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Sep 20, 2011

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) has co-sponsored a bill to evaluate the progress on all post-quake aid efforts in Haiti. Through this bill, Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, U.S. agencies would be held accountable for effective use of aid funds that bolsters the Haitian government and participation of the civil society.

In a statement released today, Senator Kerry said that the transition to long-term recovery needs to ensure "our relief efforts are doing the most possible for people who need them."

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Sep 19, 2011

The family and friends of Gabriel Josh-Cazir Pierre are hosting a candle light vigil on Monday, September 19 at 7 p.m. The vigil will be held at the corner of Blue Hill Avenue and Floyd Street.

The 17-month old Dorchester toddler died last Monday after he was left unattended in a van for most of the day. His death remains under investigation.

In a statement released though the Boston Police Dept. today, the public was invited to attend the vigil.
"The family understands that there are many who are grieving with them and many of whom will come out to be there during this time. All are welcome to share this time with family," the statement read.

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Sep 19, 2011

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Former aide to ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton has been overwhelmingly approved by Parliament's lower chamber to be Haiti's next prime minister.

Dr. Garry Conille's nomination was approved Friday on an 89-0 vote in the Chamber of Deputies. The nomination now goes to the Senate for a vote expected Tuesday.

Haitian President Michel Martelly's administration has been without a prime minister for four months. Martelly's first two picks were rejected and many reconstruction efforts from last year's earthquake have been on hold.

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Sep 9, 2011

September issue is available now.September issue is available now.

Retiring in Haiti has long been a dream for many in the diaspora. So for many years, most of the people who returned to live in Haiti were from an older generation. Over the last 5-7 years that trend has shifted to a younger generation. Many young Haitian professionals have been actively involved in Haiti. Many had even worked there, on limited-time contracts for non-profits, government agencies and the private sector.

However, once the earthquake hit, the diaspora returned in droves for numerous missionary trips, school-building and agricultural stimulus initiatives and to support family affected by the destruction. And many returned to live for good – including some of Boston’s brightest.

Linda Accime holds a Masters of Arts degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University. She was born in Miami, Florida and grew up in Boston, and had been interested in working in Haiti for quite some time. As part of her experiential learning for her graduate work, she went back to Haiti to work on a public health initiative in 2008. Through a project with Hospice St. Joseph, she worked to increase access to health care services for Haitians living in the countryside.

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Sep 9, 2011

It may be hard to imagine any parallel between Ireland and destitute, still earthquake-ravaged Haiti, and yet there are any number: analogous gripping histories of famine, long stretches of political and economic repression, and the bad geographical luck of being adjacent to a super power or dominant force that presents undesirable attention. It is always difficult fighting a bully in your own backyard.

Human rights attorney Brian Concannon wrote of these dilemmas three years ago in the Boston Irish Reporter and in the Boston Haitian Reporter.

“Like the British response to Ireland’s famine, bank programs (in Haiti) do not rise to the need,” he wrote, predicting the inevitable in a column headlined: Eating Dirt in Haiti and Ireland. “They are too late—they will not provide relief for months, perhaps years. They are too little—they stop where the requirements of helping poor people conflict with the requirements of the bureaucrats’ economic theories. In the meantime, just as Ireland exported food during a famine, Haiti will keep exporting money. So more Haitians will die of the diseases of hunger, and more children will grow older without going to school.”

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Sep 1, 2011

Shabazz AugustineShabazz AugustineShabazz Augustine stood silently in a Suffolk Superior courtroom today as he was officially charged with the heinous murder of 26 year-old Julaine Jules, his one-time love interest who was found dead in the Charles River nearly one month after she went missing from her South Boston workplace back in 2004.

Augustine, 32, was arrested on a warrant issued after the Boston Police Cold Case Squad began probing the Jules murder this year. Augustine was a suspect early in the murder investigation, but according to prosecutors, his recent arrest was prompted by "incriminating remarks" that he allegedly made after the killing. The Dorchester man, who has been working at a dental clinic in recent years, was taken into custody at his workplace in Roxbury in June. He's been jailed ever since and was once again ordered to be held without bail pending his trial — which will not likely take place until September 2012.

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Aug 30, 2011

Partners In Health and Jim Ansara will host a Volunteer Open House for all those planning to volunteer — or those thinking about volunteering— int he construction of a new hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. at the Boston Beer Works, 112 Canal Street, Boston.

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Aug 23, 2011

(AP) -- Hurricane Irene cut power to more than a million people in Puerto Rico, downing trees and flooding streets on Monday, and forecasters warned it could be a major storm as it threatens Florida and South Carolina by the end of the week. There were no reports of deaths or major injuries in Puerto Rico, but Gov. Luis Fortuno declared a state of emergency and urged people to stay indoors to avoid downed power lines, flooded streets and other hazards.

