The Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) mourns the loss of Phillip Wearne, who suddenly and unexpectedly passed last month.

Phillip’s professional skills combined journalism, research, documentary making.  A longtime member of the UK based Haiti Support Group, he had a lead role in producing their bulletin, Haiti Briefing.   Not long after the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, Phillip brought his experience to the HAWG.  We benefitted from his in-depth knowledge of Haitian history, his years of travel in the country, his country based contacts, and his rigorous analysis of how the interplay of external and internal forces had shaped Haiti’s difficult, often tragic history.  But his vast intellectual contributions were surpassed by more personal attributes: compassion for the oppressed, a sense of fair play, and an unswerving, indefatigable focus on the hard task of organizing for social and economic justice.  He was utterly committed to the belief that Haiti’s marginalized and impoverished majority deserved better and that the travails they continued to experience were not only unjust, they were also incommensurate with the magnitude of their courageous contribution to world history – and to the universal principles of freedom and liberation – through the Haitian Revolution.

With the consent of Phillip’s family, a fund has been established in his name.  You may contribute here.  Proceeds will go to continue Phillip’s valued work on Haiti.

HAWG members, past and present, remember Phillip:

“He had a passionate interest in and extraordinary knowledge of progressive movements throughout the Western Hemisphere.  He was a true humanist and a true internationalist and had a deep understanding of the interconnections between progressive causes everywhere. And such a wealth of knowledge” ~Alex Main of CEPR

“He held all of us accountable, constantly pushing us but also having a sense for the politics and ensuring that in doing so he was playing a productive role in trying to achieve tangible results.  His voice was one that kept us honest and reflective but without forcing some type of purity that would feel good for us but do nothing in the world.  He lived the life he preached” ~Ian Schwab, formerly of American Jewish World Service

“Phillip’s life was dedicated to peace, justice and caring for those he loved” ~Shelley Moskowitz, formerly of Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

And we especially remember him for:

 “his commitment to be greatly inspiring; his humor enormously uplifting” ~Elaine Zuckerman, Gender Action

“his persistent questioning of all of our assumptions” ~Theo Sitther, formerly of Mennonite Central Committee

Phillip was also a valued friend and mentor. Those of us lucky enough to have long, involved conversations with him – often over beer or cider – often marveled at how much he knew, how much he cared.  And how much he did.  We lament that he is no longer with us to participate in this work, to share in its reflections and just talk about the world.   As Alex of CEPR said: “Am very sad that there will be no more opportunities to pick his brain on innumerable issues.  He’ll be deeply missed.”

And so say we all.  He’ll be deeply missed.

Phillip Wearne: gone much, much too soon.

Written by Jasmine Huggins, Church World Service for HAWG