Massachusetts Senators John Kerry and Paul Kirk are calling on President Barack Obama to lift a ban on granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to all Haitian nationals now living in the U.S. , Kerry and Kirk joined 13 other senators in issuing a letter to the president this afternoon.
The letter follows an announcement made by the Office of Homeland Security earlier in the day that said the U.S. would halt "returns" of illegal Haitian immigrants to Haiti "for the time being." That brief statement made no mention of revising the TPS policy.
On the anniversary of the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, the Reporter goes back into its archives for a look at how we covered those first hours. Below is a record of that coverage, starting just minutes after word reached Boston.
Tuesday, Jan. 12
(5:50 p.m.)- Haiti, a country besieged by deadly hurricanes and grinding poverty, has experienced yet another catastrophic natural disaster today. CNN is reporting that the island nation has been rocked by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake centered some 10 miles off the coast of the capitol Port-au-Prince.
Kenson Calixte, a Haitian-American from Abington, has talked to two relatives on the ground in Delmas, a community about 15 miles from Port-au-Prince. Calixte said they reported widespread devestation, including a hotel that had collapsed.
"My uncle said he'd never felt anything like this before," said Calixte. "The house shook and there was much damage inside the house. There are houses that have collapsed in his neighborhood."
"My cousin thinks there are casualties there at the hotel. He was walking the street saying there are a lot of people hurt."
Local activist and author Veronica De La Croix held a book signing co-hosted by the Haitian Harvard Alliance (HHA) on December 3 for her recently published text “Presenting My Hero: Toussaint L’Ouverture”. As its namesake indicates, De La Croix introduces Toussaint L’Ouverture, a leader of the struggle for Haitian independence and abolition of slavery, with her own historical assessments.
The book includes addendums such as poetry, photography, and statistics on Haiti’s 18th century economy. The central fixture of the book is L’Ouverture’s autobiography.
Chale MizikChale Mizik
Miami-based Chale Mizik ranks high among the Haitian music industry’s roster of new bands. The group’s first release, “Mme Bruno” is a 14-song collection of original material. The album is an independent release.
Last month Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (PEC) took the undemocratic and dangerous step of eliminating 13 political parties, including Haiti’s most popular party, Fanmi Lavalas, from Parliamentary elections scheduled for February and March 2010. The decision threatens not only Haiti’s democracy and stability, but billions in foreign investments. Fortunately, prompt action by the United States, the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) can avoid this looming disaster.
The Somerville Arts Council has issued a call to the Haitian community for entries for an event "An Evening of Haitian Film & Video to be held on Feb. 4, 2010 in Union Square.
The event will include over an hour of short documentaries or narrative fiction, and excerpts from longer films and tv shows. The focus of the films/videos and discussion will be the role of media -- radio (the "Agronomist"), film ("Secondhand Pepe") and TV (excerpts from local shows) as it relates to Haiti and the local Haitian community.
Five Haitian-American candidates running for City Council seats in Boston, Malden, Brockton, and Randolph are teaming up to shovel some cash into their coffers. A 6 p.m. fundraiser is planned for Aug. 30 at Lantana in Randolph.
Jean-Claude Sanon, a Mattapan community activist, is running for one of the four City Council At-Large seats in Boston, while Fred Fontaine and Marc Lucas are both looking at seats in Brockton. Nekita Lamour is running for a seat in Malden, and Ricardo Bonachy Telemaque has his sights set on a council slot in Randolph.
With the fate of health insurance for 30,000 legal immigrants hanging on the choices legislative leaders will make in the coming days, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Gov. Deval Patrick made a "good and compelling case" for maintaining the coverage. He added, though, that lawmakers were still concerned about financial constraints and had yet to finalize plans for dealing with budget issues.