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.
Here is a picture of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and his wife Martine Marie Etienne Joseph in Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami during his first visit as president - Friday, June 16, 2017.
According to President Jovenel Moise: "We know an extension will terminate the 22nd of January 2018. But we are already prepared to seek another 12 months," he said. "I'm telling everyone who has TPS, calm down; know that you have a president who is working for you today."
Here is the map of Miami showing Little Haiti among some of the most distressed neighborhoods in Miami in 2015.
In last May, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners requested Florida International University's Metropolitan Center to prepare a community-based prosperity strategy for Miami-Dade County. The study must involve a comprehensive analysis of the economy to get into the root cause. As per the plan, the intended strategy would include a feasibility analysis of five pilot programs designed to build wealth in the distressed neighborhoods other than providing an immediate external robust look. The five initiatives proposed and analyzed in the report, which could possibly have the greatest impact in terms of wealth building, were, (a) Social Enterprise Incubators & Accelerators; (b) Community Land Trusts; (c) Community Benefits Agreements; (d) Children's Savings Accounts; and (e) Employee-owned Business Cooperatives. The glooming economy of the Haitians residents in Little Haiti is evident from a simple economic indicator: the average annual household income of Little Haiti residents is only $13,381 compared to the area mean income of $43,100!
Little Haiti has been designated an official neigh neighborhood in Miami. This is based on a resolution passed by the Miami Commissioners on May 26, 2016.
Recently, on Thursday, May 26, 2016, the Municipal Commission of Miami-Dade unanimously voted in favor of designating 'Lemon City' as 'Little Haiti' and that ended a 16-year long effort over the idea of an official 'Little Haiti' and exactly, where its boundaries should be drawn. As per recent demarcation by the Miami City Commission, the new boundaries are mentioned here in the following. In the East, it is bounded by NE 4 Avenue and NE 64th Street with NE 2 Avenue and NE 82nd Street. The West side is marked by NW 71 Street and NW 62 Street. In the North, NW 79th Street, NW 6th Avenue, N Miami Avenue, NE 82nd Street and the South boundaries are marked by NW 82 Street and NW 54 Street. Had the recognition not done at the right time, Little Haiti's existence was very much threatened by gentrification. However, the official map could not make everyone happy as it acknowledges a smaller version, a compromise that recognizes the encroachment of the Design District.
Here is a picture of the future home of The Citadel food Hall in Little Haiti.
It is a fact that Miami serves up an abundance of culture at every neighborhood, on every street corner. The city is always in a constant state to remain poised for growth and change. Recently, Conway Commercial Real Estate and Urban Atlantic Group are planning to open a 10,000-square Food Hall called "The Citadel" on Little Haiti's northern boundary on NE Second Avenue. The space with about 20 favorite restaurants is slated to open sometime next year. There will be stalls for pizza, steak, sushi, Spanish tapas, and tacos. As per Thomas Conway, the principal of Conway Commercial, there will be places for bakery, coffee, wine bar and a butcher. It will have a nice blend of local and national operators who understand how neighborhoods develop through food. The Citadel will house multiple culinary concepts, creative workspaces, retail outlets, and a rooftop bar all out of a historical location.
May 26, 2016, the day Little Haiti is officially put on the Map as a Neighborhood in Miami. With resolution sponsored by Commissioner Keon Hardamon, all the commissioners of City of Miami voted in favor of the resolution.
Little Haiti is the cultural heart for the Haitian Diaspora in the Miami neighborhood. So far there was no true definition of Little Haiti as it was very much subjective without any formal boundary-- an area broadly defined by the city as running from 38th Street to 79th Street between Interstate 95 and the Florida East Coast Railway, although the maps and official city registries use to acknowledge it to be much smaller with southern and northern borders as 54th and 82nd streets. Recently, on Thursday, May 26, 2016, , the Miami-Dade Municipal Commission unanimously voted in favor of designating 'Lemon City' as 'Little Haiti'. 'Little Haiti' will have the boundaries roughly between 54th Street and 79th Street, and Northwest Sixth Avenue and Northeast Second Avenue. The announcement came after a long sixteen years' demand and this victory was almost impossible without the effort of four former district commissioners. It was a sixteen year old argument over the idea of an official 'Little Haiti' and exactly, where its boundaries should be drawn.
Here is a picture of local philanthropist Rose Ellen Greene donated $2 million for Education in Little Haiti.
To facilitate the groundbreaking partnership between Florida International University (FIU) and Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), local philanthropist Rose Ellen Greene, a Senior Trustee at the University of Miami has donated $2 million. The joint Education Effect program (the partnership between FIU and M- DCPS is known as the Education Effect) seeks to connect the historic Little Haiti community with university expertise, resources and research-based intervention programs addressing social and educational needs. The Education Effect was first launched at Miami Northwestern Senior High School in Liberty City in 2011. The gift of $2 million is the largest donation received so far to Education Effect and that came from Rose Ellen Greene. She is a longtime volunteer at Jesse J. McCrary Jr. Elementary School. To celebrate this receipt of great contribution, FIU and M-DCPS hosted a check presentation and ice cream party with students, community leaders and parents at McCrary elementary on May 31.
Here is a picture of Little haiti Cultural Center Manager Sandy Dorsainvil.
Sandy Dorsainvil, the manager of Miami's Little Haiti Cultural Center was abruptly fired on Monday, April 4, 2016 without any explanation. Her supporters said she was blindsided. Her removal caused an uproar among her supporters and the Little Haiti community came out in full force on Thursday, May 7th, to protest her illegal dismiss and demanded answers as to why their beloved community leader was fired. She was very popular for her phenomenal contribution since November 2012 and she was fired without any reason. As per Sandy's statement, she was at the city facility at 212 NE 59th Terrace around 2 p.m. when two city employees showed up with a termination letter signed by City Manager Daniel Alfonso. She was not given any explanation or notice for expulsion, but was given few minutes time to clear her belongings from her office and leave. In a statement, the City Manager Daniel Alfonso simply described her firing as an "ongoing review" and declined for detail discussion. Under her tenure, the center hosted art and educational programs and regular community gatherings and celebrations. Sandy was working with the Miami Foundation to establish an endowment for the center. She used to oversee the Caribbean Market Place which is a replica of the Iron Market in Port-au-Prince and side by side, she worked with the Rhythm Foundation to pull off one of the City's best block party/festivals, Big Night in Little Haiti. Her supporters packed the commission chambers on Thursday, demanding her reinstatement.