Archive for the ‘Haitians’ Category

Haitians Impatient with Obama Over TPS

In Haiti TPS, Haitians, Obama, RALLY/PROTEST on October 29, 2009 at 8:10 pm

by Francesca Guerrier & Kim Ives

Some 50 Haitians and their supporters held a spirited demonstration in front of the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach on Monday, Oct. 26 to demand that President Obama immediately grant Temporary Protected Status or TPS to some 35,000 undocumented Haitians currently in the US.

Obama was at the hotel for a fundraiser for Democratic Florida congressmen Alcee Hastings and Kendrick Meek, who is running for senator.

The demonstration was organized by the Haitian American Grassroots Coalition, Institute of Justice and Democracy (IJDH), Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and Free Haiti Now, all groups which had been expecting Obama to reverse the Bush administration’s denial of TPS to Haitians last December.

“We are all frustrated that more than nine months after President Obama’s inauguration Haitians still don’t have TPS despite the incredibly broad editorial and political support for it, including from the three South Florida Republicans in the US House of Representatives,” said Steve Forester, an immigration lawyer and long-time TPS advocate who presently represents the IJDH in Florida. “And we are doubly surprised that we have not yet gotten a response to our request to at least give people the dignity of the right to work while the administration continues, month after month, to review the propriety of granting TPS, which to us and every objective observer is a no-brainer, based on the four hurricanes and storms that hit Haiti in a one-month period a year ago.”

TPS, which briefly can be granted by executive order to undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who are temporarily unable to return to their nation because of a natural disaster, armed conflict, or other extraordinary circumstances. Since it was established in 1990, TPS has been granted to immigrants from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Burundi, Somalia, Montserrat, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Liberia.

Since January, many demonstrations demanding TPS for Haitians have been held in Florida and other states. Over 300 people from Florida and the Northeast traveled by bus to Washington, DC to demonstrate in front of the White House on Jun. 3, and many more turned out for a second demonstration there on Sep. 16.

On Sep. 18, Free Haiti Now, FLIC and Haitian Women in Miami (FANM) held a vigil at Virginia Key Beach on Key Biscayne to call for TPS and to pay respect to the many Haitian refugees who have died at sea. Performing at the protest were Miami artists DJ Khaled, Mecca aka Grimo, and Grindmode. Other celebrities also supported the action and the TPS call including M1 from Dead Prez, Black Dada, Ace Hood, NBA superstar Hudonis Haslem, and three artists from the group Poe Boy: Billy Blue, Brisco and Flo Rida.

“We need the administration to grant TPS or at least, while they are considering it, to grant work permits on a case by case basis to TPS-deserving non-criminal Haitians who desperately need work permits, drivers licenses and the ability to feed their families, pay electricity bills, and send remittances to Haiti which can support up to ten times that number, thereby increasing Haiti’s security and our own,” Forester said.

On Oct. 26, the demonstrators were restricted to a sidewalk across Collins Avenue from the Fontainebleau. The area was heavily guarded by U.S. Secret Service, Miami Beach police and private security guards. The police harassed demonstrators who sought to take pictures of the protest from the street.

Further down the sidewalk, a group of about 100 anti-immigrant “teabaggers” protested Obama’s presence in Miami with absurd signs like “Go back to Kenya” and “Go back to Indonesia” and “Obama = Comunism.” (sic)

Among those who came out to the TPS demonstration were a few Central American farmworkers from Homestead, about 25 Haitians from West Palm Beach, and FLIC staff members.

In March, former Haitian-American unionist Patrick Gaspard, now Obama’s Director for Political Affairs, traveled to Miami to soothe and reassure Haitian leaders that the administration would soon act on TPS. The reprieve he brokered has now expired.

“As far as we are concerned, regarding Haiti, the Obama administration is maintaining the same status quo as the Bush immigration policy,” Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition president Jean-Robert Lafortune told the Miami Herald.



