To the Editor:
From: Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, representing the 42nd assembly district in Brooklyn.
There is room to help those in Haiti and Haitian communities across the United States.
Although I agree with Mr. Pierre Pierre’s argument, we still need those who have the ability to dedicate their efforts in revitalizing our mother country, Haiti, so that we can enjoy having a stake of the revolutionary land that left a mark in the world’s history and to many in their heart.
My statement here is to defend and support his premise. Arguably, Haiti can be a better place because we in the Haitian Diaspora are positioned to help influence local government and the overall social and economic values in our communities. We stand a better chance in making change here in the United States than in Haiti. We can’t forget we are dealing with two complete entities. As a Haitian -American elected official serving those who reside in New York state, I can tell you firsthand that we cannot do everything and we are certainly not omnipotent.
There a few of my Haitian compadres who have stoned me for not answering to Haiti’s cry, furthermore protest against me if I’m seen with Haitian diplomats/elected officials that they don’t approve of due to their political party preference.
We cannot have it all.
My first priorities are to address the many issues that my immediate community is facing, including Haitian issues – limited resources for those who inherits the challenged Haitian Creole language. Additionally, If we are the $2 billion contributor that feeds family members in Haiti — many of whom don’t benefit from the Haitian government and are in fact deprived of resources from their own mother country Haiti — then one can argue our success in the Haitian Diaspora, here in the U.S., can have a direct impact on the survival of the lives of Haitians. It can be stated that when one household receives some money, that family can probably stretch that dollar to feed the entire neighborhood, resulting in communal flourishments. But in order for the impact to be greater, not in just that one example but many to most examples, we have to empower ourselves here in the U.S. Now more than ever, Haitian people are being elected and appointed in positions of influence to lobby and be the voice for our people here and abroad.
A simple example is the fight for the Haitian Studies Institute, a scholastic institute that not only documents and educates the greater community about Haitians and their global contributions, but can also be an educational arm from the U.S. to Haiti to strengthen their education system. In a separate example, we are designating “Little Haiti” in Brooklyn to expose the economic and cultural attributes of Haitian people, which in turn gives the “etrangé ” (stranger) a reason to invest in Haiti’s tourism by actually having the urge to visit the real Haiti versus only indulging in a taste of Haiti. That brings economics not only in the U.S. but to Haiti as well. The third example, Haitian elected officials are in a position to demand that Temporary Protected Status is part of the negotiated immigration deal on the table. That in itself would impact 60,000 Haitians in the U.S. and prevent them from human trafficking and other horrific burdens the U.S. is tries to impose on Haiti unconstitutionally. This is why indeed it’s important we build here. The stronger our voices are here, the stronger we can influence Haiti’s strength. And so I conclude with this popular prayer that talks to our capacity.
God grants us the serenity
to accept the things we cannot change;
courage to change the things we can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Let’s be wise in how we can be more useful to strengthen our overall Haitianhood!