“Little Haiti is much more than a project,” New York State Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, Bichotte told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) last month.
“It is the recognition of the value of a people who have historically been great contributors to this country.
“The revolutionary efforts of Jean Jacques Dessalines not only led to Haiti’s Independence, but also led to the expansion of U.S. territory in what we know now as the Louisiana Purchase.
“The concentration of Haitians in Flatbush, Brooklyn is amongst the highest outside of the country of Haiti, if not the highest. This will be an economic boon for the community as well,” said Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn.
Bichotte, the first Haitian American from New York City to be elected to the New York State Assembly, said there are “plenty of benefits” to establishing Little Haiti in Flatbush, “especially during a time where the president of the United States, Donald Trump, uses his platform to blatantly disrespect Haitians and other African associated nations.
“He has removed TPS (Temporary Protected Status) for Haitians,” she said, adding “this a great way for the New York City to show the world and the nation that Haitians add a cultural, educational and economic significance to this country that cannot be ignored.”
A non-profit group in Brooklyn, Little Haiti BK, which is working with Bichotte for the special designation, said it would be “a recognition of the cultural role that Haitians have played in the city and the country, and a sign that the area’s Haitian community is coming-of-age.”
The group explained, in a letter to members of New York City Council, that the designation would also “foster a strong sense of belonging, security, and pride among residents, businesses, non-profits and community groups in Flatbush.”
According to the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, over 90,000 Haitian Americans reside in Brooklyn, the third highest concentration of Haitians in the U.S.