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Brooklyn’s ‘Little Haiti’ pays homage with local prayer vigil

Leading activist immigrants and descendants share unity

July 25, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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A prayer vigil for Haiti was held on Sunday afternoon at Newkirk Avenue between Nostrand Avenue and East 29th Street, sponsored by Little Haiti BK, the Office of the Borough President, Haitian-American community organizations and the National Action Network.

The people of Haiti have faced political instability, food insecurity and turmoil following the assassination of the country’s president, Jovenel Moise, on July 7. 

Elected officials including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and representatives of prominent Hatian-American community organizations, including Little Haiti BK, Inc., the Haitian-American Law Enforcement Fraternal Organization and more, appeared in support of the people of Haiti and the New York Haitian-American community.

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“We mourn with our Haitian community over the tragic events that have unfolded in Haiti in recent weeks. Our Haitian community contributes immeasurably to our shared social, economic, and civic life in Brooklyn and beyond, and it is critical that we stand in solidarity with them during this difficult time,” said Borough President Eric Adams.

“The people of Haiti need our prayers and support during this difficult time,” said Jackson Rockingster, chair of Little Haiti BK and president of the Haitian American Business Network (HABNET). “In Little Haiti, Brooklyn, the atmosphere is tense with fear for our loved ones abroad. Everyone here knows someone in Haiti who is struggling through these tumultuous times.”

“As essential workers, we know the struggles the people of Haiti face,” said Dr. Kelynne J. Oristel, president of the Haitian American Nurses Alliance (HANA). “Many of our members lived, worked or were trained in Haiti as medical professionals. Residents of Haiti relied on our support following the devastating earthquake in 2010. Unfortunately, hardships are continuing.” 

Sherbune Paul, Esq, president of the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York, emphasized the need for the community to come together, saying “Our Haitian-American community in New York have a shared goal: That is to see peace and unity in Haiti. We all share a cultural background and have friends, relatives and loved ones living abroad, and we all wish for peace for the country.” 

“In times of struggle, we all need to support one another. The National Action Network stands in solidarity with the Haitian-American community through this tumultuous time because none of us can thrive until everyone can. We are hosting this prayer vigil to stand with our Haitian-American brothers and sisters, shed light on this scourge on Haiti and encourage other communities to get involved in this time of crisis,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network.

“The ‘Pray for Haiti’ vigil encourages the community to come together. As scripture tells us, ‘Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.’” Rev. Dr. Samuel Nicolas, president of the Haitian Clergy Association, said. 

 

Little Haiti Bk, Inc. is a 501(c)3 charitable organization whose mission is to preserve, harness, showcase and celebrate the academic, civic, commercial, health, religious and other socio-cultural institutions of people of Haitian ancestry within the boundaries of Little Haiti Bk. 

Little Haiti was designated as a cultural and business district by the NYC Council in 2018. Little Haiti encompasses East 16th Street to Brooklyn Avenue, and Parkside Avenue to Avenue H.


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