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Haitian pols introduce resolution on earthquake anniversary

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Three Haitian American legislators in New York State Assembly on Tuesday introduced a resolution remembering all who lost their lives in the massive earthquake that struck the French-speaking Caribbean country six years ago.

Assemblymembers Michaelle Solages, Kimberly Jean-Pierre and Rodneyse Bichotte introduced the resolution K860.

Solages and Jean-Pierre represent Nassau and Suffolk counties in Long Island, respectively, while Bichotte represents the 42and Assembly District in Brooklyn.

Resolution K860 was sponsored by Solages and co-sponsored by Jean-Pierre and Bichotte.

“Whereas, it is the sense of this Legislative Body to remember those who lost their lives to the tragic earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010 in Haiti; and whereas, the sacrifice of the men and women of the government of Haiti, the U.S. government, the United Nations and the people of the State of New York for their response to the calamity is acknowledg­ed,” the resolution says in part.

“Whereas, The United States, the international community and the people of New York work to provide relief, recovery and aid efforts to rebuild after the disaster; now, therefore, be it resolved that this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to remember those who lost their lives in Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake of 2010,” it adds.

Bichotte, the first Haitian American from New York City to be elected to the State Assembly, told Caribbean Life afterwards that Haiti had “experienced an unspoken tragedy, a natural disaster of tremendous proportions.

“It was a 7.0 magnitude shock wave that traveled across the island and reverberated around the world,” said the daughter of Haitian immigrants. “It took the lives of hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. It is by far one of the most horrific natural disasters in recent history. It made the world take notice of the forgotten Haiti.

“Despite the Haitian people being raped of their economic system, stripped of social justice and denied political asylum by being sent back only to be eaten by sharks after their boats touched these American shores, the people of Haiti remain resilient and strong,” she added.

Bichotte said she hoped that, “in the future, it does not take natural disasters to give recognition to the struggles of Haiti, a country that helped empower many nations, including this one [the United States].”

New York City Councilman Haitian-born Dr. Mathieu Eugene, the first ever Haitian to be elected to the City Council, also paid homage to the victims of the devastating earthquake, saying that the disaster “changed our lives forever.”

“On the anniversary of this tragic day, we must pray for our brothers and sisters who lost their lives in this disaster, and we must also remember the survivors who are still healing from this catastrophe,” Eugene, who represents the 40th City Council District in Brooklyn, told Caribbean Life.

“Haiti still has a long way to go on the road to recovery, but I’d like to take a moment to thank all the different leaders and residents who have helped Haiti throughout this healing process,” he added.

“People from all over the world have donated money and volunteered their time to help Haiti after this disaster, and I’d like to personally thank my colleagues from the city, state, and federal government who provided me with their support and allowed me to help my homeland with relief efforts,” Eugene continued. “May God continue to watch over all those impacted by this tragedy, and may those in need soon have all the comforts they deserve.”

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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