The Brooklyn-based International Humanitarian Outreach Ministries (IHOM), Inc. on Friday honored Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, among others, during its 6th Annual Interfaith Memorial Service at Brooklyn Borough Hall, commemorating the victims and survivors of the 2010 massive earthquake in Haiti.
Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane D. Williamswas on hand to help recognize whom IHOM, Inc. had coined “the Haitian Women Power Pack” — Bichotte, Judge Dweynie Paul, Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, and Council President Charnette Frederic, who were all recipients of the Spotlight Award.
Other honorees included Father Giordano Bilanich, of Croatian Relief Services, Inc., who received the Humanitarian Award, and Carl Rodney, CEO of Carib News, who received the Leadership Award.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized at this memorial event and would like to thank IHOM and the host committee for putting such a wonderful event to honor those that were lost in the 2010 Haiti earthquake,” Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, told Caribbean Life.
“The earthquake sent a shockwave to every living soul on this earth forcing us to realized that the same country whose unmatched history as ‘Slave Freedom Fighters,’ making it the first Black Republic to gain its independence in 1804 and thus contributed to the U.S. strength with the purchase of the Louisana Territory, was forgotten,” she added.
“Haiti has been forgotten,” Bichotte continued. “Words cannot express the years of slavery, famine, unstable government, no political asylums, discrimination, etc... that have given the people of Haiti no choice but to maintain their resiliency. Haiti has been forgotten.”
Bichotte said she went to Haiti shortly after the earthquake to rebuild and to see the devastation first hand, adding, that “the ongoing recovery in Haiti speaks to the enduring and fighting spirit of its people.”
“Of course, more resources are needed, and I am very grateful to IHOM for making us remember who Haiti is and the work that they do on the ground to meet some of those needs,” she said.
“I am especially honored to be honored with these brilliant Haitian women in government, who each has inspired me and paving the way for many other Haitian women leaders to carry the torch in fighting for the people of Haiti so that Haiti will never be forgotten again,” Bichotte added.
IHOM, Inc. — which was formed “out of the need to organize, mobilize and inspire stakeholders to participate in addressing the economic, social and cultural needs of Haiti” — said it was an evening of theater, food and music, “remembering and honoring.”
The program opened with a theatrical re-enactment of the origin of the Haitian flag, the entrance of Haitian American Law Enforcement Fraternal Organization (HALEFO), the color guard, and was followed by an invocation by the Most Rev. Archbishop Dr. Antonio Mathieu.
Henri J. Desrosiers, chairman and founder of IHOM, Inc. and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams delivered opening addresses.
The addresses were followed by a special prayer for Haiti from clergymen and remarks from Mayor Joseph M. Champagne, chair of the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network, and an Ambassador of Peace from the Universal Peace Federation, Dr. Parnell Beaubrun, author / psychiatrist, and keynote address by Daniela Ducasse.
The award ceremony concluded with the Flicker of Light ceremony and a moment of silence.
IHOM, Inc. said music and poetry also punctuated the evening, with entertainment provided by Untamed Talent, Carine St. Jean, Pierre Romain, Shillda Albert, Pastor Jean Claude Morin and Beatrice Loiseau.