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18055: Nlbo; Some January reflection gatherings (fwd)

From: Nlbo@aol.com

                                        Reflection Sessions on Haitian
Independence Day

As part of series of reflection sessions on community building and improving
interpersonal and family relationships  that will occur throughout the year
in Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Long Island Haitian Apostolates (Catholic
Communities),   Newark, New Jersey  held its first  day long mini-convention earlier
in the month. The theme was Kole Tet, Bati Kay- Ann Konbat Divizyon pou nou
Rebati Haiti ,  Put our heads together to build houses ( our community) Let’s
Challenge Division so we  can Rebuild Haiti .

This past Saturday (1-18-04) Alumni of the  Pastoral College  in  New York,
New Jersey area gathered  close to three hundred Haitians from Canada, Boston,
and the New York Metropolitan vicinity under the theme developed by Guillaume
Garilus " Importance des relations Interpersonnelles dans la croissance
humaine et  spirituelle”. On Sunday (1-19-04) The community on Long Island gathered
about 150 as Dr. Georges Fouron and Gina Cheron developed the theme
Haitian-Americans: A crossroad Between Homeland and Home. Dr.Fouron addressed the
“transnationalism” nature of the Haitians in the diaspora. Ms. Cheron emphasized the
need for various agencies and providers to collaborate, to share resources.
If we are a strong community, we can impact Haiti as the jews influence
policies in Israel, Cheron asserted.

On Saturday January, 3, 2004 two speakers Mr. Max Auguste and Rev. Jomanas
Eustache  set the themes at the theater of St. Patrick School in Jersey City,
New Jersey. Mr Auguste gave an historical overview of Haiti and the events that
have unfolded in the last two centuries.  Father Eustache, a canon lawyer and
a visiting scholar at Seton Hall used article 52 of Haiti’s constitution to
develop his topic.  “Notre Droit et devoir étant citoyen.” In a nutshell, as a
citizen we have to make sure the laws are enforced, obey the law,  pay taxes,
protect the environment, perform  jury duty, and others. The latter
intervention struck the participant because most Haitians were not aware that jury duty
is mandatory in Haiti. Many jurors don’t go to jury duty for many reasons
including fear and retaliation if the defendant is found guilty. After the small
group discussions, many concluded Haitians need to be educated on Haiti’ s law.

    The followings are the  questions that were discussed in small groups

1. Ki posibilite ki eksiste pou  fòmil “kole tèt, bati kay la rapote siksè?
    What are the existing posibilities so the formula “ Put our heads
together to build our community” would be successful?

2. Ki kontribisyon ayisyen ka p viv lan diaspora a ka pote lan realizasyon
lapè ak antant lan peyi a ak lan kominote nou?
What contributions can Haitians  in the diaspora make to  bring peace and
positive relationship in the community?

3. Endividyèlman kisa chak ayisyen ka fè pou antant reyalize lan peyi a, lan
kominote nou.
Individually what can each Haitian do so peace and unity can materialize in
the country and in our community?

4. Kòman nou ka respekte konstitisyon ak lwa peyi , epi anviwònman an.
(Koman nou chak aplike atik 52?)
How do Haitians respect Haiti’ s constitution, the law as well as the
environment. {How do we apply Haiti’s article 52? (discussed throughout the group
5.  Kòman nou ka travay pou lapè tout bon vre?
How can we work for sincere and authentic peace?

A substantial set of patriotic hymns, poetries, reflections that the Catholic
community in Jersey City put together for the Haitian bicentennial were very
compelling. The essay written by Oswalvo Bobo for the centennial in l904 is
not different compare to what could be written hundred years later.

I am sharing these experiences so everyone  could reflect on the plenary
questions. As I have been saying for a year, we need to come together in Boston to
build the third largest Haitian community in the United States. Individual
achievements do not make us a strong community. The western community looks at
the big picture, not  isolated groups. As an educator, my primary concern is
the low achievement of black K-12 students.  As Haitians, we are black. If our
children are not being educated, our future as a race is questionable. The
Latinos met last October to address the achievement gap. As Haitians, we need to
remember this African proverb” It takes a village to raise a child.” If the
Haitian village in Boston is not strong, not active, not coherent, our children
will not receive the good education that we value so much in the Haitian
culture. Regardless of our backgrounds, be it first of second generation, the need
to reflect on our future as an ethnic community in this country is more than
ever an imperative.

I am grateful of  the dilligent effort that all directors, coordinators of
the New York, Long Island, New Jersey area Haitian Catholic Apostolates have
exibited. They  have  gone beyond the boundaries of their parishes or dioceses
in order to bring several generations of Haitian together to reflect on
pertinent issues. By attending the last touch based meeting Saturday, I am left with
the impression there is a working committee of a dozen or so people who
organize events regularly so 150 visionaries can meet to plan for the community
while making certain there are year long activities for the remainder estimated
40,000 Haitians in the Long Island community.

I have no words to express how I felt in Long Island Sunday to be among 30,
40, 50 year old haitians who were born and educated in the United States,
whereas in Boston  the 20 year olds  are not involved in the community. Thank you
Maryse and Father Moise for keeping and bringing together Haitians of several
generations, all faiths and social classes, and in the Haitian case of all skin
tones. Attending  the gathering in Long Island, I felt that Haitian
mullattos, grimeaus, grimelles, grifonne, marabous, noires, and negresses had traveled
the milestones, have lived the experiences that allow them to transcend
linguistics and social barriers that have been roadblocks in the Haitian society and
culture. The majority of the 150 in Long Island left me with the impression
they are doing the “working”, not just the “talking”.