Feds extend window for TPS applicants by six months

The federal government has extended the deadline for Haitian nationals to apply for "Temporary Protected Status" or TPS, a relief program launched in response to the Jan. 12 earthquake. The new registration deadline is Jan. 18, 2011. The TPS designation applies to Haitians who have continuously resided in the United States since January 12, 2010, when the earthquake occurred; Haitian nationals who first entered the United States after that date are not eligible.

Alleged sexual misconduct sidelines Mattapan priest

The Archdiocese of Boston has taken disciplinary action against a well-known Haitian priest — Rev. Gabriel Michel— after it learned of allegations of "adult sexual misconduct." Fr. Michel, who has been ministering in Boston since 2002, has been suspended from his duties as a priest and the Boston Archdiocese says it "has notified the Most Reverend Louis Kebreau, SDB, Archbishop of Cap-Haitien concerning this matter." He has served most recently as a parochial vicar at St. Angela's Parish and as Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Boston's Haitian Apostolate.

Inside the refugee camps, resilient people leave an indelible impression

Quang TruongQuang TruongOne month after my trip to Haiti, I am discovering that I possess more memories about the trip than I knew I had.

I keep recalling a woman from a refugee camp that showed me the inside her home. Cramped and sweltering, her tiny area was bathed in a faint blue, emanating from the tarps that made up her walls. Her roof was nothing more than bed sheets held up with stakes, and two bare mattresses, one used by her and the other for her three children, were the only furniture to speak of. This was the entirety her life and the lives of her children – just bed sheets, 2 mattresses and the faint blue glow from the tarps.

Church group strains to meet needs of hungry in Mattapan

Rev. Dr. Pierre Zephir: Rev. Dr. Pierre Zephir: "We've seen a big, big increase since the earthquake."A hum of Kreyol rose softly from the tiny room at the Greater Boston Nazarene Compassionate Center on River Street as local residents filed in early on a rainy Wednesday morning. Soon, I am standing nearly shoulder-to-shoulder with more than 100 people waiting eagerly for their share of the bounty of food piled high on a couple of tables inside.
The church has been running a food bank on River Street for nearly 14 years. On Wednesday mornings starting around 10 a.m., volunteers distribute parcels of food to neighbors. Most days, the center is packed long before distribution begins.
According to GBNCC's Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Pierre Zephir, the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in January has sent the food bank into overdrive due to its mainly Haitian demographic.

Nancy Rousseau is a woman on the go

Nancy RousseauNancy RousseauSoon after an earthquake devastated Haiti in January, three thousand people packed Hibernian Hall in Roxbury. The high turnout, with only a few days notice, was in part thanks to Mattapan resident Nancy Rousseau and several others who organized the event.

“It was challenging to pull off that event in such a short time and be the anchor of the event on that day,” says Manolia Charlotin, Rousseau’s friend and colleague. “She was so calm. It really impressed me that she could maintain that level of calm on such a hectic day. I suppose that’s because for Nancy her work is about the people she’s helping. It keeps her focused.”

St. Fleur delivers emotional farewell address to House of Representatives

State Rep. Marie St. Fleur: Will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives this year.State Rep. Marie St. Fleur: Will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives this year.State Rep. Marie St. Fleur — the first Haitian-born state official elected in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts— resigned from her Fifth Suffolk district seat that she'd held since 1999 on Friday, June 11. St. Fleur this week started a job in the Menino administration as its chief of advocacy and strategic investment. Today, she delivered a customary farewell address to members of the House of Representatives in Boston's State House. Below is a summary of her remarks as reported by the State House News Service. Via the Dorchester Reporter's Lit Drop:

New cafe and bakery Belle Epoque opens doors in Brockton

Belle Epoque Grand Opening: Brockton Mayor Linda M. Balzotti cut a ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of the new Haitian-American restaurant and bakery Belle Epoque Cafe and Bakeryon Saturday, June 12.Belle Epoque Grand Opening: Brockton Mayor Linda M. Balzotti cut a ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of the new Haitian-American restaurant and bakery Belle Epoque on Saturday, June 12.

Brockton's latest Haitian-American owned business celebrated its grand opening on Saturday with encouragement from city and state leaders who turned out to welcome Belle Epoque to its new home in the Massasoit Plaza on Crescent Street. The business— which features both table and take-out service— is operated by the Devaris family, which already boasts a large client base through its catering business of the same name. Pictured above, left to right, at the ribbon cutting are Brockton City Council member Dennis DeNapoli, Mayor Balzotti, Andrew Calixte, Djennan Devaris-Calixte, owner-chef Mrs. Carolle Devaris, Kenson Calixte and his son Matthew, Brockton state Rep. Christine Canavan, State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry and Cathy Auguste.

The restaurant and cafe specializes in a wide range of culinary tastes with a Haitian flair. Mrs. Devaris is an accomplished baker with a specialty in custom designed cakes. The cafe also features a menu of Haitian-American lunch and dinner favorites. Belle Epoque is located at 793 Crescent Street, Brockton. The phone number is 508-580-0020.

Shelter and Solidarity: Boston fact-finding delegation reports on trip

Six and Counting for Haiti: The Boston-based Six and Counting for Haiti includes members Darnell Williams of the Urban League, Herby Duverne, Sabine St. Lot, Sandy Cody, Gerald Reid, and Charlotte Golar Richie with their hosts Bob and Magalie Hyppolite and Haitian Minister Edwin ParSix and Counting for Haiti: The Boston-based group includes members Darnell Williams of the Urban League, Herby Duverne, Sabine St. Lot, Sandy Cody, Gerald Reid, and Charlotte Golar Richie with their hosts Bob and Magalie Hyppolite and Haitian Minister Edwin Paraison (far left). Photo by Joel Theodat.

Sabine St. Lot and Charlotte Golar Richie recently returned from Haiti with their group, Six and Counting for Haiti; members Sandy Cody, Herby Duverne, Dr. Gerald Reid and Darnell Williams contributed to this article.

Why We Went
In less than a minute, on a late Tuesday afternoon in mid-January, Haiti experienced one of the worst natural disasters in modern times. Struck by a very powerful earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.0, nearly a quarter of a million people died (numbers vary), and homes, schools and churches instantly vanished. Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Jacmel and Petit-Goave were severely crippled and will never be the same.
Thankfully, the world responded and thousands of people from far and wide have traveled to Haiti to assist with clean-up and rebuilding efforts. And so did we: three Haitian-Americans and three African-Americans from Massachusetts, who traveled there, three months after the earthquake, from April 19th to the 23rd, to deliver tents and supplies to people in need.
Not there to compete with the large international relief organizations, which have been steadily transporting water, tents, tarps and supplies to the capital and other communities, the members of our group were determined to do what we could to lend a helping hand. In doing so, we experienced a journey that was heart-wrenching, awe-inspiring and motivating. It also was challenging. And our visit is one we will never forget.

May 22 Memorial Mass to remember earthquake victims

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, May 22 at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Dorchester for victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. The Mass, which will be celebrated by Fr. William Joy of St. Angela’s parish in Mattapan, will be followed by a symbolic burial at New Cavalry Cemetery in Mattapan.
“We have a small coffin that we will ask people to fill with the names of those whom they lost in the earthquake,” said memorial organizer Collette Ostine.
The Mass will begin at 10 a.m. St. Matthew Church is located at 33 Stanton Street in Dorchester.

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