In ENTERTAINMENT, Haiti TPS, Haitians, RALLY/PROTEST on September 11, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Miami FL, FREE HAITI NOW met with Poe Boy’s Flo rida and Brisco Friday Sept 4th at the Hit Factory building to personally thank them on their support for the Tet Ansanm Vigil that will take place on September 18th at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park as a national call to ask President Obama to grant Temporary Protected Status to qualifying undocumented Haitians.
Flo rida spoke about his belief in Equal Rights he said:” I grew up with Haitians around me, they are very hard working people, they believe in education and a lot of them come here to have an opportunity, the opportunity that most Americans take for granted, I believe in equal rights, everybody has the right to eat, to support our families and I definitely believe that the Haitians deserve their rights. The Haitian youth I want to thank for their support , as I said lots of my friends are Haitians, keep on fighting hard until you get your rights, because Yall just as important as Americans.
His label mate Brisco said he would ask President Obama: “ Aren’t Haitians Humans? Aren’t they people? I’m not Haitian, but I speak up for the Haitian youth and I believe they deserve a even bigger voice, people in Haiti have been suffering, the least this administration can do is to grant them TPS considering that the Cubans have their right to stay here, and everybody else too, I just think it’s not fair towards Haitians. I want to tell the Haitian people to stay positive and empowered and powers come in numbers, so as long as yall stick together yall should be fine, Mr Obama you are doing so much for us, all we are asking is for one thing: TPS to HAITIANS NOW!
The Organizing Agencies FANM, FLIC, and FREE HAITI NOW are very thankful to have the support by the Hip Hop Community provided by On Point Entertainment and Marketing.
Nobody should live in fear especially in a free country as the United States, living in fear of raids and not being able to take your sick child to the hospital because of your “illegal” status therefore can’t have a license is simply legally, morally and spiritually wrong.

Event Details and For More Information:
Event: Tet Ansanm TPS Solidarity Vigil
Date: Friday, September 18, 2009
Time: 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Location: Virginia Key Beach Park – 4020 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, FL
Hosting Agencies: FANM, FLIC, FHN, OPEM
Type: Vigil/Rally
Phone: 3057787073

Background: Temporary Protected Status is for foreign nationals currently residing in the U.S. whose homeland conditions are recognized by the US government as being temporarily unsafe or overly dangerous to return to (e.g., war, earthquake, flood, drought, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions). TPS would afford undocumented Haitians SSN, work authorization, driver licenses and opportunity to attend school while they are in the US as Haiti recovers from four devastating hurricanes in 2008.


In Haiti TPS, Haitians on August 28, 2009 at 2:50 am

“At last, the parents of baby Luana have been released from custody,” exclaims Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of FANM, Inc. Almost one month ago, Marleine Bastien addressed a letter to Secretary Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security, requesting the release of Chandeline Leonard and Lucsene Augustin. This couple was detained by ICE after their boat capsized off Palm Beach County on or about May 13, 2009. Chandeline and Lucsene’s 8 month old baby girl, Luana Augustin, tragically drowned in the waters when the boat capsized.

In the late afternoon of Friday, August 21, 2009, Chandeline was finally released from the West Palm Beach County Jail. Her father, Seneque Leonard and cousin, Albert Noel were there to bring her home. Today, after 3 months of separation, Chandeline and Lucsene were reunited. Lucsene Augustin was released today, August 27, 2009 at approximately 4:30pm. The family was all smiles as they drove back to Miami.

“We are relieved that ICE/DHS finally lifted the hold, which facilitated the release of Chandeline and Lucsene. We will continue to closely monitor their immigration cases and that of all the survivors of this tragedy to ensure that all are given due process,” states Danna Magloire, Esq., Attorney Adviser of FANM, Inc. “FANM remains at the service of Chandeline, Lucsene and their family. We are prepared to help them with the burial of baby Luana and support them as they begin their healing,” says Marleine.

FANM, Inc. coordinated the release of the bodies of the three unidentified women who were being held at the Palm Beach County Morgue along with Baby Luana. The three unknown women have been transported St Fort Funeral Home, at 16480 NE 19th Ave, North Miami Beach, FL 33162 (305) 940-1428. St Fort Funeral Home has graciously agreed handle the funeral arrangements without charge. The funeral for these three women is tentatively scheduled for Friday, September 11, 2009 in order to allow the families of the women to come in and identify the bodies. “We hope that the families of these women will come forward so that their lives may be celebrated and remembered,” states Marleine. The families are welcome at anytime during St Fort’s business hours to visit.


