Top stories

Harvard lectureHarvard lecture

Harvard Fellow Philippe Girard will present a colloquium on Toussaint Loverture's early life as a slave on Wed., Oct. 22 at 12 p.m. The event is free and open to the public . Dr. Girard is an esteemed historian of Haiti who is the head of the History Department at McNeese State University. He is presently working with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at Harvard's W.E.B. DuBois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center. The event will take place at the Thompson room, Barker Center, 12 Quincy St. Cambridge, MA.

Cambridge eventCambridge eventAn event billed as the "first annual celebration of Haitian Creole month in Massachusetts" takes place on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge. The event will include lectures, discussions, books and cultural presentations by Haitian artists, writers, publishers, musicians, and scholars of Haitian culture. The program is free and open to the public.

Invited guests include Prof. Marky Jean-Pierre, Dr. Louise Evers, Prof. Yvon Lamour, Prof. Merites Abelard. Moderators are Dr. Sophia Cantave and Dr. Lunine Pierre-Jerome.

Boston-area author & editor Tontongi (Eddy Toussaint), will present the latest books from Trilingual Press, vanguard publisher of texts in Haitian Creole. Tontongi’s new collection of politico-literary essays, Sèl Pou Dezonbifye Bouki and the Haitian Creole translation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet by Nicole Titus (author of the first Haitian Creole translations of Plato).

Publisher Roosevelt Desronvilles, presenting books in Haitian Creole from JEBCA Editions. Writers at the event will include Jean-Dany Joachim, Charlot Lucien, Fred Edson Lafortune, Ewald Delva, Patrick Sylvain, Nicole Titus, Doumafis Lafontant, Margela Olivier Galette, presenting their published work in various genres, in Haitian Creole or bilingual editions.

After years of lobbying by Haitian leaders and activists, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finally agreed to launch an official effort to reunify Haitian families displaced by the catastrophic earthquake of Jan. 2010. In a statement sent to the Reporter this morning, the department says that the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program will begin in spring 2015.

The program will "expedite family reunification for certain eligible Haitian family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. and to promote safe, legal and orderly migration from Haiti to the United States."

The program will impact "eligible Haitian beneficiaries" in Haiti who have been pre-approved for family-based visas. They will be allowed entry to the United States "up to approximately two years before their immigrant visa priority dates become current," according to the Homeland Security department.

In announcing the program, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas emphasized that Haitian migrants should not attempt to come to the Unites States before the program begins.

A 60 year-old Haitian man was indicted on Oct. 10 for allegedly "interfering with flight crew members" on a trans-Atlantic flight from Miami to Paris. The Aug. 27 incident caused the flight to be diverted to Boston.

Jean-Claude'Baby' DuvalierJean-Claude'Baby' Duvalier
Editor's Note: Jean-Claude Duvalier died at age 63 on Oct. 3, 2014 in Port-au-Prince. This article by Patrick Sylvain was written in 2013.

As the country rapidly disintegrated into institutionalized chaos, with Port-au-Prince, the epicenter of disorder, Haitians of a certain dispositions are always complaining about yesteryears of “order” that never were.

Order is often confused with lawfulness.

The nostalgia for “order” under the Duvalier regimes have always been a problematic reading, forgetting that the reign of terror that brought about fear, did not cultivate respect in an ethical way. I am referring to an ethic of civility for the nation, and for citizenship, one that would establish a sustainable order because the nation have had viable institutions that raised and sustained ethical beings, not predators. The order that the Duvalier regimes imprinted upon the land was one of sheer terror, a colossal madness unleashed like a ticking bomb. Each government since 1986, wired their own fuses and imploded the nation to the chaos that has Duvalier asking, “What have you done with my country?”

Patrick SylvainPatrick SylvainMr. Duvalier, what they have done to “your” country is what your terror-obsessed father, and your narrow-minded macoutized self had done with it since 1957, a structural uprooting of institutions and of talents that left the country bare, diseased, vulnerable, and acrid. The distance past so often seems better than the present, especially when the past is never fully linked to the present. Mr. Duvalier, the corrupt and dictatorial President that we have today, or the inept President we had yesterday, or even the stubborn and one man presidency we had prior to that, is part of the same tumor, the malignant cancer your father had exacerbated.

Of course, to be fair, your father was also a part of another cancer that’s been growing in Haiti since independence. You are “a son of a great nationalist” you boasted, forgetting that nationalism creates and have created phobias. The nationalistic version of your father, and yourself for that matter, was a monstrosity of the Macoutized state that created a schizophrenic nation that hacked itself as if confronted with external mortal enemies.

