It's Haitian Heritage Cultural Month in Miami-Dade County!
May 16, 2017 | 6h36PM ET
MIAMI-DADE - Since 2001, through Resolution R-452-01 under the leadership of former Mayor Alex Penelas, the month of May is dedicated to celebrating Haiti and Haitian culture throughout Miami-Dade County. That means events for the entire family: visual arts, film, literature, food, music and of course, lots of dancing, in multiple locations.
This year marks the 17th celebration of this wonderful event throughout Miami-Dade County where Haitians are the second-largest immigrant group (after Cubans). The annual event aims to serve as a reminder of the important contributions the Haitian-American community has made in the County. It is also seen as an expansion of Haitian Flag Day on May 18, a major celebration in the Caribbean nation and the Diaspora that was created to encourage patriotism.
The theme for this year's month-long celebration is "Celebrating an explosion of Culture." The kick-off took place on Monday, May 1, with a City of North Miami Reception at MOCA 'Paradise" Courtyard.
The office of Miami-Dade Commissioner-District 2, Jean Monestime also held a nice reception at Miami-Dade College North Campus on Saturday, May 6, for an estimated crowd of 250 guests, including many well-known figures within the Haitian community, such as former North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre, Mrs. Gypsie Metellus, Executive Director at Haitian Neighborhood Center "Sant La", Mr. Gandy Thomas, Consul General of Haiti in Miami.
We must regretfully note that many of political figures and activists in the Haitian community were absent. North Miami Mayor Dr. Smith Joseph, Florida State Senator Daphne D. Campbell, North Miami Beach Councilman Frantz Pierre, and Mrs. Marleine Bastien, Founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Women of Miami (FANM) were among the big names absent from the festivities.
"This event is very important to me because it provides us with a sense of belonging," Monestime said to the well-dressed audience. " It promotes cultural pride and unity."
Many Haitians have seen Monestime's presence on the Board of Miami-Dade County Commissioners as a mark of pride, since his first election in November 2010.
Food and special beverages were served throughout the exciting nice event. A very festive atmosphere was created by well-known DJ Nicky-Mix as well as singers Cedric Bazile and Diane Andrieux. Attendees parked on the dance floor and had a great time while popular local band 5LAN performed some good konpa music songs.
During the festive night, Dr. Joel Henriquez Poliard, a well-known pediatrician in Miami, and Dr. Marie Guerda Nicolas, a highly respected professor at the University of Miami (School of Education & Human Development), were honored by Commissioner Monestime for their great contributions in different aspects toward the advancement of the South Florida's Haitian-American community. That special event was emceed by Mrs. Shirley Plantin Pierre who did a wonderful job as always.
The kickoff included the opening of five Haitian art exhibits. The exhibits will run through the month of May at the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st Street; the Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212-260 NE 59th Street; the Haitian Heritage Museum, 4141 NE 2nd Avenue; Island Television 14879 NE 20th Ave. North Miami, FL 33181, and Center for Haitian Studies, 8260 NE 2nd Ave. Miami, FL 33138.
5th Annual Taste of Haiti
Relocated to Miami-Dade College North Campus, Taste of Haiti was a huge success this year again. The fifth annual edition presented by the Haitian Culinary Alliance (HCA) brought the finest of Haiti's flavors, cuisines, and culture. Sponsored by the office of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, District 2, Madame Gougousse, and Uni Transfer among others, this year's gastronomy event saw a showcase of food, music, art and culture at the campus's large parking lot.
Stephan Durand, President of the Haitian Culinary Alliance, said there is no better way to promote Haitian Heritage Month than with its food and culture.
More than 40 vendors took part in the event, restaurants being in the majority. Haitians and non-Haitians alike sampled various foods and made the rounds at various vendor booths.
Around 5:45 p.m. the Chef Cook-Off competition took place. Among the judges were Chef The Rose (Wyclef Jean's sister), Chef Creole, businessman Patrick Tardieu, and Chef Thia.
Chef Fabienne Moïse came on top as the first place winner, followed by Chef Thia in second place. And Chef Paultre won the third prize.
Addressing the crowd at the Saturday afternoon open-air event, Commissioner Monestime said, "Haitian Heritage Cultural Month is a wonderful opportunity for residents of every nationality and background to come and experience the richness of Haitian culture." He later added, "I encourage everyone to take part in the celebration of all the contributions the Haitian community has made to Miami-Dade County and the world, and to experience the magic of Haitian culture, art, music and food by participating in the County's annual celebration of Haitian Heritage Cultural Month."
Other highlights of this year's celebrations include a soccer tournament, Chefs of the Caribbean Celebrity Brunch on Sunday, May 21, at The Caribbean Marketplace [5929 NE 2nd ave, Miami] CACEC 20th Anniversary on May 27th at Miriam Dean Pratt Community Cnter [11201 SW 160th Street, Miami] and Little Haiti Book Festival presented by Sosyete Koukouy at Little Haiti Cultural Center on Sunday, May 28.
The cultural affairs section of Commissioner Monestime's office has developed a program of 31 events that will be held throughout this month. It can be viewed at www.miamidade.gov/district02.