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

Alleged sexual misconduct sidelines Mattapan priest

The Archdiocese of Boston has taken disciplinary action against a well-known Haitian priest — Rev. Gabriel Michel— after it learned of allegations of "adult sexual misconduct." Fr. Michel, who has been ministering in Boston since 2002, has been suspended from his duties as a priest and the Boston Archdiocese says it "has notified the Most Reverend Louis Kebreau, SDB, Archbishop of Cap-Haitien concerning this matter." He has served most recently as a parochial vicar at St. Angela's Parish and as Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Boston's Haitian Apostolate. Read more

Inside the refugee camps, resilient people leave an indelible impression

Quang TruongQuang TruongOne month after my trip to Haiti, I am discovering that I possess more memories about the trip than I knew I had.

I keep recalling a woman from a refugee camp that showed me the inside her home. Cramped and sweltering, her tiny area was bathed in a faint blue, emanating from the tarps that made up her walls. Her roof was nothing more than bed sheets held up with stakes, and two bare mattresses, one used by her and the other for her three children, were the only furniture to speak of. This was the entirety her life and the lives of her children – just bed sheets, 2 mattresses and the faint blue glow from the tarps. Read more

Church group strains to meet needs of hungry in Mattapan

Rev. Dr. Pierre Zephir: Rev. Dr. Pierre Zephir: "We've seen a big, big increase since the earthquake."A hum of Kreyol rose softly from the tiny room at the Greater Boston Nazarene Compassionate Center on River Street as local residents filed in early on a rainy Wednesday morning. Soon, I am standing nearly shoulder-to-shoulder with more than 100 people waiting eagerly for their share of the bounty of food piled high on a couple of tables inside.
The church has been running a food bank on River Street for nearly 14 years. On Wednesday mornings starting around 10 a.m., volunteers distribute parcels of food to neighbors. Most days, the center is packed long before distribution begins.
According to GBNCC's Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Pierre Zephir, the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in January has sent the food bank into overdrive due to its mainly Haitian demographic. Read more

Nancy Rousseau is a woman on the go

Nancy RousseauNancy RousseauSoon after an earthquake devastated Haiti in January, three thousand people packed Hibernian Hall in Roxbury. The high turnout, with only a few days notice, was in part thanks to Mattapan resident Nancy Rousseau and several others who organized the event.

“It was challenging to pull off that event in such a short time and be the anchor of the event on that day,” says Manolia Charlotin, Rousseau’s friend and colleague. “She was so calm. It really impressed me that she could maintain that level of calm on such a hectic day. I suppose that’s because for Nancy her work is about the people she’s helping. It keeps her focused.” Read more

St. Fleur delivers emotional farewell address to House of Representatives

State Rep. Marie St. Fleur: Will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives this year.State Rep. Marie St. Fleur: Will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives this year.State Rep. Marie St. Fleur — the first Haitian-born state official elected in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts— resigned from her Fifth Suffolk district seat that she'd held since 1999 on Friday, June 11. St. Fleur this week started a job in the Menino administration as its chief of advocacy and strategic investment. Today, she delivered a customary farewell address to members of the House of Representatives in Boston's State House. Below is a summary of her remarks as reported by the State House News Service. Via the Dorchester Reporter's Lit Drop: Read more

New cafe and bakery Belle Epoque opens doors in Brockton

Belle Epoque Grand Opening: Brockton Mayor Linda M. Balzotti cut a ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of the new Haitian-American restaurant and bakery Belle Epoque Cafe and Bakeryon Saturday, June 12.Belle Epoque Grand Opening: Brockton Mayor Linda M. Balzotti cut a ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of the new Haitian-American restaurant and bakery Belle Epoque on Saturday, June 12.

Brockton's latest Haitian-American owned business celebrated its grand opening on Saturday with encouragement from city and state leaders who turned out to welcome Belle Epoque to its new home in the Massasoit Plaza on Crescent Street. The business— which features both table and take-out service— is operated by the Devaris family, which already boasts a large client base through its catering business of the same name. Pictured above, left to right, at the ribbon cutting are Brockton City Council member Dennis DeNapoli, Mayor Balzotti, Andrew Calixte, Djennan Devaris-Calixte, owner-chef Mrs. Carolle Devaris, Kenson Calixte and his son Matthew, Brockton state Rep. Christine Canavan, State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry and Cathy Auguste.

The restaurant and cafe specializes in a wide range of culinary tastes with a Haitian flair. Mrs. Devaris is an accomplished baker with a specialty in custom designed cakes. The cafe also features a menu of Haitian-American lunch and dinner favorites. Belle Epoque is located at 793 Crescent Street, Brockton. The phone number is 508-580-0020.