In ENTERTAINMENT, Haitians on June 12, 2009 at 9:16 pm

For the first time ever, Barikad Crew is bringing their Creole Hip-Hop to Miami. They are ready to expose their new audience to their socially conscious lyrics, thought provoking concepts, and infectious beats. After bringing their rap to New York City and extensively touring their home country of Haiti, Barikad Crew is ready to explore the uncharted territory of Miami.

Despite facing hardships in the past year, including the loss of several band members to a tragic car accident, Barikad Crew regrouped only to become an undeniable and unshakeable presence in the Haitian Music industry. With hits like: “Welcome to Haiti” “Met Kapot” and “Se Trip Nap Trip “. Barikad Crew is ready to wow their audience, impress fans, and represent the Creole Hip-Hop that courses through their veins.

The event will be held for one night and one night only at BONGOS CUBAN CAFÉ. Located at 601 Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown Miami, Bongos Cuban Café is not only a hot spot set in a prime location, it is just steps from the Bicentennial Park that is home to the annual Haitian Kompas Festival.

If Barikad Crew’s presence and the venue are not enough to entice your attendance, featured artist segments include other well renowned Haitian Hip-Hop artists such as the trail blazing Black Dada & Red Eyez whose number one hit, ” I am Zoe” has been on constant rotation on the airwaves. Moreover, we have the lyrical and spoken word powerhouse Mecca AKA Grimo, the larger-than-life and charismatic
Haitian Fresh, and special guests appearances who will leave the crowd speechless.

Hosting duties will be under the direction of Papa Jube, Buggah D. Govanah, and J. Mignon several of the head honchos in the Haitian Music Industry. Additionally, DJ Polomix, DJ Bobby Jamz, and DJ Griot will be holding down their wheels of steel and spinning hit after hit on the 1s and 2s.

With such a powerful line-up of Creole Hip-Hop, great hosts, and beat dropping DJ?s, this show cannot to be missed. Come witness the Creole Hip-Hop movement that is only getting stronger and will be right in the heart of Miami.



Friday, June 26, 2009 at 8:00pm
Miami, FL

CONTACT INFO: ( 305)778-7073 / (786) 416-1896

An Hour of Evolved Teachings Inside the Libraries of South Florida with Mecca aka Grimo

In Haitians on May 21, 2009 at 9:08 pm

A verve art painted conch, an Haitian Flag, and a teacher with a lot of knowledge. That’s what is going on inside South Florida’s libraries .

From 4.00pm to 5.00pm Mecca aka Grimo creates awareness about the glorious history of an island forgotten by the West. Haiti

This is an after school program that takes place inside South Florida’s community libraries.

Children and teachers are taught about Haiti and it’s history, about poetry and creative writing and about the Haitian Culture and language.

Check with your local library to see if Mecca aka Grimo ‘s Haitian Heritage Month Program is taking place around your area and bring your children to an hour of knowledge and fun learning.

To book Mecca’s Cultural Program please contact Inside the Subject box of the e-mail, state: “Mecca aka Grimo”

Wyclef Jean , The Ambassador, The Legendary Musician, The Chosen One

In Haitians on March 30, 2009 at 4:26 am

By Francesca Guerrier

“He’s bigger then Obama to me, I’d take a bullet for Clef”. Wow! That’s some real deep brotherly love, Hearing Buggah D Govanah talking about Wyclef Jean reminds me of the old Sicilian loyalty. You Definitely do not find too many soldiers so dedicated to their homies nowadays, but sometimes you do.

We arrive at the studio, Wyclef exchange a few words with Buggah in Creole, and then greets me! I sense he’s non- pretence attitude. You don’t know what thoughts goes inside the mind of a musician of his size , but I feel, I can see through him! Now he does remind me of the simplicity yet power of a figure like President Obama, I think while I observe him sipping on his Turkish coffee.

Dj Khaled arrives while Wyclef is seated on the bench of the kitchen eating the dinner Buggah picked up on the way to studio. I begin taking some pictures and check my camera and the lights, all of a sudden I think how comfortable I‘ve been feeling since the time I arrived at We The Best Studio! There are several artist in here, but not divas, simply cool talents!!

Mecca aka Grimo arrives too, and I feel even more comfortable now, since I last interviewed him for the Newspaper I felt a deep amount of realness within him too.
The Runners are working on the track and Clef holds his guitar while sings on his upcoming new Hit (GUARANTEED)!!

