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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.

On Sunday, March 23rd, community activists will gather at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem to celebrate the 22nd annual Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice. The award will be presented to Mario Joseph and Brian Concannon, Jr. in recognition of their work to promote human rights in Haiti.

A self-portrait by Mathieu Jeanbaptiste.

Thanks to a group of generous Boston-based artists, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) will hold an online Haitian art auction beginning January 10, 2014.

The Andrew Square-based IJDH helps individual Haitians enforce their basic rights—in the courts, in police stations, and on the streets—in ways that force the justice system to work better for all Haitians. The featured artists all hail from Haiti and include Boston Haitian artists Charlot Lucien, Colette Brésilla, Renold Laurent, and Fritz Duchiene. The auction also features a self-portrait by up-and-coming artist, Mathieu Jeanbaptiste.

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.

Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, introduced by Senate President Therese Murray as "another Dorchester girl," joined the Upper Chamber just after 2 p.m. Thursday after being sworn in by Gov. Deval Patrick.

"There is work we are going to do together," a jubilant Dorcena Forry said in remarks from the Senate rostrum.

Dorcena Forry called for her colleagues to work together and to rise above politics and campaigning, and described Murray, a Plymouth Democrat with Dorchester roots, as "an inspiration to me."

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.

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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).

Toussaint L'Ouverture portrait by de GirardinToussaint L'Ouverture portrait by de GirardinIn commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and of the first black Civil War troops from the North, several Greater Boston educational, historical, and cultural organizations are collaborating to present Freedom Rising: The 150th Anniversary of The Emancipation Proclamation and African American Military Service in the Civil War from May 2 through 4, 2013.

On Saturday, May 4, a special performance called "Roots of Liberty – The Haitian Revolution and the American Civil War" will be staged at the Tremont Temple Baptist Church, 88 Tremont St., Boston at 5 p.m.. Produced by Underground Railway Theater, in residence at Central Square Theater, the performance will include special guests Danny Glover, author Edwidge Danticat, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Danny Glover will be performing one of the key historical figures in Roots of Liberty.

The first-ever performance celebrates the Haitian revolutionary hero Toussaint Louverture and the impact of the Haitian Revolution on the American Civil War – the antislavery movement and African American soldiers. It is set in Boston’s historic Tremont Temple, where the Emancipation Proclamation was read in 1863.

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.

Patrick SylvainPatrick SylvainAs 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?”

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.

We usually reserve Christmas reviews for new releases but as this season promises to be lean on that end we’ll take a look back to celebrate an artist who was Haiti’s musical Santa. This year, we celebrate the memorable releases of artist Coupe Cloue. In many ways Gesner Henry aka “Coupe Cloue” was Haiti’s version of American Funk pioneer James Brown - an artist whose talents were such that he not only mastered the commercial trends of his day but eventually transcended them to concoct his own inimitable sonic cocktail.

Patrick SylvainPatrick SylvainThe relative jubilee over Michel Martelly’s victory in the Haitian presidential elections after the statistical rearrangements by the Organization of American States soon after the primaries in March 2011 that had placed Martelly in second place was seen as a political intervention. Such intervention allowed him to square off against Mirlande Manigat, a conservative constitutional law professor and a former first lady who appeared distant from the social suffering of Haitians and even remotely out of date when compared to the flamboyant Martelly who was well coached and extremely ambitious to attain the pinnacle of Haitian power.

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.

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, OCT. 17, 2012….Flights into Logan International Airport arrive from all over the world, but according to two complaints, a company hired to clean some airplanes took a hard line against workers speaking Haitian Creole.

“It’s discrimination,” said Charles Pierre, a Lynn resident who came to the area in March 2010, shortly after a devastating earthquake that killed his mother.

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.