Polk County, Home to Some 10,000 Haitians

Haitians started moving to Polk County back in the 1980s. The early immigrants were citrus pickers who came from impoverished backgrounds to work in the orange groves. After a while, when they saved enough, brought their families and friends to join them to live and work in the Polk County. And till then the process never stopped.


Today, Polk County is the home to some 10,000 Haitian descendents, many of whom never had visited their homeland. The local Haitian Youth Association celebrates Haitian Flag Day event in the honor of the Caribbean nation's independence from French colonialism. But the Saturday event (May 16, 2015) of flag hosting was actually performed with many fold objectives. It was an opportunity to teach the kids about their own rich culture who have born on this American soil. Once, the Haitian flag was tricolored... red, white and blue. When the country got independence from the French, they forced all the white French colonizers to leave. To signify white colonizers leaving the country, white was then taken out, leaving only red and blue on the flag. A ribbon at the bottom of the national flag says "L'Union Fait La Force" (Unity Makes Strength) which every young Haitians must bear in mind.

Compassion Action for Haitians Inc, (CAFHI) was created by a group of motivated individuals in the community, dedicated to use their time and expertise to assist their Haitian brothers and sisters living in Polk County. They teach young Haitians their native Creole language; help them to interact with elders, who tell them stories from the past, a typical Haitian traditional practice that's fading away in America. Some social gatherings like the Saturday event also give an opportunity to taste classic Haitian gourmet like fried plantain and Griot (fried pork).

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Read more: diaspora, Haitian Diaspora, Polk County, immigration

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