In the 18 months since the earthquake, the Haitian community has remained fervently involved in Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction. Diaspora leaders, Haiti scholars and human rights advocates have held numerous conferences, community meetings and forums. Throughout these efforts, the need for deeper diaspora involvement in long-term policy advocacy continues to permeate the conversation. It has become apparent that the voice of the estimated 1.5 million Haitians need to be heard where policies are developed in key U.S. power centers such as Washington DC.
Mothers Care members at the I AM KREYOL showcase in August.On June 26, acclaimed Boston designer Joelle Fontaine organized a fashion benefit to raise funds for Boston Mothers Care and Physicians for Haiti at the Red Fez in Boston’s South End. Both local non-profits, established in response to the January 2010 earthquake, continue to work in Haiti to support communities through long-term rebuilding efforts. Donations received from the benefit , for instance, will help Boston Mothers Care fund their latest project to bring clean, accessible water to Colminy, a small town outside of Saint-Marc, a coastal city 40 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince.
“This event has gotten us one step closer to meeting our goal of having a water well in Colminy,” said the co-founder Ines Palmarin. “It [also] gives us more exposure, to a different community - the art community.”
Jeanpierre Augustin training in South BostonAfter the Haitian earthquake last year, Jeanpierre Augustin welcomed three family members into his family’s Lawrence home – survivors of the earthquake that killed 13 other relatives of the Augustin family. Jean-Pierre knew he had wanted to box for the past five years, but, after the quake, he knew for sure that he wanted to box for Haiti … in the Olympics.
The 25-year-old light heavyweight boxer, originally from Boston, is on the track to an Olympic appearance in London next year, where he will don red and blue.
“For a country that has nothing at all, if I can bring some light to it, that would be a good thing,” Augustin says.
The road to the Olympics, however, is an unsure one, requiring self-discipline and travel to intercontinental tournaments and foreign rings.
Shabazz Augustine was arrested and charged last month.A Dorchester man accused of suffocating a 26 year-old Malden woman to death in his Savin Hill apartment during a envy-driven argument— and then dumping her body in the Charles River in 2004 — was ordered held without bail this morning during his arraignment in Dorchester District Court.
Shabazz Augustine, 32, cowered out of view behind a door in a Dorchester court as the family of the victim, Julaine Jules, strained for a view at the suspect. Augustine, a dental hygienist, was arrested Thursday at the Kool Smiles clinic in Roxbury where he works by a team of Boston Police officers.
The arrest of Augustine after seven years stunned the victim’s family— which learned of the break in the case from Boston Police and the Suffolk County DA’s office yesterday. Prosecutors say that Augustine was upset after learning that Jules — whom he had an apparent romantic connection to— had been spending time with another man in the days before her disappearance.
Shabazz Augustine: Charged with murdering Julaine Jules and dumping her in Charles River in 2004.
(Updated June 30, 5:10 p.m.) — A Dorchester man accused of suffocating a 26 year-old Malden woman to death in his Savin Hill apartment during a envy-driven argument— and then dumping her body in the Charles River in 2004 — was ordered held without bail this morning during his arraignment in Dorchester District Court.
Shabazz Augustine, 32, cowered out of view behind a door in a Dorchester court as the family of the victim, Julaine Jules, strained for a view at the suspect. Augustine, a dental hygenist, was arrested Thursday at the Kool Smiles clinic in Roxbury where he works by a team of Boston Police officers.
Jules was a pretty, Haitian-American woman who worked as a secretary at the Children’s Museum at the time of her death. She was missing for more than a month before her decomposed body— wrapped in plastic garbage bags— surfaced on the Cambridge side of the Charles River on Sept., 19, 2004. Julaine Jules
The arrest of Augustine after seven years stunned the victim's family— which learned of the break in the case from Boston Police and the Suffolk County DA’s office yesterday. Prosecutors say that Augustine was upset after learning that Jules — whom he had an apparent romantic connection to— had been spending time with another man in the days before her disappearance.
The message from this morning’s information session was simple: Haitians should file for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) held a briefing today to review the process of filing for TPS. Public officials, immigration attorneys and community advocates were on hand to reassure the Haitian community that it was safe to apply.
“We need to encourage families to do the right thing, to come forward. In the beginning, there was a lot of talk of the very real fears. But here we are 18 months later, 60,000 applicants have come forward,” said Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “The power of advocacy is real.”
This Monday, June 20 at 9 a.m., the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is hosting an information session about Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The briefing will be held at the John F. Kennedy building, in conference room 275B, in Boston.
During this session, officials will explain the details of filing for TPS in hopes that the information provided will encourage qualified individuals to apply.
“We really hope that Haitians take advantage of this extension... many people need to know that they shouldn’t be afraid to come forward. This will allow them to gain immigration status,” Denis Riordan, district director of USCIS, told the Reporter.
President Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly faces daunting challenges and high expectations as he prepares to preside atop a dysfunctional government. Amongt his challenges are a newly minted parliament that seeks to score high early on.
First, the positive: Martelly has staked part of the success of his administration on its ability to make primary school education universal and real. Few in Haiti believe that he can pull it off, given the costs of building an entirely new structure, the estimated 500,000 school children denied the opportunity since time immemorial and the paucity of trained teachers and school administrators. Yet education is perhaps the most effective weapon against chronic poverty and Haiti remaining an international charity case. By making schooling a priority, at the very least Martelly sends a strong signal that he’s willing to try.
However, meeting domestic and international expectations is another story. In principle, democracy disallows arbitrary rule, forcing the Executive to argue, battle and perhaps compromise with the legislature. While Haiti’s parliament appears to be dominated by INITE party members, in reality it is quite fragmented. The party was cobbled together in 2010 when then President René Préval was deemed to have the upper hand: many rent-seekers hedged their bet by running for office under INITE’s umbrella. They are likely to not act in unison but as an eclectic group of elected officials that will shift and play musical chairs in accordance with the prevailing winds.
Haitian children living in the United States are fortunate to be able to go to a library or bookstore and find children’s books. Children in Haiti are not that lucky.
Whether or not their parents can afford to buy them, it’s difficult to find children’s books. That’s why the pediatric literacy project, Timoun Annou Li (Haitian Creole for ‘Children, Let’s Read), is a godsend for kids in Haiti.
“The Haitian Revolution was accomplished on the one hand by slaves who were fighting primarily for the right to own themselves; and on the other by men, half free, who were contending primarily for the other half of freedom—their rights as French citizens. …They found themselves under the necessity of forming a political organization before they had grown into social being or had developed the consciousness of national life. Their consciousness was purely military, and the army was with them the nation.”
— Theophilus G. Stewart, 1914
The Haitian revolution, while notable for its accomplishment of defying the supremacy of racial injustice, also brought forth the notion that human beings should have the right to live as they so desire. It shattered the concept of total control imposed from without that had been situated within the European dominated system of Atlantic Slavery.
At the same time however, the Haitian revolution revealed the contradictions espoused by a systematically and brutally oppressed people who themselves sought power and self-rule. It clearly showed how the sword could serve as an instrument to both oppress and to liberate.