It’s been attractive to politicians, too. In just one year, I’ve seen Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, former mayor of NYC Rudolph Giuliani, Bernie Sanders, and a slew of other world leaders and celebrities visit the center. Little Haiti has landed on the global stage.
Just like Harlem is a Mecca for black civil liberties activists and others, Little Haiti has always been the place where activists gather to discuss and take action when politics are affecting the Haitian diaspora community. It warms my heart to meet them and help. Lately, I’ve volunteered with political activist Marleine Bastien who is working on issues dealing with the gentrification of Little Haiti. As three huge developers come into the community, just like what happened in Harlem, many residents feel like they are at a crossroads.
I plan to be there, waving my Haitian flag, on Friday when when international pop star Wyclef Jean was set to perform May 19 at The Sounds of Little Haiti fundraiser. Another event that makes me proud and hopeful is the Little Haiti Book Festival created by Jan Mapou of Sosyete Koukuy in partnership with the Miami Book Fair. It will take place on Saturday evening, May 27, and all day Sunday, May 28. Authors from Haiti and the diaspora will be in conversation (with simultaneous translation into English), there will be free books for children, workshops for writers and delicious food, music and dance — a Voudou ceremony will close out the night. I will be there too, waving my books by Haitian authors and celebrating our rich, intellectual heritage. I will also screen a film based on a novel by one of Haiti’s most important authors, Dany Laferrière.
I celebrate the courage of the people who came here for a better life, and I will work to make sure that these courageous people can stay here for decades to come, always maintaining love for their homeland of Haiti and their home, Little Haiti.
Rachelle Salnave is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, creator of Ayiti Images Film Series and Adjunct Film Professor at Miami Dade College. Her film, La Belle Vie: The Good Life, re-airs on WPBT2, Monday, June 19th at 10 p.m. http://www.labelleviefilm.com/
Little Haiti Book Festival takes place Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, free and open to the community at the Little Haiti Cultural Center complex, 212 NE 59th Terr. in Little Haiti. For more information please visit miamibookfair.com