State Assemblymembers Rodneyse Bichotte, Michaelle Solages, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Clyde Vanel and Ellen Jaffee, as well as Senators Kevin Parker, David Carlucci and Leroy Comrie, on Tuesday, May 30 hosted more than 100 of their dignitaries, colleagues and constituents as part of Haitian Unity Day in Albany.
Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn and whose parents are from Haiti, said Haitian Unity Day was originated by Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee, who represents Rockland County and has a significant Haitian population in her district.
“It was created so that Haitian Americans from throughout the State would have a day to share and celebrate their culture,” Bichotte said.
She said participants enjoyed a tour of the Capitol and lunch provided by Roy’s Caribbean.
They also had an opportunity to be acknowledged on the Assembly floor, and visited the Senate Chamber as well, she said.
This year, Bichotte said the sponsors honored J. Philippe Abraham, the first Haitian and the first higher education member to be elected to statewide office as first vice president for New York State United Teachers (NYSUT).
Among Abraham’s many accomplishments is s being a product of public schools, teaching at the middle, high school and college levels, “and being a voice for all that he represents in his many capacities including his roles as vice president, chair and co-chairs of various committees, Bichotte said.
She said Abraham is also chief negotiator for contracts for the United University Professional (UUP) and a delegate for the National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and NYSUT.
Among the dignitaries who attended the event on the capitol was Dieudonne Etienne Luma, the only female senator in Haiti’s parliament, and Dr. Jean Eddy St. Paul, founding director of the Haitian Studies Institute (HSI) at Brooklyn College.
There were musical performances by Monique Jean Pierre, Tatiana Myriam Nicoleau, and Ester Duclair, Bichotte said.