A Legacy of National Disunity

Patrick SylvainPatrick Sylvain

Fighting for power at the expense of the nation is nothing new in Haiti. A paternalistic state that has thrived on totalitarianism and corruption, Haiti’s history as a cohesive political nation was short lived.

And today, Haiti cannot be fully considered a viable political nation, despite having a constitution, a parliament, a judiciary and an executive. Haiti’s peril is due to not only the refusal of the West to compensate for its carnivorous colonial past and lingering market-driven need for dominance, but also to its own self-imposed post-slavery military culture and the divergent political views linked to the colonial affiliations of our founding fathers. Read more

Important to coordinate advocacy

In the 18 months since the earthquake, the Haitian community has remained fervently involved in Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction. Diaspora leaders, Haiti scholars and human rights advocates have held numerous conferences, community meetings and forums. Throughout these efforts, the need for deeper diaspora involvement in long-term policy advocacy continues to permeate the conversation. It has become apparent that the voice of the estimated 1.5 million Haitians need to be heard where policies are developed in key U.S. power centers such as Washington DC. Read more

Fashion show supports non-profits’ work

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.” Read more

Boxer fights to represent parents’ homeland in the 2012 Olympics

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. Read more

Man charged in ‘04 cold-case murder

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. Read more

No bail for man charged with killing Julaine Jules

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. Read more

Immigration officials, advocates encourage Haitians to file for TPS

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.” Read more

Information session about TPS for Haiti set for June 20

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. Read more

I AM KREYOL Fundraiser

Jun. 26, 2011 - 7:00 pm

I AM KREYOL Fundraiser
..for Boston Mothers Care & Physicians for Haiti
This event is a collaboration of talents, coming together for one common goal... LOVE = SERVICE

with Special Performances by: Read more

GBIO's "Moving from Debt to Assets" 5th Anniversary Action

Jun. 16, 2011 - 7:00 pm

Moving from Debts to Assets 5th Anniversary Action

Join us as we celebrate this great milestone!

697 lives changed in 6 different languages! 239 Haitian graduates of the program!

We are expecting more than 400 people from all across the Boston area, all coming together to celebrate the accomplishments of the past 5 years, and to look ahead to continued success, as we make sure that people have the tools to build strong futures for themselves, their families, and their communities. Read more

"For Colored Girls" at Hibernian Hall

Jun. 17, 2011 - 8:00 pm

Urban Fresh presents
"For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf"
at Hibernian Hall

Roxbury, MA. – Ntozake Shange's critically acclaimed play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf" makes its way to Hibernian Hall on June 17, 2011 at 8pm. Read more

Foreclosure Community forum in Malden

Jun. 16, 2011 - 6:00 pm

ARE YOU FACING FORECLOSURE?

Know anybody who is?

Are you tired of the banks making profits while our neighborhoods are falling apart?

Join the Bank Tenants Movement! Read more

Martelly’s Bittersweet Challenges

Jocelyn McCallaJocelyn McCalla

President Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly faces daunting challenges and high expectations as he prepares to preside atop a dysfunctional government. Amongt his challenges are a newly minted parliament that seeks to score high early on.

First, the positive: Martelly has staked part of the success of his administration on its ability to make primary school education universal and real. Few in Haiti believe that he can pull it off, given the costs of building an entirely new structure, the estimated 500,000 school children denied the opportunity since time immemorial and the paucity of trained teachers and school administrators. Yet education is perhaps the most effective weapon against chronic poverty and Haiti remaining an international charity case. By making schooling a priority, at the very least Martelly sends a strong signal that he’s willing to try.

However, meeting domestic and international expectations is another story. In principle, democracy disallows arbitrary rule, forcing the Executive to argue, battle and perhaps compromise with the legislature. While Haiti’s parliament appears to be dominated by INITE party members, in reality it is quite fragmented. The party was cobbled together in 2010 when then President René Préval was deemed to have the upper hand: many rent-seekers hedged their bet by running for office under INITE’s umbrella. They are likely to not act in unison but as an eclectic group of elected officials that will shift and play musical chairs in accordance with the prevailing winds. Read more

Boston–based project to improve kids’ literacy in Haiti

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. Read more

From Independence, Betrayal, to Civil War

Patrick SylvainPatrick Sylvain

“The Haitian Revolution was accomplished on the one hand by slaves who were fighting primarily for the right to own themselves; and on the other by men, half free, who were contending primarily for the other half of freedom—their rights as French citizens. …They found themselves under the necessity of forming a political organization before they had grown into social being or had developed the consciousness of national life. Their consciousness was purely military, and the army was with them the nation.”
— Theophilus G. Stewart, 1914

The Haitian revolution, while notable for its accomplishment of defying the supremacy of racial injustice, also brought forth the notion that human beings should have the right to live as they so desire. It shattered the concept of total control imposed from without that had been situated within the European dominated system of Atlantic Slavery.

At the same time however, the Haitian revolution revealed the contradictions espoused by a systematically and brutally oppressed people who themselves sought power and self-rule. It clearly showed how the sword could serve as an instrument to both oppress and to liberate. Read more

After outcry, forced evictions halted in tent camps ... for now

Melinda MilesMelinda Miles

At the Place St. Pierre there are considerably fewer families living under tarps then there were only a couple of months ago. The Mayor of Petionville’s program of offering each family 20,000 Haitian gourdes (about $500 US) to leave the park has led to a thinning of the camp. Even though $500 will not get a family into a safe housing situation, desperation has led many to accept the funds (which they use for immediate health, food or tuition needs) and then find an equally or even more precarious place to live.