The song talks about a teenager girl who’s act older then her age due to the issues of low self-esteem she has because of her broken family ..all she would of needed is a simple compliment from an adult to emphasize her beauty and notice her. This song is in the making, yet is already so damn powerful, I have to go outside the room every now and then to fight back my tears of emotions.
I tell Buggah, I have to go home soon and can’t stay too long, the truth is, I don’t want to break down in front of these people I just met!! How embarrassing would that be!! There’s something about Clef though, the only song of his I can think of that didn’t get so much and many emotions out of me is Party to Damascus he made with Missy Elliott!!

I see Dj Khaled closing his eyes and commenting on the beauty of this song several times, I lean closer to Mecca and tell him the song is giving me the chills, he too nods in silence. The Super star, walk is in and out to record his addlibs and he exchange a few words in Creole with his Haitian brothers, Khaled comments of the fact he should learn Creole because of how often Clef speaks in his native language, that’s realness right there, it’s obvious he never forgot where he comes from and he doesn’t do it only in front of the cameras.

Four hours after he started working on his song , Wycleff takes a 2 minutes break, to wear the Free Haiti Now T-shirt and take some pictures with some of his zoes!

Not only he’s a music legend, producer and filmmaker but he’s The Ambassador of Haiti. I met him a few weeks back at a rally the Haitian Community organized demanding to Stop Deportations Back to Haiti, he sent a message of Hope and Encouragement to our Haitian Youth suggesting to get politically involved . So many hats to wear for one man, but he does wear them and do it well.

His concern is the security of Haiti Buggah explains to me in the car, and that people has food in their belly. The sanitation of the island and the rights of Haitians in the United States.

Wycleff Jean gave a voice to Haiti, to Jamaica, to New Jersey, to Brooklyn, Miami, African Americans To the whole United States, to teenagers, to refugees, to Deportees, to love and to those who lost, to ghettos and to people, to all different people that comes from every walk of life, you don’t need to be Haitian to feel his music, you have to be a Human Being with a heart to feel and a mind to overstand his lyrics.

This upcoming song will give you the chills like no other song!

Bon chans Wyclef sou nouveau mizik e plus suces e tout fanmi ou


In Haitians on March 20, 2009 at 5:58 pm

by Francesca Guerrier

Image copyrighted Francesca Guerrier/OPEM

Image copyrighted Francesca Guerrier/OPEM

Mecca aka Grimo is a young upcoming Haitian-American hip-hop artist and actor who is well-known for his political engagement. He often shows up at demonstrations demanding rights for Haitian refugees.

He is also a rapper and part of the Spoken Word generation. His poetry has a revolutionary edge.

Born to Haitian parents in Brooklyn, NY and raised for some of his youth in Queens, in 1985 he moved with them to Miami, where he still lives. He is the founder of Fepouli, described on his website as a “non-profit non-political movement” fighting disease and poverty.

Mecca is signed with Sak Pase Records, Hex Battalion and is managed by OPEM. He played a leading role in the Haitian film “Kidnappings” (2005). He has a degree in Acoustical Engineering. The Haitian flag’s coat of arms is tattooed on his shoulder.

Our correspondent Francesca Guerrier interviewed him last week in Miami about his views on politics, history, art, education, and the current campaign to win Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for undocumented Haitians in the US.

HAITI LIBERTÉ: How did you come by the name Mecca aka Grimo?

MECCA AKA GRIMO: I felt that my government name was not doing justice to my level of consciousness, to where I was. Mecca came naturally. Mecca means a holy place, not necessarily the religious place Mecca [in Saudi Arabia], but more a symbolic place within. The divinity you search for is within you. I often had information and many people turned to me for answers. Because I had often done my research, I usually knew what was going on. Someone called me Mecca for that reason. It was just a remark, but I thought it fitted my being. I do not believe in any particular religion. I believe in that supreme being that creates all positive things, but I think religion is man-made in order to divide and control us.

HL: You promote literacy through poetry. How did that come about?

MECCA: I learned so much. There was so much knowledge I was blessed to have. I wanted to share that knowledge, that’s the only way it comes back. I like to communicate and the way I communicate best is through my talents, with my voice. I believe Spoken Word is rap; one is poetry to the beat and the other is freely spoken. I started reciting Spoken Word for myself, and then I started realizing that poetry was connected to creative writing, reading, absorbing information, and staying current with news from around the world.