Prime Minister Visits Boston: PM Laurent Lamothe, Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, former State Rep. Marie St. Fleur, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh at a Boston Foundation forum on Thursday, June 5. Prime Minister Visits Boston: PM Laurent Lamothe, Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, former State Rep. Marie St. Fleur, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh at a Boston Foundation forum on Thursday, June 5.

Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe visited Boston yesterday to speak at Haiti Funders Conference at the Boston Foundation. Lamothe, who was appointed prime minister in May 2012, was introduced by Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Boston), and gave an address entitled “The Priorities of the Government of Haiti and Alignment of Private Philanthropic Efforts for Lasting Impact."

Toussaint L'Ouverture cut-out in the Haitian ParadeToussaint L'Ouverture cut-out in the Haitian ParadeAn exhibition featuring artworks that honor Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture is on display at the Mattapan Branch, located at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue, through July 18. On Tuesday, May 27, a reception will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mattapan Branch to celebrate the exhibition. The reception includes poetry readings, testimonials, and light refreshments.

At the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street, the exhibition The Soul of a Man: Toussaint Louverture & the Haitian Slave Revolt opens in the Rare Books Lobby on Tuesday, June 17, and runs through September 30 of this year. The Central Library exhibition tells the compelling story of Toussaint Louverture, a leader of the armed resistance against colonization and slavery and his significant role in the future of a free Haiti.

"Boston Public Library welcomes researchers, visitors, and academics to view the materials that played a critical role in the freedom and development of Haiti," said Susan Glover, Keeper of Special Collections.
A panel discussion and slideshow featuring Toussaint Louverture's historical impact and his influence on the abolitionist movement and popular culture in the United States will be held on Tuesday, June 17 at 6:30 p.m. in Rabb Lecture Hall at the Central Library in Copley Square. Panelists include Boston Public Library Trustee and State Representative Byron Rushing, Dr. Marc Prou of the University of Massachusetts, Professor Patricia Hills of Boston University, and moderators Marie St. Fleur and Dr. Nesly Metayer. Representatives from the Boston City Council, the NAACP, and State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry will join the panel for special remarks.

Cardinal Chibly Langlois. AP Photo

Cardinal Chibly Langlois, the first Cardinal named from Haiti, will be the main celebrant at this weekend's annual Mass to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The Mass will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 22 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica (Mission church), 1545 Tremont St. Boston. Cardinal Langlois, who is from the Lavalle area near Jacmel, was named to the College of Cardinals this year by Pope Francis.

After Sunday's Mass, Cardinal Langlois will be the guest of honor at a dinner at Boston College High School in Dorchester. Tickets for the dinner are available for $75 per ticket. Proceeds from the event support the Haitian Apostolate, which assists Haitian priests in their retirement. Tickets can be reserved by calling or texting Marie at 857-417-7250.

The new class of Haitian nursing students studying at Regis College were welcomed to the Massachusetts State Senate by Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry last week. Photo courtesy Regis

Regis College Haiti Project Advisory Board gathers this week to meet the second wave of Haitian nursing educators doing their summer semester on the College’s Weston campus. The first cohort graduated under Regis College mentorship from the University of Haiti in Port au Prince in February. They were the first Master’s in Science in Nursing professionals educated in a joint project between Haitian hospital schools of nursing, the Haitian ministry of health, and Regis College. Several of the first graduates are back on campus this month helping to mentor the next group.

Last week, they visited Senator Linda Dorcena Forry at the Massachusetts State House. Senator Forry thanked the nursing educators for their work and emphasized “the importance of applying their knowledge to participation in health policy issues.” The Haitian visitors were especially interested in Dorcena Forry’s story about her own political journey.

Haitian-American elected officials are raising concerns that the United Nations, charged with peacekeeping mandate in Haiti, may try to prevent the nation’s cholera epidemic victims from taking the organization to court.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and other Haitian-American elected officials urged the President Obama’s top diplomat to support their efforts to take the U.N. to court.

The Appellate Court decision last month to reinstate political violence crimes against former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was a momentous victory for Haitians all over the world. The court courageously challenged the impunity of the justice system, but also applied international human rights law to protect poor people for the first time in Haiti’s history.

This historic win was finally sinking in as I left the Duvalier court room on that day with Haitian lawyer Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI). With an ear-to-ear grin, Joseph declared the hearing “une victoire totale” (total victory).