After more than twenty-four hours of rain, the Place St. Pierre smells like something there are no words to describe. Overflowing portable toilets, garbage that floats down during the rains from the homes and businesses in the mountains above, and hundreds of people still living in the mud and fetid puddles. One breath of the air outside the camp is enough to convince anyone that people would never voluntarily choose to remain in the camp if they had any other alternative.

Last week the Mayor of Delmas, Wilson Jeudy, took a different approach. Instead of offering money to homeless earthquake survivors, he simply showed up with agents from his office and Haitian National Police and without warning began to destroy the tarps and tents of families at the intersection of the Delmas and Airport Roads (Kafou Ayopò). Several hundred people living in the park were evicted without warning and without a relocation plan. Piles of tarps donated by the American Red Cross and USAID were strewn amongst the few possessions these families had. These forced evictions are taking place in the midst of the rainy season. Homeless families are now without even the most rudimentary shelter and have nowhere else to go. Read more

Gov Patrick opts against joining Secure Communities program

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. Read more

Report questions official Haiti quake death toll

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Far fewer people died or were left homeless by last year's devastating earthquake than claimed by Haitian leaders, a report commissioned by the U.S. government has concluded — challenging a central premise behind a multibillion-dollar aid and reconstruction effort. Read more

Mattapan forum puts focus on changes to TPS

TPS forum at HAPHI on May 23, 2011TPS forum at HAPHI on May 23, 2011On Monday, the Association of Haitian Women in Boston (AFAB) helped to coordinate a forum about the recent Temporary Protected Status (TPS) extension granted to Haitians by the United States. A panel of public officials and immigration experts gathered at the new offices of the Haitian American Public Health Initiative (HAPHI) in Mattapan to present further details to the Haitian community about this extension. Panelists included Dennis Riordan from US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) , State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, Matt Maiona from American Immigration Lawyers Association and Carline Desire, executive director of AFAB.

On May 17, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the extension of TPS for roughly 48,000 Haitian nationals who currently have the designation. The extension will be effective July 23, 2011 and allows Haitian beneficiaries to remain in the U.S. an additional 18 months - through Jan. 22, 2013. Read more

U.S. extends TPS for another 18 months

Haitians who received "Temporary Protected Status" — or TPS— from the U.S. government last year got good news today: They can stay in the U.S. for an additional 18 months, per the order of the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. She announced the extension today and it will be effective July 23, 2011— meaning that Haitian beneficiaries can remain in the United States through Jan. 22, 2013. Roughly 48,000 Haitian nationals have received TPS designation. Read more

Martelly wants business leader as next prime minister

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Haiti's new president wants a business leader to serve as his prime minister, a government official said Sunday.

The official announcement that President Michel Martelly wants Daniel-Gerard Rouzier to be the country's No. 2 official comes one day after Martelly, a charismatic pop star known as ``Sweet Micky'', was sworn in as Haiti's next leader in back-to-back ceremonies at a makeshift Parliament and on the lawn of the National Palace, which collapsed in last year's crippling earthquake.

Parliament must still ratify Rouzier to the post. Read more

Boston Haitian 'pioneers' honored at Reporter luncheon

Boston Haitian Pioneers: (l-r) Reverend Verdieu Laroche, founding pastor of First Haitian Baptist Church; Dr. Nicole Prudent, MD, Boston Medical Center; and Marc Prou, Ph.D., UMass-Boston. Photo by Don West.

More than 300 people were on hand this afternoon for the first-annual Boston Haitian Honors awards luncheon, hosted by the Boston Haitian Reporter to mark its tenth year of publication. The event included keynote remarks by Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, which has provided critical health services to the people of Haiti for more than 25 years. Read more

Ten years later, the mission remains the same

Bill ForryBill ForryThe idea to spin off a specific English language newspaper in the Boston Haitian community was one that I had long cultivated as the editor of the Dorchester Reporter, which my parents founded in 1983. The Haitian paper was loosely modeled on the Boston Irish Reporter, which was launched in 1990 with a similar mission for the Irish-American community.

The Boston Haitian community, I felt, was poised to blossom over the next decade and it deserved a dedicated publication to chronicle its rise and a forum to discuss the complicated policy issues that were sure to develop along the way. Read more

Pastor Eddy Laguerre to lead Sunday's Unity Parade

Pastor Eddy LaguerrePastor Eddy LaguerrePierre Eddy Laguerre has been named the Grand Marshall of the May 15th Haitian Unity Parade by Haitian-Americans United, Inc. The parade, now in its 11th year, steps off from Mattapan Square on Sunday, May 15 at 1 p.m. The parade ends at Talbot Ave. in Dorchester. Tens of thousands of Haitian-Americans and friends line Blue Hill Avenue or participate in the parade.

Pastor Laguerre has been in pastoral ministry for the last 30 years. He has pastored many churches throughout the vast territory of the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. He started his pastoral mission in Brooklyn, New York thenjourneyed through Temple Salem in Dorchester, Golgotha in West Roxbury, Ephese in Providence, Rhode Island, Brockton Temple, Philadelphie in Malden and the Cape Cod Haitian American church in Hyannis. Read more

US House seeks accounting of aid money

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. House of Representatives asked the Obama administration Tuesday to come up with an accounting of how humanitarian and reconstruction aid is being spent in Haiti, which has been slow to recover from the devastating earthquake of more than a year ago despite an outpouring of U.S. and international assistance.

``The unprecedented relief effort has given way to a sluggish, at best, reconstruction effort,'' said Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, sponsor of the legislation requesting that President Barack Obama prepare a report within six months of the bill's enactment on the status of the aid campaign in Haiti, including the fight to combat an outbreak of cholera. Read more