I started to analyze the music, our market, and the statistics, and I noticed that so much of our youth was dropping out of school and dying. But Hip Hop was originally used as a tool to educate. So I said to myself, I can’t limit myself just to the message of culture. The kids need to understand what I’m saying. We need to make them literate, so that if I write a poetry book, they’ll be able to read it. They have to be able to get my message. And not necessarily just what I write in the lines, but I need them to understand the message that I’m saying between the lines. So I said there’s a mission and a message that is stronger than just going to the clubs and playing for money. Our youth needs to be elevated, spiritually and intellectually. So I go to schools and talk to the kids about the importance of being literate. Through the process of lyrics and poetry, kids become more perceptive. The teachers and the principals agree with this method because they have tried every tool, but they cannot get through. They are not using modern techniques to teach. Music and art make children more receptive, even to social studies and math. This has been proven.

So I want to use art to teach as well as for entertainment.

HL: You are very militant and active.

MECCA: You have to commit yourself to the cause if that’s what you’re talking about. You have to walk the walk, if you’re going to talk the talk. I don’t think that I’m militant. I’m just committed to what I speak about. I speak about Haiti and its contribution to the world, and when I go into the schools or am interviewed, it’s something people have to hear about.

HL: You are a big supporter of President Obama. You even wrote a song called “As Long as We Can.” Do you think President Obama will help Haitians in the U.S. with the deportation issue, and grant TPS? Do you think he will help Haiti in a way that doesn’t simply aim at advancing U.S. interests?

MECCA: That is truly a tough question. President Obama is a human being inside the system, just like every other president was. I definitely am for change. The way he ran his campaign, I was impressed with his commitment, with his message to the people. Now that he’s in office, we’ll have to see what will he do to deliver on his promises. But he still has my support because he’s committed to doing what he believes in.

As far as helping Haiti is concerned: there’s really an underlying agenda to not let Haiti be the icon that it can be, to not have the title that it should have. I mean, Haiti got its title a long time ago, but the reason why Haiti is still the way it is today is because there’s another agenda stopping Haiti from flourishing. Even though Obama is our president and he may have great intentions for Haiti, I don’t think a President has that much power to really make that decision and say: “OK, we’re going to free Haiti, or we are going to Haiti and restructure some things.” But I do think he wants to show that he wants to help in some way, and I think he will try to do some things. But I don’t know how much he can do because of the greater underlying agenda that keeps Haiti the way it is.

HL: As a second generation Haitian, how do you feel that immigrants from countries in better shape then Haiti have been granted TPS, while we are still struggling for simple immigration rights?

MECCA: I definitely feel the injustice, the inequality. Why hasn’t Haiti been helped, been rescued by the Caribbean coalition? This is where we come back to the hidden agenda, which I understand. And that’s where my job comes in: to educate people not to get depressed about it. I don’t like it. I don’t agree with this agenda, but I can’t get depressed about it. I have to continue to fight by educating the masses. I thank Haiti Liberté for giving me the chance to deliver my message. France still has an agenda, along with the British, to prevent Haiti from flourishing. When I went to Haiti, I was amazed at its beauty and saw the potential Haiti has. But when one sees images from Haiti here in the States, you only see the shoeless children in the slums, but they don’t show the places that look like paradise.

HL: Haiti is not less beautiful than Jamaica, for example. Trench-town is not less dangerous then Cite Soleil. Yet Haiti has no tourism. And in any other “ghetto” around the world, they don’t bring in the United Nation to “fight crime.”

MECCA: Once again, we are going back to the hidden agenda. When slavery was at its peak, 400,000 slaves rebelled and defeated two European armies… That is embarrassing for the former colonizers. So Haiti is still being held accountable for its history, and this is why we see Haiti suffering under embargos, without trees, and so forth. This was planned.

Francesca Guerrier summarized the rest of the interview: “We spoke on the record for almost an hour. We spoke quite a bit about Haitian hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean and his work and role in Haiti. Mecca also expressed his love and passion for Haiti, his sadness about the foreign military occupation of the country and the possibility of Haiti becoming a US protectorate. He reiterated his desire to continue spreading the knowledge about Haiti’s history and bravery as the first nation to break the chains of slavery.”

All articles copyrighted Haiti Liberte. REPRINTS ENCOURAGED.
Please credit Haiti Liberte.