State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, second from right, is flanked by Congressman Stephen Lynch and Rep. Nick Collins at Castle Island on Sunday. The three shared hot dogs from Sullivan's with Donna Gittens, left. The elected officials were there to film scenes for a video to be screened at the St. Patrick's Day breakfast on March 16. Photo courtesy Sen. Forry's office

A year ago, she was in the thick of a special election to succeed Jack Hart in the state Senate. Now Linda Dorcena Forry, who eked out a win for the Senate seat, is in the middle of another campaign: Putting together the traditional St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in South Boston.

On Sun., March 16, at 9 a.m., Dorcena Forry will become the first black person, the first woman, and the first politician from Dorchester to host the breakfast, which will be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and broadcast on New England Cable News. Last year, after Hart had stepped down, and before the special election, City Councillor Bill Linehan filled in as the host.

Like Linehan and Hart, Dorcena Forry has created a nonprofit – First Suffolk Partnership, Inc. – to help raise funds for the breakfast, which in the past has cost between $60,000 and $70,000.

UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended a 15 percent reduction in the number of U.N. troops in Haiti on Tuesday and an examination of whether the beleaguered peacekeeping operation remains the best way to support to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The force has been under intense scrutiny for years and is widely blamed for a massive cholera outbreak likely introduced by a U.N. peacekeeping battalion from Nepal. Protesters who oppose the mission have held running battles with authorities in the streets of Haiti and the country's Senate has called for its removal.

Jean Weevens Janvier: Wanted for murder of Emile sisters in 2011.Jean Weevens Janvier: Wanted for murder of Emile sisters in 2011.US Marshals are teaming up with Boston Police to find a Dorchester man who has been on the run since he allegedly murdered two sisters in their Harlem Street apartment in Nov. 2011. The United States Marshals Service is offering a reward for tips that will lead to the capture and successful prosecution of 32 year-old Jean Weevens Janvier, a naturalized US citizen who was born in Haiti and who is the only suspect in the killings of Stephanie and Judith Emile.

Janvier was indicted in the double murder by a Suffolk County Grand Jury last April. Prosecutors said that Janvier had been in a previous romantic relationship with Stephanie Emile, 21, who was found shot to death alongside her sister, Judith, 23, in their Harlem Street apartment on Nov. 14, 2011. When police responded, a toddler was found in the apartment with the two deceased sisters.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry of Dorchester hardly flinched in the mid-evening hours of Tuesday as The Boston Globe and the Associated Press were reporting that state Rep. Nick Collins, her opponent from South Boston, would win the Democratic nomination in the special election to represent the First Suffolk District in the state Senate.

Despite those calls by the local media, all the ballots in 77 precincts across South Boston, Dorchester, Mattapan, and parts of Hyde Park had not yet been counted, and when the unofficial results were posted a few hours later, it was Dorcena Forry who was on top, by 378 votes out of 21,730 cast.

See a precinct-by-precinct breakdown of the election returns (PDF).

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A new report on American aid to Haiti in the wake of that country's devastating earthquake finds much of the money went to U.S.-based companies and organizations.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research analyzed the $1.15 billion pledged after the January 2010 quake and found that the ``vast majority'' of the money it could follow went straight to U.S. companies or organizations, more than half in the Washington area alone.

Just 1 percent went directly to Haitian companies.

The conversation about HIV stigma is well overdue in the Haitian community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveillance data for HIV, from 2001 to 2007, Haitians accounted for 66.9 percent of the estimated 100,013 black adults and adolescents diagnosed with HIV infection in the United States.

Now is the time to initiate the dialogue about the stigma that infiltrates our beloved Haitian community.

This Saturday, March 23 from at 4-8p.m., former Mattapan resident I AM KREYOL: Joëlle Jean-FontaineI AM KREYOL: Joëlle Jean-Fontaine is heading up the first of what she hopes will become a monthly event, the “I AM KRÉYOL” Bazaar. She bills it as “a monthly arts’ market showcasing a variety of creative disciplines, including but not limited to fashion, visual art, music, culinary, and film.”

This 32-year-old designer and entrepeneuse is experienced at organizing free arts afternoons to attract customers to her fashion shows and displays. For example, she held one such event at the Great Hall in Codman Square during the 2011 Dorchester Open Studios.

The four-hour sale will take place at the Dorchester Arts Collaborative’s brand-new the Erick Jean Center for the Arts at 157A Washington Street, a multipurpose space named for the late Haitian community activist and lawyer.

