Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, Council Member Brad Lander, and Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte on May 17 hosted the Haitian Flag Day celebration at Shapeshifter Lab.
The celebration was organized in conjunction with Haiti Cultural Exchange, Haitian American Caucus, and 1199 SIEU.
The event is a yearly commemoration of the creation of Haiti’s flag and celebrates Haitian culture and heritage.
As part of the celebration, five Haitian Americans were honored for their achievements in the community.
This year’s honorees were: Ricot Dupuy, Station Manager Radio Soleil; Gashford Guillaume, band leader of Creole Fusion Ensemble; Dr. Sophia Lubin, Board certified OB/GYN; Phantom, legendary Haitian band; and Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, deputy director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University.
“I’m proud to represent District 45, which is home to a vibrant Haitian community. New York boasts the second largest population of Haitians outside of Haiti and Miami.,” Williams said.
“For decades, Haitian Americans have called Brooklyn home and have made significant cultural and economic contributions to the borough. “I’m proud to have had this opportunity to honor these five people, who represent the best of what the Haitian community has to offer.”
Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said the Haitian Flag is “a symbol of freedom, independence and unity not just for Haitian people but for all people around the world.
“It signifies a type of strength that even when the obstacles to oppression are at their greatest, we must still move to conquer it,” she said. “That is why the motto in the Haitian Coat of Arms is ‘l’union fait de la force’ – in unity there is strength – because within that strength underlies the power of liberation.
“As we celebrate Haitian Flag Day this year, let us always remember the sacrifice, let us remember the victory and let us always remember the unity,” Bichotte added.
Guests enjoyed light refreshments, and musical performances by Creole Fusion Ensemble and Haitian-American singer Sherlee Skai.
“I’m so glad that this event continues to happen year after year because it’s really not about the individuals that are honored, it’s about celebrating our community, our relevance in this city, and our relevance in this country,” Pierre-Louis said.