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Celebrating Haitian Heritage Month During the Pandemic

Posted By Sergy Odiduro
May 14, 2020 at 5:57 PM

There’s no reason to miss out on Haitian Heritage Month, even during the pandemic.
With most events eliminated, there are still a number of ways to celebrate.

If you’re completely new to Haitian history, then watching this video is a good place to start. In it, enslaved Africans, in what was once known as the richest colony in the world, conquer Napoleonic forces in a stunning defeat. Their uprising serves as an inspiration to freedom fighters everywhere.

If you prefer to leave history up to the historians, then this is the perfect time to explore Haitian literature. Miami Dade Public Library has a variety of ebooks and resources. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, God Loves Haiti and Haiti Noir are just some of the titles that are available.

Haitian-themed literature can also be found at the Little Haiti Book Fair. Their online event is slated for the last weeks of Haitian Heritage Month and will continue through the month of June. Additional information will be announced on their website once event details are finalized.

Are you looking for an intimate conversation with a well known Haitian author? Then the Miami Book Fair has what you want. On Thursday, May 14th at 7 p.m. The fair will present: “A Virtual Evening With Edwidge Danticat and Francesca Momplaisir.”

Lissette Mendez, director of programs, said that they have adjusted their programming to reflect current conditions. “We feel grateful that even now, within the constraints placed on us by Covid19-related distancing measures, we are able to continue sharing programs highlighting Haitian literature and culture,” said Mendez. Participants who are unable to watch live will still be able to access past events HERE.

Literary arts are just one of the many contributions from the Haitian community. Whether it’s the founding of the city of Chicago, the Louisiana Purchase, or its influence on New Orleans’ cuisine, Haitians and their descendants have left an indelible mark on America’s landscape, and Little Haiti is no exception.

For those who want a behind-the-scenes look at the neighborhood, The Florida Humanities Council is offering a 12-stop virtual tour.

Cidelca, of Tap Tap tours, is also offering Q&A informational sessions in lieu of the La Perle de Miami: Little Haiti Tours. The event, open to a limited number of patrons at a time, is complimentary during Haitian Heritage Month. Call (786) 222-4735 or email taptaptoursmiami@gmail.com for more information.

Here’s a great opportunity to tap into your creative side. The City of North Miami is inviting its residents to share memories regarding the Haitian-American community with the “I am Haitian Video Storytelling Project.” Email kphilppeaux@northmiamifl.gov a link to your submission by noon, May 22nd. Click HERE for a complete list of guidelines. Top entries will be featured on NoMi TV.

May 18th is traditionally Haitian Flag Day and you can still grab your flag and wave! Click HERE for more information on Next Summits’ live streamed Haitian Flag Fest. You can also groove with North Miami’s own virtual celebration.  Call their Parks and Recreation department at (305)895-9840 for additional details.

 

What’s a celebration without authentic Haitian music? Klass, a popular Compas band, is hosting a free online concert on May 31st. Jean H. Richard, producer, drummer, and singer for the group, said that they would like to offer some relief for their fans. Klass will not only celebrate Haitian Heritage Month but Haitian Mother’s Day as well.

“Because of this situation, everybody’s at home and not working. [Our fans] have been there for us so we want to be there for them,” said Richard. “We are stepping into their homes to bring them some fun and we’re going to keep doing that till this matter is resolved.” Enjoy a sample of their music online or call 786-306-6449 for more details.

The Haitian Heritage Museum is offering a more subdued event on Thursday, May 28 at 6:30 p.m. A lecture entitled, “168 Words That Didn’t Change the World: The Condemnation of Slavery Removed from the Declaration of Independence” has been moved online. Additional details can be obtained HERE.

Despite the celebrations, there are many in the community who are dealing with the emotional impact of the quarantine. The Haitian Mental Health Think Tank and the Association of Black Psychologists South Florida want to help. Their event entitled Haitian Liberation, Consciousness & Black Mental Wellness will be held at noon on Saturday, May 16.

“This month is Haitian Heritage Month and Mental Awareness Month and we’re doing this in response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Charlene Desir, a presenter at the event. “We’re seeing how this is affecting the Haitian population.”

“It’s up to us to step back and to not only look at liberation but what happens beyond liberation and how do we begin to thrive as a community.” Desir continued, “this pandemic really brought to the surface some of the issues that we face and how we get to mental wellness.” Visit HERE for registration and more information.

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