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Little Haiti is Here. Now What?

By Aisha Powell

After months of negotiations, the controversial Little Haiti is officially a reality. However, while local leaders and elected officials celebrate the political win, those on the ground are asking “now what?”

BROOKLYN – As you walk out of the Newkirk Plaza Subway Station in Brooklyn, you enter a Black enclave, where you’re confronted with sights, smells, and sounds that just may make you feel like you’re in  the Caribbean.

A plethora of vendors line both sides of the street selling food, oils, and shirts. The air is filled with Haitian Creole as conversations become ambience over the area. As Konpa music pours out from stores and cars, various Caribbean flags hang in almost every window; there is pride for one’s own country here.  

After long talks between local officials and community groups, the area around the Newkirk Plaza Subway Station in Brooklyn was officially designated “Little Haiti Cultural and Business District” on May 18. Little Haiti — an area near Avenue H, Parkside Avenue, East 16th Street, and Brooklyn Avenue — is a political victory for Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte. The assemblywoman, who represents  Flatbush and Ditmas Park since 2015, has been one of the main advocates for the designation. 

While the announcement was received with praise from many in the community, there are those who are looking past the symbolic victory, questioning what comes next and asking about the impact this designation could have on the community. 

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May. 31, 2018