Monday, April 02, 2007



Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel 03/30/2007

When Haitian refugees reach the shores of Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, community leaders have traditionally rushed to the scene to serve as advocates.

But in Broward County, Haitians are more reserved. Many of those speaking loudest on behalf of the boatload of Haitians who landed on Hollywood's beach Wednesday are from Miami.
That's because Haitians in Broward -- many living in the western suburbs of the county -- tend to be less politically active and more concerned with upward mobility, said some Haitian community leaders. Those who are the children of Haitian immigrants have little connection to people escaping Haiti by boat. Their community is not consumed by the politics of their homeland, or organized to receive new arrivals.

"People are busier than in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, working two jobs," said the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, a Haitian Catholic priest now living in Fort Lauderdale. "In Broward they play low profile."

On Thursday, Haitian Women of Miami led protesters to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection center in Pembroke Pines, where officials held the refugees. They called for federal authorities to release the Haitians on their own recognizance and grant them due process.
Lavarice Gaudin, chairman of Veye Yo, a Miami group affiliated with the Lavalas political party of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, said the growing Haitian population in Broward needs a political voice. He said his organization plans to develop programs to help mobilize the Broward community.

But Edna LaRoche, a spokeswoman for Minority Development and Empowerment Inc., the largest agency serving the Haitian population in the county, said Broward Haitians are not silent on such issues. They simply have a more subtle approach.

She said Minority Development asked elected officials Wednesday and Thursday to intervene on behalf of the Haitians.

"We do appreciate everything that the Miami community is doing, and we think that will have an effect," she said. "But by the same token, so will our efforts."

Miami-Dade has long been an entry point for Haitian immigrants.
Refugees came in droves when life under the regime of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier became unbearable, and settled in Miami's Lemon City, now known as Little Haiti. In the 1990s, another wave of refugees arrived when a military coup overthrew Aristide, the country's first democratically elected president.

Some also made it to the shores of Palm Beach County, where community activists in Delray Beach and other communities with large Haitian populations welcomed them, said Daniella Henry, a community activist who helped settle many through the Haitian Chamber of Commerce in Delray Beach.

Those who settled in Miami in the 1970s and 1980s laid the foundation for grassroots leadership, which paved the way for Haitians to win political office and encouraged political activism.
But as many gained upward mobility, they migrated into Broward, settling in Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach and other areas.

Jean Jabouin, a Haitian radio talk show host who recently moved from Broward to Palm Beach County, said their lives are now far removed from the struggles in Haiti.

"Broward's population is a bit different. Reaction is not going to be same like in Miami-Dade or Palm Beach," he said. "It's a different phenomenon. As much as we say we can understand, we really can't understand how people would risk their lives to come here."

1 comment:

DrapesFlorida said...

Lots of people are really trying to help, to bring fairness, justice, and progress - and equal treatment to us all. They serve as examples. Recently Met Paul Novack called upon Haitian American youth to get involved, to participate in civic life, to help make things better.

Met Novack, a long standing and steady friend of Haitians and Haitian Americans.



Former Mayor Paul D. Novack

Attorney at Law

Miami, Florida

= - = - = - = - = - = - =

There truly are individuals throughout the world who have demonstrated, time and time again, that they care deeply about the people of Haiti and that they are dedicated to helping produce progress and improvements in the quality of life for the Haitian people.

Former Surfside, Florida Mayor Paul Novack, an attorney at law, after serving as an elected official for 14 years, the last 12 as Mayor of the Town of Surfside, decided not to seek re-election for another term in 2004. Mayor Novack had been overwhelming elected 7 times (once as Commissioner, 6 times as Mayor), and in the last election received over 80% of the vote in the largest municipal election turnout in many years. Novack also served with honor and distinction on the State of Florida's Oversight Board for the Miami-Dade County Public School System. Following his extraordinary service, an official Tribute was made to him by the Florida House of Representatives.

Since leaving his official posts, he has focused on his legal practice and in continuing a wide variety of public service activities. He remains one of Haiti's true friends around the globe.

Attorney Novack has been honored by the United States Congressional Record, by the Haitian American Nurses Association, by the Haitian American Society of Engineers and Scientists, by the Haitian American Law Enforcement Officers Association, by the 1000 Friends of Florida, by the Florida League of Cities, by the Haitian Organization of Mayors, the Haitian American Students Foundation, and by many other groups on a local, national, and international level. His legal service, public service, and humanitarian relief efforts for Haiti, Honduras, and many other locations have been resoundingly welcomed, recognized and appreciated.

Met Novack has established new standards for productivity and accountability in emergency and disaster and humanitarian relief projects that can be operated locally and internationally. Those particular efforts have been recognized by officials in Haiti and the United States, and by National Public Radio, Voice of America Radio, and international press and media organizations.

Met Novack was by far the longest serving mayor in Surfside's history. He earned a reputation as one of Florida's most earnest, hard working, respected, ethical and productive leaders. Paul's six terms as Mayor was twice as long as anyone had ever served in that position previously. He is also known as one of the area's most competent, dedicated, and concerned attorneys, and he has received the highest professional rating possible from the national legal review organization Martindale-Hubbell.

Attorney Novack has diligently and successfully represented people from all over the world, and particularly many Haitian Americans, in many types of significant legal matters and cases since 1985. The Novack Law Firm focuses on individualized representation of clients in cases involving serious and permanent injuries, deaths, and also in providing efficient, reliable, professional assistance to homeowners seeking the financing and refinancing of properties throughout Florida. His staff includes case managers, legal assistants, mortgage brokers, and associates with a wide variety of expertise; they are fluent in English, French, Creole and Spanish. They may be contacted 24/7 at 305-947-3000.