Brooklyn Democratic Party leader, Haitian American, New York State Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte very early New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2021 — celebrated in the Haitian community as Haitian Independence Day — wed her compatriot Edu Hermelyn, a district leader in Brooklyn, in an intimate ceremony at the Hillary Hotel, downtown Brooklyn.
Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, told Caribbean Life, in an exclusive interview, that the ceremony was witnessed by their parents and presided over by an undisclosed “close friend.”
The 42nd Assembly District comprises Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn.
“We wanted to bring in our union on this day, as it signifies the strength of the slave abolitionist winning against the French, making Haiti the first Black independent country (in the Western Hemisphere),” said Bichotte, who is also State Committee Woman/District Leader for the 42nd District.
“It symbolizes the flag that shows that, with unity, there is strength,” she added. “As you can see, we paid homage to our ancestors and our elders, our moms, to respect and honor the blood sweat and tears for our freedom.”
The Haitian Declaration of Independence from France was proclaimed on Jan. 1, 1804 in the port city of Gonaïves by Jean-Jacques Dessalines, marking the end of the 13-year long Haitian Revolution, according to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.
Dessalines, who was brought to the French West Indian colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) as a slave, was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1805 Constitution, Wikipedia said.
Immediately after the ceremony, Bichotte said she and her husband drank the traditional Soup Joumou, a soup that Haitians drink on Haitian Independence Day.
Bichotte said it is made with vegetables and meat “as a celebration of the freed slaves.”
The Brooklyn Democratic Party boss also said that, after the ceremony, she and her husband distributed slices of the “individually-wrapped and delivered” cake, baked by the popular Allan’s Bakery, on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, to friends and family, “who could not attend the ceremony due to COVID-19.”
“I am a stronger person because of this bond, because of our friendship,” she affirmed.
In response, Hermelyn – the District Leader and State Committee Member of the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn, comprising the neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens – said tersely “a strong partnership is a lifetime commitment.”
Bichotte said she and Hermelyn, whose mother is Haitian and father Guyanese, first met, 10 years ago, when she became a district leader for the 42nd District.
She said they worked “side-by-side on several campaigns and worked with various community-based organizations to better the lives of Brooklynites.”
But though they were just “friends for the better part of a decade,” Bichotte said they only “began dating in the summer of 2019.”
She said they drew closer “while working on the heated campaign of Council Member Farah N. Louis,” another daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn.
Bichotte said she and Hermelyn — an educational and political consultant, who holds a Master’s degree in economics and public finance, and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and the humanities from the University of Albany — “work hard to continue to empower our neighborhoods, with civic engagement and activism, on social justice issues and election participation.”
The couple, who both reside in Brooklyn, said they will be alternating in “spending time at each other’s homes.”