"This isn't the time to go out to find out what happened ... This is the time stay in your homes," Fortuno said at a news conference.

The first hurricane of the Atlantic storm season posed an immediate threat to the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, though the center of the hurricane was expected to miss neighboring Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola. Nearly 600,000 Haitians are still homeless due to the January 2010 earthquake and that country could still see heavy rain and tropical-storm-force winds, said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

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Aug 19, 2011

Originally published: August 18, 2011
Updated: August 19, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP)- Many illegal immigrants who were facing deportation despite having no criminal record will be allowed to stay in the country and apply for a work permit under new rules from the Homeland Security Department. Republicans are balking at the change.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Thursday that the department will focus on deporting illegal immigrants who are criminals or pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Napolitano announced the plan in a letter to a group of senators who support revamping the immigration system. Under the change, approximately 300,000 deportation cases pending in immigration court will be reviewed case by case.

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Aug 12, 2011

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Thousands of Haitians living in one of the biggest tent camps created after last year's earthquake could soon have a new home: the mountains north of Port-au-Prince.

City officials plan to relocate the almost 20,000 people living on the 42-acre (17-hectare) Champs de Mars plaza across the street from the crumbled National Palace if the central government approves, Port-au-Prince Mayor Jean Yves Jason said Wednesday.

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Aug 4, 2011

August issue on stands now!August issue on stands now!McKendy Fils-Aime first started writing poetry “like any high school kid does” – after being dumped by his high school sweetheart. Now, almost 10 years after his high school debut, he is one of five members of the Boston team at this year’s National Poetry Slam in Cambridge.

Born in New York City to Haitian parents, Fils-Aime moved to New Hampshire when he was young and attended local high school, where he first began exploring the medium of poetry.

“I said to myself, ‘I really like writing poetry, and I think I should start taking this more seriously,’” Fils-Aime said of his first experiences with writing.

During the rest of his high school career, he began to hone the craft of spoken word poetry, concentrating on his delivery and performance style. He then began to enter poetry readings and local “slams,” which he continued doing when he got to the University of New Hampshire.

Since his debut on the slam circuit, Fils-Aime has performed in the last three National Poetry Slams, for the Manchester, NH team in 2008, the Worcester team in 2009, and the Manchester team again in 2010. This year, he decided to take his craft to the bigger Boston slam clubs and made the Boston team, which will compete in Cambridge for the 2011 National Poetry Slam on August 9.

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Aug 4, 2011

Rachelle Villarson, at the 2011 Women of Power luncheon in Boston.Rachelle Villarson, at the 2011 Women of Power luncheon in Boston.
Last week’s National Urban League conference in Boston featured many nationally reknown figures from Soledad O’Brien, Henry Louis “Skip” Gates to Rev. Al Sharpton and Bill Gates. Many Bay State officials welcomed conference attendees including Gov Deval Patrick, Mayor Thomas Menino, several state representatives, administration leaders and members of the Boston city council.

However, one key group that helped to ensure the smooth operations of the conference was the hard-working volunteers. And one dynamic leader responsible for recruiting, training, coordination and execution for volunteers for several main events was Rachelle Villarson. Villarson, who was born in Brooklyn and came to Boston as a teen, is a finance supervisor at Partners Healthcare. She was appointed to the board of Young Professionals Network of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (YPN-ULEM), as co-chair of the community service committee last summer. She hit the ground running.

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Jul 14, 2011

Mothers Care members at the I AM KREYOL showcase in August.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.”

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Jul 14, 2011

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.

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Jul 14, 2011

Shabazz Augustine was arrested and charged last month.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.

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Jun 29, 2011

Shabazz Augustine: Charged with murdering Julaine Jules and dumping her in Charles River in 2004.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 JulesJulaine 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.

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Jun 20, 2011

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.”

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Jun 17, 2011

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.

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Jun 9, 2011

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.

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Jun 6, 2011

The Patrick administration has opted against signing onto the federal Secure Communities initiative, citing a “lack of clarity” and inconsistent implementation of a national program that uses locally gathered fingerprinting information to verify the immigration status of those arrested in Massachusetts.

“The Governor and I are dubious of the Commonwealth taking on the federal role of immigration enforcement. We are even more skeptical of the potential impact that Secure Communities could have on the residents of the Commonwealth,” Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan wrote in a letter dated Friday to Acting Secure Communities Director Marc Rapp, informing the Department of Homeland Security that Massachusetts would not sign a memorandum of understanding for participation.

Since the start of the Secure Communities program in 2008, the information sharing capability between local law enforcement agencies and ICE has been expanded to 1,331 jurisdictions in 42 states. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 151,590 convicted criminal aliens have been booked into ICE custody through March 31, 2011, and 77,160 have been deported.

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