Shelter and Solidarity: Boston fact-finding delegation reports on trip

Six and Counting for Haiti: The Boston-based Six and Counting for Haiti includes members Darnell Williams of the Urban League, Herby Duverne, Sabine St. Lot, Sandy Cody, Gerald Reid, and Charlotte Golar Richie with their hosts Bob and Magalie Hyppolite and Haitian Minister Edwin ParSix and Counting for Haiti: The Boston-based group includes members Darnell Williams of the Urban League, Herby Duverne, Sabine St. Lot, Sandy Cody, Gerald Reid, and Charlotte Golar Richie with their hosts Bob and Magalie Hyppolite and Haitian Minister Edwin Paraison (far left). Photo by Joel Theodat.

Sabine St. Lot and Charlotte Golar Richie recently returned from Haiti with their group, Six and Counting for Haiti; members Sandy Cody, Herby Duverne, Dr. Gerald Reid and Darnell Williams contributed to this article.

Why We Went
In less than a minute, on a late Tuesday afternoon in mid-January, Haiti experienced one of the worst natural disasters in modern times. Struck by a very powerful earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.0, nearly a quarter of a million people died (numbers vary), and homes, schools and churches instantly vanished. Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Jacmel and Petit-Goave were severely crippled and will never be the same.
Thankfully, the world responded and thousands of people from far and wide have traveled to Haiti to assist with clean-up and rebuilding efforts. And so did we: three Haitian-Americans and three African-Americans from Massachusetts, who traveled there, three months after the earthquake, from April 19th to the 23rd, to deliver tents and supplies to people in need.
Not there to compete with the large international relief organizations, which have been steadily transporting water, tents, tarps and supplies to the capital and other communities, the members of our group were determined to do what we could to lend a helping hand. In doing so, we experienced a journey that was heart-wrenching, awe-inspiring and motivating. It also was challenging. And our visit is one we will never forget. Read more

May 22 Memorial Mass to remember earthquake victims

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, May 22 at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Dorchester for victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. The Mass, which will be celebrated by Fr. William Joy of St. Angela’s parish in Mattapan, will be followed by a symbolic burial at New Cavalry Cemetery in Mattapan.
“We have a small coffin that we will ask people to fill with the names of those whom they lost in the earthquake,” said memorial organizer Collette Ostine.
The Mass will begin at 10 a.m. St. Matthew Church is located at 33 Stanton Street in Dorchester.

May 16 parade highlights Heritage Month in Boston

Unity parade set for May 16: The annual parade features marching bands, floats, dancers and dignitaries- all celebrating Haitian and Haitian-American culture. Photo by Don WestUnity parade set for May 16: The annual parade features marching bands, floats, dancers and dignitaries- all celebrating Haitian and Haitian-American culture. Photo by Don WestGovernor Deval Patrick will serve as the grand marshall of the 10th annual Haitian American Unity Parade, which will be held on Sunday, May 16 in Mattapan and Dorchester. The parade steps off from Mattapan Square and travels up Blue Hill Avenue beginning at 1p.m. Organizers say this year's event is an occasion for support and solidarity with earthquake victims.
"This year, because of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, and several surrounding areas on January 12, 2010, the annual Haitian Heritage Month/ Flag Day celebration will be focused on that tragic catastrophe," said Wilner Auguste of Haitian-Americans United, Inc., which organizes the parade.
The 15th annual Haitian Flag Raising Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 14 from 12 to 2 p.m. at Boston City Hall Plaza. It will be a memorial ceremony for those who died in the January 12 earthquake in Haiti. The Haitian flag will be flown at half- staff for the occasion. A quilt of Massachusetts residents’ relatives who died in the earthquake will be displayed at the ceremony, Auguste said. Read more

St. Fleur to work for Menino administration

State Rep. Marie St. Fleur, who earlier this year announced that she will not seek re-election this fall, will be joining the administration of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, according to a press release from Menino's office today. Her title in Menino's office will be Chief of Advocacy and Strategic Investment, which oversees Menino's lobbying efforts through his Intergovernmental Relations Offices. St. Fleur will begin her new duties in June, according to Menino's office. Read more

Immigration chief pushes eligible Haitians to apply for legal status

The nation’s top immigration official appealed for help last week as his agency struggles to convince undocumented Haitian nationals living in the U.S. before last January’s earthquake to apply for temporary legal status. Ali Mayorkas, director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), addressed a gathering of immigration lawyers and activists for more than a hour-and-a-half at the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in downtown Boston last Friday. The majority of the back-and-forth discussion that followed his brief remarks focused on the Obama administration’s response to the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti. Read more

Globe reporters share experience of covering earthquake's aftermath

Northeastern University will host a special free program with journalists and photographers from the Boston Globe sharing recent stories and images from Haiti on Wednesday, April 28 from 6-8 p.m. A representative from Partners in Health will also provide a brief update on efforts, progress, and remaining needs in Haiti. The event - which is open to the public- will be held in the university's West Village F, Room 20 Read more

April edition now available

BHR April 2010 editionBHR April 2010 editionThe April 2010 edition of the Boston Haitian Reporter, featuring the latest news and commentary from Haiti and the US, is now available at newsstands throughout Greater Boston. Read more