Who will be Haiti’s next president?

BHR 11-10BHR 11-10The date scheduled for the first round of Haiti’s presidential and parliamentary elections, November 28, is racing towards the island. Simultaneously Cholera is racing across the countryside in the Artibonite, the Central Plateau and beyond, and Hurricane Tomas raced up the Caribbean, lashing the South of the country and cutting off all towns below Leogane from the capital. The Provisional Electoral Council maintains that they are doing everything they can to prepare, and that they are moving ahead on schedule. But serious doubts have been raised about the timetable.

Even before these crises Haiti had many obstacles to legitimate and credible elections. The voter list has not been updated since 2005, so many people who lost their lives in the earthquake are still on the list, which could facilitate electoral fraud. Many Haitians are not registered to vote, or lost their identification cards in the earthquake. For months long lines have snaked out from the National Identification Offices as people tried to fix their paper work—though the lines continued even after the publication of the voter list, and many Haitians seek identity cards to go to the bank or to deal with the police, not just to vote. Read more

Wheelock College to host forum on Nov. 18

Wheelock College's International Education Week turns its focus on Haiti on Nov. 18 with a forum featuring the college's president, Jackie Jenkins-Scott and Carole Berotte-Joseph, president of MassBay Community College. They will share their reflections from a recent trip to Haiti. Moderated by Gisele Michel, Executive Director of Boston Center for Community Justice, the conversation will provide insight on challenges facing the country and opportunities to support rebuilding efforts. Read more

Haiti braces for Hurricane Tomas; evacuations underway

Confusion, fear as Haiti camps evacuate for storm
PORT-AU-PRINCE— For nearly 10 months, more than 1 million people in Haiti's earthquake camps have been walking a precarious line: Trying to get out and find good homes without losing their tents and the few possessions they still have.

Now a potential hurricane threatens to upend that careful balance. The Haitian<** government has called for the voluntary evacuation of all the quake zone's camps ahead of Friday's expected arrival of Tropical Storm Tomas, telling people who could find nowhere else to live to suddenly go find someplace else. Read more

Roxbury forum to focus on 'rise' of Haitians locally

The organization Discover Roxbury, along with the Haley House Bakery Café will host a speaker series event focused on the history of Haitian people in Roxbury on Wednesday, October 27 at 7 p.m.. The discussion will focus on the rise, growth and culture of Haitian-Americans in the city. Read more

Cholera outbreak worsens with at least 135 dead

Four candidates for governor commit to help displaced Haitians

GBIO forum brings candidates together: All four pledged to oppose ballot questions 2 & 3. Photo by Erik JacobsGBIO forum brings candidates together: All four pledged to oppose ballot questions 2 & 3. Photo by Erik JacobsGreater Boston religious leaders this week asked the four candidates for governor to pledge that, once in office, they will create a comprehensive dwelling strategy for Haitian refugees and advocate at the federal level for legal status that will allow these families to work. All four candidates – Gov. Deval Patrick, the Democratic incumbent, Republican challenger Charlie Baker, independent candidate Timothy Cahill, and Green Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein – said “yes” at a Sunday forum at the Temple Israel of Boston. Read more

Delahunt, Lynch, Olver: Flawed Haiti election is a "recipe for disaster"

Forty-five members of Congress— including three delegates from Massachusetts—sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton a strongly-worded letter this month expressing deep concern over the upcoming November presidential election in Haiti and the exclusion of more than a dozen political parties— including Fanmi Lavalas— from the ballot.

Three of Massachusetts’ 10 members of Congress — Stephen Lynch, William Delahunt, and John Olver— signed the Oct. 7 letter authored by California’s Rep. Maxine Waters. They also raise concerns about Haitian voters having access to voting cards and polling stations, particularly those voters displaced by the Jan. 12 earthquake. Read more

AFAB honors two outstanding Haitian women on Saturday

AFAB fundraiserAFAB fundraiserThe Association of Haitian Women in Boston— AFAB— celebrates its 14th annual fundraising dinner at the First Parish Church/MeetingHouse Hil Read more

Erick Jean remembered fondly as mentor to city youth

Erick JeanErick JeanErick Jean, a Haitian-American mentor and dedicated community servant, passed away on September 15, 2010 at age 48. Jean was a graduate of Boston Trade School and a college graduate of Northeastern University. While enrolled at Northeastern, Erick pledged Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, Chi Chapter. He remained very active and worked hard to represent the fraternity’s mission and values throughout his community service.

Erick earned his law degree from Suffolk University Law School and became the first Haitian-American to have a law firm in the downtown Boston area. He practiced law for nine years. He started a law firm, Jackson and Jean, one of the premier African-American real estate law firms, servicing banks such as Bank of Boston and Fleet Bank. Read more

UMass focuses on improving and rebuilding Higher Education in Haiti

The higher education system in Haiti, which faced numerous structural challenges and academic difficulties prior to the earthquake last January, collapsed. The major task ahead is to rebuild a higher education system conducive to the future economic, political, and social development of the country. Improving and rebuilding Haiti’s education system, particularly higher education, is at the core of helping the country to realize progress and strengthen its evolving democracy. Read more

Haitian women pioneering new tech to combat violence

Haitian women are poised to pioneer the use of mobile phones in new ways that can help women across the globe to fight gender-based violence. Leveraging mobile phones, they are working to develop systems that can benefit women everywhere in accessing power and rights.

