Haitian-Americans Gaining Clout in Long Island Politics

Haitian-Americans are gaining strength in local politics in the Long Island community. They have delayed running for local public offices due to the many obstacles they must overcome to become assimilated within the dominant Caucasian culture. But as the Haitian Diaspora has grown on Long Island, it has been reflected in the decision made by more Haitian-Americans to run for office.


During the recent November elections, five Haitian-Americans ran for seats on several different local boards and councils. Democrat Valerie Cartwright, daughter of Haitian immigrants, ran for the Brookhaven Town Board and won with 52% of the vote. It is a significant victory for her and the Haitian-American community because the community contains a very small population of Haitian-Americans. A civil rights attorney, she ran on a platform concerning quality-of-life challenges, encompassing low-income housing and more effective outreach services.

Two Haitian-Americans, incumbent democrat, Carrié Solages, and republican Naomie Jean-Philippe ran against each other for a seat on the Nassau County Legislature. Solages retained his seat. Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman, Joseph Mondello, supports inclusion of Haitian-Americans, as well as other minority groups in local politics. As he remarks, "I am very proud we ran . . . Naomie [Jean-Philippe], and you can expect more in the future."

The Corridor Counts, a Nassau County initiative, intends to put its weight behind eligible minority candidates. As one minority community leader put it, "We still have a long way to go in terms of organizing politically. . . "

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Read more: diaspora, Haitian-American, Long Island, Naomie Jean-Philippe, International

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