Little Haiti Business and Cultural District, Flatbush New York
Little Haiti of New York, spanning a large portions of Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues, from Parkside Avenue to Avenue H in New York City has been officially designated. This section of Brooklyn where generations after generations of Haitians have landed has been finally designated. We can all say that there is now a Little Haiti In Flatbush and another one in Miami, Florida.
June, 2018: Haitian-Americans gathered in Flatbush street corner to celebrate the creation of "Little Haiti Business and Cultural District.". The area was previously designated "Little Caribbean"
As per news dated June 5, 2018, after years of meetings and planning, the New York City Council announced a ceremonial resolution to name a certain section of Flatbush "Little Haiti." Rodneyse Bichotte, State Senator Kevin Parker, and Councilmember Jumaane Williams, along with local organizations and community members are among the spearheads to designate a part of Flatbush as the Little Haiti Cultural & Business District.
However, according to Rodneyse Bichotte, who is the first Haitian-American to be elected to the State Legislature from New York City, although the Haitian community supports the designation of both 'Little Haiti' and 'Little Caribbean,' "the decision to name Flatbush Avenue 'Little Caribbean' was done without enough community support or involvement."
The proposal generated support mostly from Haitian communities like the Haitian American Caucus, Haitian American Business Network Chamber of Commerce and Haiti Cultural Exchange. Even the move of Bichotte and a host of other elected officials and activists to name "Little Haiti" has been met with criticism and termed as "misguided" and one of "division."
In an email to Bichotte, a host of some elected officials, including Council Member Mathieu Eugene and Rep. Yvette D. Clark, Ernest Skinner, a local community organizer and activist, have asked, "When did Haiti stop being part of the Caribbean? Sowing division may be why Haiti has never been able to reach its full potential."
The designation for "Little Caribbean" was initiated by Flatbush native Shelley Worrell, founder of CaribBEING, a local non-profit cultural institution founded in 1999. CaribBEING celebrates Caribbean heritage in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Flatbush, Brooklyn. She is a longtime supporter of the Little Caribbean and she is trying to preserve and celebrate Caribbean food, culture and small businesses in this area. Shelly bought a shipping container and turned it into a pop-up art space. She transformed every inch of her container with the feel of a breezy, beachside Caribbean aura.
In a statement Bichotte has said that Haiti has had a unique position within the Caribbean -- it is geographically in the Caribbean, but not of the Caribbean. History has created its distinct identity which is why Haitians have had to build separate communities and organizations in order to survive.