Ten months after the devastating earthquake crushed Port Au Prince, a second humanitarian crisis has unfolded among Haiti’s women and girls: A growing epidemic of gender-based violence. Women are coming together to fight this problem with the few resources they have,  organizing to provide protection for themselves and their families. Read more

Haiti Initiative launched at Brown University

Edwidge Danticat speaks at Brown University, Oct. 4, 2010Edwidge Danticat speaks at Brown University, Oct. 4, 2010On Monday October 4th, Brown University launched a Haitian Initiative with two special events featuring Edwidge Danticat, acclaimed Haitian-American author and Paul Farmer, UN Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti and co-founder of Partners in Health. The University’s Department of Africana Studies also announced a new visiting fellow, Haitian recording artist Wyclef Jean. Read more

Wyclef’s bully pulpit could be put to better use

On November 28, Haiti faces one of the most important elections since its first democratic election in 1990. Wyclef Jean’s run for President of Haiti was entertaining and brought a few weeks of limelight to the crucial elections. Before the media attention dies, a few minutes should be spent talking about the real issues involved – that the elections, which will provide the political foundation and accountability for the use of earthquake recovery funds, will likely be a sham. And unfortunately, the international community is paying for these illegitimate elections that could plunge the country into even greater chaos.
It was easy to get wrapped up in the celebrity hype around Wyclef’s candidacy. He even released a song called Prison for the CEP, protesting the decision of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (the CEP) to exclude him from the candidate list. Read more

Deval Patrick for Governor

BHR October 2010BHR October 2010The Boston Haitian Reporter, the region's leading source for news and information in the Haitian-American community, endorsed the re-election of Gov. Deval Patrick in its October edition, in circulation on Oct. 8. The full text of the endorsement follows:

Four years ago, this newspaper endorsed the candidacy of Deval Patrick because of what we saw in him: the promise of a transformational leader who would bring change to state government.
This month, we endorse his candidacy for a more concrete reason: because he has earned it.
Gov. Patrick has guided the Commonwealth through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. He has done it with poise, professionalism and with a sense of purpose that has paid off: Massachusetts’ economy is now growing at twice the rate of the rest of the nation. While unemployment remains high following the global financial meltdown of 2008, the Commonwealth has added jobs in the last six consecutive months and there are many other encouraging signs that the state is positioned to leap past most other states in job creation. None of that is accidental. Patrick has shepherded Massachusetts through the most severe crisis of the last half-century and he has distinguished himself and his administration in the process.
Even while managing a fiscal crisis of historic proportions, Gov. Patrick was able to assemble an impressive list of accomplishments: Read more

Martelly speaks on his presidential aspirations at Boston fundraiser

Martelly campaigns in Boston: The candidate greeted a young supporter at his Oct. 9 rally in Dorchester.Martelly campaigns in Boston: The candidate greeted a young supporter at his Oct. 9 rally in Dorchester.Over 200 people attended a rally in support of Haitian presidential candidate Michel Martelly last night at the Boston Teachers Union hall in Dorchester. The performer-turned-politician spoke for more than a hour to an enthusiastic audience, many of whom lined up for autographs and for a chance to ask the candidate a question. Read more

Presidential hopeful Alexis set to appear at Mattapan forum

Former Haitian Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, who is a candidate for president in the upcoming November 28th election in Haiti, is scheduled to appear at a forum on Saturday, September 25 from 5-9p.m. at the Mattapan Center for Life, 555 River St in Mattapan. Read more

St. Fleur's old House seat won by Henriquez

Carlos Henriquez narrowly beat out Barry Lawton last week to secure the Democratic nomination for the Fifth Suffolk state representative's seat left vacant earlier this year by Marie St. Fleur. Henriquez had run twice before for Boston City Council. This was Lawton's third try at the House seat. He came in second to St. Fleur in the 1999 special election which made St. Fleur the state's first elected official of Haitian descent. St. Fleur endorsed Henriquez with a recorded phone message sent to voters the day before the Sept. 14 election. Much more on the Fifth Suffolk election can be read at our sister publication, the Dorchester Reporter.

