The Rev. Al Sharpton will celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with a mercy mission to Haiti.
“There will be no better way to say happy birthday to Martin Luther King,” Sharpton told people gathered at a vigil at the Haitian Consulate in Manhattan on Wednesday. “We all have some Haitian in us, and we stand in solidarity with the Haitian people until Haiti is restored.”
Sharpton said he plans to leave Friday, the actual date of King’s birth, for Atlanta with a delegation of lawmakers and clergy.
After a sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached, the group will fly to Haiti – where rapper Wyclef Jean is sizing up the situation.
“We will stay in touch with Wyclef on the ground until we get there,” Sharpton said.
Meanwhile, the New York Yankees announced they’re donating $500,000 to aid rescue and relief efforts.
“The Yankees hope their donation will inspire people throughout the U.S. to do everything they can to aid the people of Haiti in their time of need,” the team said in a statement.
Doctors Without Borders also announced that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are contributing $1 million to the organization’s emergency medical operations related to the earthquake.
The group is dispatching extra emergency staff to Haiti, including a surgical team and equipment to establish a 100-bed inflatable tent hospital with two operating rooms.
American Airlines is taking doctors and nurses to Haiti without charge. Details are available at (212) 697-9767.
Sharpton’s annual King event, usually held in the city, has become a must-attend in the political world.
Anticipation for this year’s event was running high because both Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and her potential primary opponent, former Rep. Harold Ford (D-Tenn.), were expected to attend.
Both pols were at yesterday’s vigil, and Ford will travel to Haiti with Sharpton, along with Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron, state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) and the Rev. Herbert Daughtry.
Sharpton’s aides said others may be added to the group.