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Haitian Heritage Month

May 1 - May 31

Haiti1

It is no secret that prior to January 12th Haiti’s infrastructure was relatively volatile and insecure. Still, it is important to bear in mind and remember the island nation’s rich and unique history. The month of May carries distinctive dates that are important to Haitians and people of Haitian descent. And for the past years, Haitians in Boston, New York, and Florida have been proudly celebrating the month of May despite their country's difficult times. The rationale of this particular heritage month:

  • To remember the unity reached by the Black and Mulatto1 officers at their historic congress on May 15-18, 1803 to fight together against slavery in the French colony of St. Domingue, and for its independence, which they proclaimed on January 1, 1804.
  • To celebrate the creation of the blue and red Haitian flag on May 18, 1803.
  • To honor Haitian General Toussaint Louverture who was born on May 20 1743.
  • To celebrate Haitian achievements and contributions across the globe.
  • To raise awareness and understanding about Haitian culture and traditions.
  • To strengthen the self-esteem of Haitian/Haitian American youth.
  • To honor Haitian tradition of celebrating:
    • The month of May as Mary’s, the mother of Jesus (Haitian Catholics)
    • May 1st as Labor and Agriculture Day
    • May 17 as Teacher’s Day
    • May 18 as University Day
    • Last Sunday of May as Mother’s Day

In its 200-year history, Haiti has suffered 32 coups; the instability of government and society has hampered its progress. In addition, national governments (American, German, British, and French) have intervened (arguably unasked) in Haitian affairs since the nation declared its independence. More than anything, in spite of everything, Haitian heritage is synonymous to resiliency.

1 A now defunct denotation of a person of a mixed–black and white–ancestry. The term is widely pejorative, especially in the US.


Haitian Heritage Month Program Book Covers

 

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