Manolia Charlotin joins staff of the Haitian Reporter

Manolia CharlotinManolia CharlotinManolia Charlotin has joined the staff of the Boston Haitian Reporter as Editor and Business Manager. Manolia is a social entrepreneur, advocate and community organizer who has worked in community development, immigrant civic engagement, political campaigns, youth organizing and cultural awareness for the last 10 years.  She is the co-founder of Haiti 2015, a grassroots campaign to advance access to opportunities in Haiti, whose launch in January, connected community-based organizations all across Haiti.
“The Reporter is excited to have Manolia Charlotin join our team,” said Reporter Managing Editor and co-founder Bill Forry. “Manolia will be charged with developing new business opportunities and editorial content for the Reporter. She will also take the lead in engaging the broader community in the work of the Reporter Newspapers. Her breadth of experience and contacts in organizing, particularly in the Haitian-American community makes her a tremendous addition to the Reporter team.” Read more

Gazzman Couleur’s new group Disip doesn’t disappoint

The talented singer/songwriter and former Nu-Look front-man, Gazzman Couleur, has unleashed his highly anticipated release with new band, “Disip”. The album hosts 13 original compositions and was backed by Miami based Tropikal Records.
The announcement of Gazzman’s sudden split with his former Nu-Look band mates in early 2010 shook the Haitian music industry to its core. While it was known among insiders that there were strained relations between Nu-Look’s leaders, no one foresaw the extent of Gazzman’s dissatisfaction with co-leader and vocalist Arly. Apparently, Gazzman had long been planning his exit strategy as no sooner did he announce his departure from new look, rumors soon surfaced that he was well underway to forming a new group with yet another former Nu-Look member, guitarist – Gabriel Laporte. Soon thereafter the name of the group was broadcast on industry websites and promoters jumped at the chance to capitalize on the interest generated by the dissolution of one of the industry’s most popular partnerships.   Read more

President Obama can do more to help Haitian families

Sept. 2010 edition: Now on newsstandsSept. 2010 edition: Now on newsstandsIt took a 7.0 earthquake, one of the worst natural disasters in history, for the Obama Administration to grant Haitians Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which commentators long before said was merited due to four storms which devastated Haiti in 2008.
Now an issue of equal importance requires administration action, one on which stalwart allies like Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry, Rep. Jim McGovern and other Commonwealth congressional delegation members can help.

In 2007, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created a Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program bringing thousands of beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions to the United States despite the visa backlog which keeps similarly- approved beneficiaries from Haiti and elsewhere waiting interminably back home.

After the January 12 quake, former Reagan and Bush Administration official Elliot Abrams urged increasing legal immigration from Haiti to generate millions in additional remittances. (“What Haiti Needs: A Haitian Diaspora,” Washington Post, January 22.) He noted the centrality of remittances to Haiti’s economy and accurately predicted that pledges from donor nations would never materialize. Read more

Jazz Café hosts Souls United for Haiti event

It has been eightmonths since Haiti’s entire infrastructure was torn into pieces. News reports of the traumatic earthquake have slowly dissipated. In Boston, On August 8, with very few sitting, over 60 Haitian leaders, artists and supporters—stood alongside the walls of the Jazz Café and Bar in Roslindale, to support the Soul for Haiti: “We Can’t Forget” benefit.
The spirit of unity was present. Souls united not only to remember the devastating earthquake that shook the entire foundation of Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Jacmel and Petit-Goave—but more importantly, to brainstorm Haiti’s development on a long-term basis.
In just a few days, organizers Nancy Joseph and Lory Guerrier were able to plan a seamless event that included a buffet dinner, two guest speakers and ample entertainment. The turnout was greater than they had expected. Read more

President Wyclef Jean? Mixed reactions from local Haitians

If I was president,
I'd get elected on Friday, assassinated on Saturday,
and buried on Sunday.

Fafa GiraultFafa GiraultThese are words to the song “If I Was President” written by Wyclef back in 2004. Six years later, he announces (tonight) on CNN's "Larry King Live" that he intends to run for president of Haiti in the country's Nov 28 election.
The 37-year-old Grammy award winner has always given back to Haiti. The recording artist and now politician has been a goodwill ambassador for Haiti since 2007.
Like many, I always saw Wyclef as a world wide representativefor Haiti. He put Haiti on the map and made being Haitian cool for many of us. All of a sudden Haitian people who denied they were Haitian came out the woodwork— some wearing Haitian flags even. Classic. Read more

Children of the Quake learn to learn in a new land

Sherline Gustave: One of many Haitian nationals now studying in the Boston Public School system, she survived the Jan. 12th earthquake and moved to Boston last February. She is pictured above in a classroom at Hyde Park High. Photo by Tara W. MerriganSherline Gustave: One of many Haitian nationals now studying in the Boston Public School system, she survived the Jan. 12th earthquake and moved to Boston last February. She is pictured above in a classroom at Hyde Park High. Photo by Tara W. MerriganSherline Gustave, 18, slept on the streets of Port-au-Prince for weeks after January’s earthquake leveled her family’s home.

“I felt the house shaking and it crumbled just as my family and I got outside,” said Gustave in her native Haitian Creole—translated to English by her teacher, Evelyn Prophete. “We [Gustave and her family members] were sleeping out in the street in the sun and even in the rain.

Hoping to find a better life, Gustave and her sisters emigrated from Haiti to Boston in February. Gustave, who resides in Brighton, is one of 159 students who have entered the Boston Public Schools (BPS) system since the earthquake devastated Haiti on Jan. 12. They are among the thousands of Haitian nationals who have either traveled to the U.S. since the disaster or who moved here in the months prior to the quake and have been granted temporary protected status (TPS) by the U.S. government. Read more

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. Read more