Jean-Fontaine, who also offers styling services for photo shoots and music artists, says her KRÉYOL fashion line is inspired by her native land. "It is very important to me to show the Haitian people, especially Haitian women, as very strong, very passionate, very sensual."

On March 23, 2013, the Boston Haiti community will have an opportunity to join and amplify the fight for justice for Haiti’s cholera victims by participating in an event organized by the Boston-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) from 5-7 p.m. at Mildred Avenue Middle School, 5 Mildred Avenue in Mattapan.

The event will screen the award-winning film 'Baseball in the Time of Cholera,' followed by a panel discussion moderated by Charlot Lucien, a Haitian journalist, professor and artist. The panel will feature a diverse range of community leaders: Marie St. Fleur, Esq., Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's Chief of Advocacy and Strategic Investments; Jean Ford Figaro, M.D., Health Education Coordinator at Boston Medical Center; and Brian Concannon, Jr. Esq., Director of IJDH.

Lisa MoiseLisa MoiseLisa Moise
Boite de Chocolat

Boston’s own Lisa Moise recently released a first effort for the hearts and minds of music lovers. The independently released “Boite de Chocolat” features 10 original compositions all of which are manned by a cast of talented local musicians and producers.

It’s been a while since we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the work of a local artist and we’re happy Lisa’s release provides a chance to prominently feature a homegrown product. Boite de Chocolat being among the few releases from a female artist this year is special because Lisa represents a new generation of young women coming into the scene who may be poised to continue the work of the many fine and unsung female artists who have made serious contributions to Haiti’s expansive library of music.

“Boite de Chocolat” truly is a sweet and varied adventure in sound. The performances that stand out on this release include the acoustic-pop-hip-hop “Chanje” a song with a distinctly American instrumental bent but sung in Haitian Kreyol and enunciated with an American finesse that very few singers are able to pull off effectively.

December edition: Above, The Oath, an oil painting by Charlot Lucien, will be among the paintings displayed at a Logan Airport exhibition next month.December edition: Above, The Oath, an oil painting by Charlot Lucien, will be among the paintings displayed at a Logan Airport exhibition next month.The Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts — in conjunction with Massport and the U.S. Fund for Unicef— will launch an art exhibition at Logan airport next month. The exhibition, “Haitian Art in Transit” is described as “a celebration honoring the paintings of Haitian artists from Massachusetts and Jacmel, Haiti.”

A reception to launch the display will be held on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 5:45 p.m. The exhibition will be held in art space in the airport’s terminal A.

 About 60 magnificent pieces — many of which evoke the memory of those who perish during the 2010 earthquake — will be part of the exhibition.

Taxis in BostonTaxis in Boston

After two years driving a taxi, Yogesh Sagar has decided to seek justice.

“On a typical weekday, I might bring in $150 in fares, but with all the fees the cab company collects, there might be $40 left,” said Sagar, 58. So after weighing the risks, Sagar has volunteered to be lead plaintiff in a new lawsuit filed last month in Middlesex Superior Court against Ambassador Brattle Taxi of Cambridge.

The suit is the latest in a series of actions filed by Boston attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan on behalf of taxi drivers. Liss-Riordan is suing Boston Cab, the Independent Taxi Operators Association and other large fleet owners as well as the City of Boston for practices she contends violate Massachusetts employment law.

André AugusteAndré AugusteAndré Auguste, a businessman and the patriarch of the Auguste family of Grand Goave, Haiti, died on Sept. 2 at 88. Auguste, who owned the Yvanhoe Shoe Shop on Morton Street in Dorchester, passed away at the Westacres Nursing Home in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Born in Port-au-Prince on August 24, 1924, Andre was the oldest of five sons of Francois Auguste of Grand Goave and Felicine Desir of Jacmel.  Andre left school and went to work at an early age to support his four brothers, Jean-Felixtene, Esmangat, Gerard and Edner after the passing of his father and an illness that disabled his mother.

Human Rights Attorney Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux discusses his work to rebuild the Haitian justice system in the above video, which is part of a video series sponsored by the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Joseph has been the subject of intimidation and threats recently because of his work.

Members of the Association of Haitian Women in Boston (AFAB) are shown during a 2012 International Women's Day event in Boston.

The year is 2000 and several members of AFAB, the Association of Haitian Women in Boston, are on-air at a local radio station, talking about domestic violence. The women encourage listeners of the Haitian program to participate in an upcoming domestic violence prevention forum organized by AFAB and several other groups.