This movement is above individual and group and outstanding people like you can be the catalyst of this initiative. And we are looking for committed and dedicated people like you.
One day like today, we will together organize the Haitian Diaspora in the U.S.
NB: Interested, please, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information (City, County and State)
Organizing the Haitian Diaspora in the U.S.!
If the State Department has a desire to communicate important information to the Haitian Diaspora: Who they will call?
If these states, such as New Jersey, NY, Florida, Georgia, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Arizona and so on, want to communicate pertinent information to the Haitian Diaspora within their own state: Who they will call?
If the state of Haiti requested the presence of an official Delegation of the Haitian Diaspora in the U.S to attend an important function: who are going to be part of that official Delegation?
When the Haitian Parliament decides to amend the 1987 Constitution, it will create a constitutional amending commission. It will be great to include a member of the Haitian Diaspora in the U.S., Canada and so on. Who will be invited?
Today, no one in this room can answer these legitimate questions. If I ask the same questions to the Jews and the Cubans in the U.S., they will provide an answer. (The Jews and the Cubans do influence the U.S. policy toward their country.)
Ladies and Gentlemen: Organization is the key of creating a structural Haitian Diaspora in the U.S.
If we organize ourselves and put structure in place, we will be able to influence the U.S. policy toward Haiti and most significantly we will receive respect from the new Haitian generation who has been complaining tremendously ?
How to organize the Haitian Diaspora in the U.S.?
A long time ago, NY and Miami used to be the strong hold of the Haitian Diaspora but during the last 20 years we have seen score of emerging Haitian communities throughout the continental of the United States and the territories.
It is neither by chance nor accident that we convene today in Chicago, a city that was founded by a Haitian National in 1772. It is neither by chance nor accident that many of our ancestors who freed Haiti were involved in the Battle of Savannah in 1779. There is always some precedence and the Haitian people are known for their creativity and their heroine.
We have done great thing in the past and we had a great past. During our independence war, we had various groups that were fighting the French independently like we have today score of Haitian Based organizations that are assisting Haiti independently. They were winning many battles but it was impossible to win the war. The Haitian Based organizations are doing a great job in assisting the Haitian people but they were powerless in meeting all their needs and two months ago, that hunger strike can be a decisive moment to change course. On May 18, 1803 our ancestors had finally convened at Arcahais and created a Union and six months later Haiti became the second independent country after the U.S. in the new world. If all these Haitian based Organizations and willing Haitian Nationals and friends of Haiti can link themselves together, I strongly believe that they will be in a better position to assist the country effectively and efficiently.
The time to organize the Haitian Diaspora in the U. S. was yesterday and we can do it. The United States is looking forward to speak to a legitimate Haitian Representative in the Diaspora. The elected Haitian officials who are here today cannot wait to speak to a legitimate Haitian representative in the Diaspora. Today, they are talking to this group or that group and sometimes within the same city or the same state.
Two years ago, I was invited to the Atlanta Regional Commission for a snapshot. I saw the representative member of the Somalis Community, the Mexican, the Nicaraguan, the Brazilian, the Jamaican, the Congolese, and the Ethiopian and so on and I wish that the Haitians in Atlanta could have had one as well.
Many of you today are coming from various states and Haitian communities; I wish that you could have represented the Haitian communities of New Jersey, NY, Miami, Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta and so on instead of a group or your group.
Here are my suggestions:
We can create a temporary Representative Team of 11 members with willing people from various states such as Florida, NY, Illinois, New Hampshire, MA, California, and New Jersey and so on. The required criterions: they have to be involved and actually do some thing and diverse and it shall be open to all.
And at the same time, we have to organize ourselves within our individual state and also our needs are different from state to state.
1) A city Link (One representative) 2) A county Link (One representative)
3) A metro Link (One representative) 4) a District Link (One representative)
5) A State Link (One representative)
Then divide the U.S. into 4 to 5 regions
Western Region (One representative) Northern Region (One representative)
Eastern Region (One representative) Southern Region (One representative)
Midwest Region (One representative)
Each Region will then select a Regional Delegate and These five Regional Delegates are ipso facto the legitimate elected leaders of the Haitian Diaspora in the U.S.
Among them they will vote for a president (for protocol only) but all five shall have the same power and everything must be decided by an open vote.
If we arrive to put this in place, we will be in our way to assist Haiti more efficiently, influence the U.S. policy toward Haiti and Haitian Nationals and also play a political role in the U.S. and as well as in Haiti.
It is doable and it can be done. Can we use the power of the net to link every willing Haitian Community throughout the United States? Yes, we can.
If we organize ourselves, we can be soon doing the same thing the Jews and the Cubans are doing in influencing the U.S. policy toward their respective country. Most Haitian nationals who are coming here have to struggle like we did; again, if we organize ourselves, we can make their transition a little better and we can assist Haiti effectively and efficiently.
It is my hope that one day like today when the U.S. government wants to contact the Haitian Diaspora; it will meet with a legitimate Representative member of the Haitian Diaspora in the U.S. and not a group. Also, it is my hope that when a Delegation of the Haitian Diaspora visiting Haiti, it will speak for the Diaspora and not for a group.
We have to learn from our ancestors; back then, they knew that they had to unify to win the war; today, if you want to win the economic war, if you want to assist the Haitian people back home, we have no other choice but to unify our force.
On Saturday, May 31, 2008 the Democratic Party and the two remaining candidates had sent a clear message to all of us. They invited you to Compromise. It cannot be your way or no way. You can say whatever you want but they have voted with a show of hand live on TV to uphold the rules of law. The supporters of Senator Clinton wanted to count all and she lost; the same supporter asked to support the 50/50 split and life goes on.
My fellow Haitian people, we are living in a country of opportunity and a country that has always used the language of compromise to resolve its problems. We are also the product of a compromise and a Union.
La promotion de l’homme Haïtien aux Etats-Unis; La fierté de l’Haïtien; Sa capacité de travail; Ensemble on peut tout, seul on ne peut rien, il faut l’Union. Maintenant, concrétisons cette devise qui n’a jamais été appliquée en Haïti. Prenons cette devise, unissons-nous, “mettez-nous” ensemble, unissons pour être plus fort.
Joseph Alfred, MA in Foreign Language Education (USF, Tampa, FL)
Doctoral Student in Educational Leadership (Argosy University, Atlanta, GA)
World Language Dept Chair at Avondale High School
Haitian Community Relations, Inc
P.O. BOX 1022
Douglasville, GA 30133-1022