diaspora - Haiti Observer Blog

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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.

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Haitians Represent 15 Percent Of The U.S. Black Population

A recent report dated April 9, 2015, on The Washington Post reveals that a record 3.8 million foreign-born blacks now live in the United States. The share of the black population, largely from Africa and Caribbean has grown up to 8.7% in 2013 from 3.1% of 1980. Out of that, the share of the Haitian immigrant population was 1.5% in 2014 and the number of the total Haitian immigrant population was computed at 606,000 in 2012.

At the earlier time, the immigrant population was very small, estimated at approximately 5,000 in 1960. The number started rising when they began arriving in large numbers following the collapse of the Duvalier dictatorship in the late 1980s. An estimate hints that by 2060, 16.5% of the U.S population will be foreign born. The tendency to concentrate with such population has been more in cities that already had higher numbers of black populations. In Miami, 34% of its black community was born elsewhere. Such figure is 28% in the case of New York metro. The influx of immigrants has started since 2000. Most of the 40 million U.S blacks have roots in Africa and many of their ancestors were brought in as slaves during the 18th century, and by the end of that century, the number of blacks was nearly 20% of total U.S population. Haitian immigrant population in the U.S, is the 4th largest immigrant group from the Caribbean, following Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. The higher number of Haitian immigrants can also be found in France (77,000), Canada (74,000) and Bahamas (40,000). As per the Center for Immigration Studies, 2008, the top states of Haitian immigrant settlement in the U.S are: Florida (251,963; 46%), New York (135,836; 25%) New Jersey (43,316; 8%), Massachusetts (36,779; 7%), Georgia (13,287; 2%), and Maryland (11,266; 2%). There are 310,000 U.S.-born Americans who have at least one parent born in Haiti.

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Haitian Diaspora excluded for the 2015 Haiti Election

Contrary to the wishes of many in the Haitian Diaspora all over the world, they will be on the side line as far as the next Haitian Election scheduled for 2015 is concerned. The new Electoral Decree did not make any provision for their involvement.

In an interview given to Mr. Valery Numa on March 12, the President of the actual CEP, Mr. Pierre Louis Opont did not hesitate to say that the Haitian Diaspora will not participate.

In the meantime, The Diaspora will continue to finance almost everything in Haiti, from education to funeral and everything else.

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Haitian-Americans Wrestling To Support Their Own Mormon Republican Mia Love

Mia Love, was born in Brooklyn to parents who came from Haiti in the mid-1970s. She has defeated Democrat candidate Doug Owens in the recent contest after a hard-fought competition in Utah's 4th Congressional District. She pulled away 50% of the votes, leaving 46% for Owens. Mia Love is not only the first Haitian-American elected to Congress, she is also the first black woman running as a Republican to be elected to Congress and the first Mormon woman in Congress. Mia Love is a Mormon Republican from Utah, she will be the Republican's first black female member of Congress when she visits Washington in the new year. However, despite her historic achievement, the Haitians are in dubious mind to support Mia Love on the ground of her contentious political views and religion. 'Mormonism' has a historic uneasy relationship with traditional Christianity as it differs on their status of God and their beliefs with the traditional branches of Christianity like Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and most branches of Protestantism.

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New York State Assembly Seat Historic Win for Haitian-American

Rodneyse Bichotte pulled off the feat of being the first Haitian-American to capture the 42nd State Assembly District seat in Brooklyn during the general elections, trouncing opponents Matthew Williams and Brian Kelly with 90% of the vote.

In her victory speech, Bichotte expressed appreciation to her campaign staff, volunteers, supporters, and the many elected officials that threw their weight behind her, helping her succeed at the ballot box. She mentioned Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City; Caribbean-American Congresswoman Yvette Clarke; Jamaican-American Assemblyman Nick Perry, and Jamaican-American former New York City Councilwoman, Una Clarke. During the campaign Bichotte ran on a platform of issues ranging from immigration and education reform to health care services, affordable housing, elder care, jobs, and women's and LGBT rights.

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Somerville Haitian-Brazilian Inaugural Festival Celebrates Immigrant Diversity

Somerville, Haiti, held its first annual "Haiti and Brazil Hit the Ville" joint festival this summer. Somerville is a town that celebrates diversity, and its two biggest immigrant communities, Brazil and Haiti share much in common: their love of soccer, Carnival, and national staple foods, rice and beans. The festival was organized by Somerville Arts Council's Arts Union Program in collaboration with the city of Somerville and SomervilleVIVA, a language exchange program.

Brazil and Haiti first became sister communities in 1978 when Brazil's national soccer hero, Pele, played in Haiti, and the newly composed community anthem, "Haiti e Aqui" was performed. This tribute by Brazil to Haiti solidified the ties of history that have existed between the two nations during the days of the fight for independence.

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Sick Haitian woman, mistaken for Liberian Ebola patient, caused total panic

This is getting from bad to worst and out of hands. The Ebola epidemic is a great concern; however it seems that the behavior of the population might be even more of a concern. Did you know that an Ebola scare at a Train Station in Boston forced the MBTA to temporarily suspend services. A sick Haitian woman who was sick and vomiting was assumed to be Liberian and that her illness was Ebola.

According to the Boston magazine reported, some blood was visible in the woman's vomit. The call to the emergency team stated that a Liberian woman was observer to be sick, vomiting and could be infected with the deadly ebola virus.

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Creole ranked 10th most common foreign language spoken at Home in United States

The presence of the Haitian community in the United States is undeniable. Whether in politic, school or at the work place, it is hard to avoid our influence. A recent report just released has discovered that the Haitian presence and influence in the U.S. has in fact increased during the past 14 years in America.

According to the survey, the number of Creole speakers in United States has increased by 73 percent from 2000 to 2014. In 2000, Creole was the 14th most common language spoken at home. In 2014, it is ranks 10th.

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Homeland Government Meets Haitian Diaspora in Miami, Gouvenman an lakay ou

On Saturday, 19 July 2014, Haitian President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe along with other important ministers from several key departments attended a session at the North Miami Senior High to meet the members of the Haitian Diaspora in the United States. As a part of this social dialogue with representatives of the Diaspora, the President has discussed different ways that the Haitians and Haitian-Americans living in the US can play in a process of development to their homeland. They were informed about the recent social and economic developments in Haiti. The participants expressed their commitments towards own homeland and raised a number of issues and obstacles they usually face while dealing with the Haitian government and different institutions in their effort to do business or philanthropy work in Haiti. The government leaders and representatives heard their concerns and promised to solve most of these barriers. This meet was the 9th of the series but the first to be organized outside of Haiti. The Haitian Prime Minister has appreciated the importance of migrant remittance because that accounts about 20% of the country's GDP.

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Haitian Diaspora supports implementation of Article 9 of the El Rancho agreement

A composition of 18 Haitians who represent the Diaspora are set to meet at the Premature, the Head of Government, to discuss the applicability and implementation of Article 9 of the El Rancho Agreement. The discussion also includes the feasibility of a census project before enforcement of the article.

Among the groups represented in this delegation are doctors, businessmen, journalists and pastors, etc. They were, however, invited by the Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe, under an umbrella non-profit organization by the name "Ban Mwen Dwam International". This is an organization that has been at the forefront to fight for the rights of the people living abroad.

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