood paying attention to the plight of haiti before the earthquake?

    January 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Reply
  16. Jorge

    What does it seem like hatians on the streets are turning on eachother in a moment when they should comfort eachother?

    January 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  17. Francis ragwa

    Louis..gud to hear your family is ok.am from kenya n wuld like to say kudos..keep up the good work!

    January 20, 2010 at 8:52 am | Reply
  18. Wilsonebere

    Jean i luv ur role in d series and i ll lik 2 know if d relif ll only concentrate on d earthquake victims nd more grease2 ur elbows.

    January 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  19. YoungBen Ulebor

    I'm very happy about the safety of your parents. And for some of your family members who where affected,i'm very sorry. Do accept my heart-felt sympathy.

    January 20, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Reply
  20. Igwe

    I sympathize with Jean four loss and also to every Haitians affected by the disaster. And your role in Heroes, good one

    January 21, 2010 at 12:01 am | Reply
  21. Badmus tunde

    Hi jimmy it good to here that u have reunit with ur parent pls sir i want to know more about the condition in haiti,i love seeing u on tv.

    January 21, 2010 at 10:56 am | Reply
  22. Anuligo Grace

    Dear Jimmy, I rejoice with you for the good news about ur parent. What a relief. MY heart goes for your country men. May God give them the courage to carry on with their lives.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  23. Anuligo Grace

    Dear Jimmy, I rejoice with you for the good news about ur parent. What a relief. MY heart goes for your country men. May God give them the courage to carry on with their lives.

    January 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  24. Anuligo Grace

    We the Nigerians feels your pain for your country. Dear Jimmy, take courage and sollance with the lord.

    January 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  25. Grace

    Hey jimmy,it is God dat has kept u n ur family alive.am happy 2 hear dat ur parent were save and you are united.am a nigerian and am deeply concern about the haitians.am praying for them all.it is gonna be alright.bless you

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 am | Reply
  26. Ozorme Joy A. N

    Hi Jimmy, am so glad you are reuniting with you parents after this hurrible disaster. I also want to use this oppourtunity to condole those who lost their beloved ones. I want to assure you that God is in control. I appreciate your abilities in Heroes and I wish you can use it to erase the painful memories of your people. My question is 1. Is the earth quake as a result of corruption in Haiti, poverty or carelessness. I ask this b/cos I've heard so much complaint about these. 2. What are the greatest help your people need now? 3. Are you the only popular/rich person from Haiti? 4. Are their measures to prevent future occurance? I dream of meeting you some day to appreciate you more. Let the Joy of the Lord be your strenght Neh 8:10. Though sorrow may come in the night but Haitians Joy comes in the morning. Am a proud NIGERIAN.

    January 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  27. Bethel Briggs

    Thank God your parents came out alive, despite the fact that you still lost some other relatives and properties. Most Haitian would prefer to lost houses and properties to have their love ones back. I want you to no that God not happy about the suffering and injustices we face (Job 34: 10) and very soon, he will bring about a new system of things where we will see our dead love one back to live, no more earthquakes to cause us pain. My question is about the comment made by the producer of a popular Tv programme, the 700 CLUB. He as a religious man said Haitian are been punished because of the pact they signed wirh the Devil som 200 years ago. Is this comment tru, Was their even a pact signed btw the Haitian and their colonial masters? pls let me no from u

    February 5, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Reply

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