Brooklyn Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn, along with Council Member Farah N. Louis and Sen. Kevin S. Parker, on Saturday hosted the co-naming of an East Flatbush, Brooklyn, street in honor of Bichotte Hermelyn’s late mother, Haitian immigrant Marie Andrée Bichotte.
East 45th Street, at the corner of Farragut Road, is now co-named Marie Andrée Bichotte Way.
According to Lisa L. Derrick, chief-of-staff for Bichotte Hermelyn, the Haitian American representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, the elected officials said Marie Andrée Bichotte was “a great mother; an immigration activist; a prayer warrior; a supportive neighbor; a dedicated union member and delegate; and a micro-lender, helping many to achieve the American Dream.”
“Marie Andrée Bichotte supported many who were in need by providing shelter and connections to social services,” Derrick told Caribbean Life.
She said the unveiling ceremony was well attended, comprising several other elected officials, faith leaders and community leaders, as well as Community Board 17 members, members of the East 45th Street Block Association, and former colleagues of the Hotel Trades Council.
Derrick said Sen. Parker, who represents the 21st Senate District, “joyfully emceed this memorable event commemorating Marie Andrée Bichotte.”
Attendees were entertained with a musical saxophone version of the National Anthem, as well as a vocal rendition of “Stand Up,” a song from the movie Harriet, and a musical selection from La Novelle Naissance, a prayer group organization that was founded by Marie Andrée Bichotte, Derrick said.
She said several presenters shared their personal experience with Marie Andrée Bichotte, including, Bichotte Hermelyn, chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, who “shared her heartfelt stories of all that her mother had done for the community, as she so proudly revealed the T-shirt that bared her mother’s picture.”
“Today, Mar. 19, is the one-year anniversary of my mother’s passing, and I am overwhelmed with joy to celebrate the life and legacy of Marie Andrée Bichotte with her East 45th Street Block Association neighbors and the community at large,” Bichotte Hermelyn said.
“Honoring my mother with a street co-naming, Marie Andrée Bichotte Way, is so deserving,” she added. “And because of this street sign, an opportunity is created for those who come after her to ask who is Marie Andrée Bichotte; and they can be told the history of this great woman, the Harriet Tubman of this community.”
Louis, another daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, said: “Our community is home to inspiring New Yorkers like Marie Andrée Bichotte, who dedicated her life to serving others as a compassionate friend, neighbor and union delegate with the Hotel Trades Council.
“As we celebrate Women’s Herstory Month, it was a fitting tribute to unveil Marie Andrée Bichotte Way in recognition of her contributions to Flatbush, Brooklyn and beyond,” said Louis, co-chair of the Women’s Caucus in the City Council.
Parker said he was “honored to preside over Marie’s memorial ceremony and to celebrate her life and legacy with the community she loved.
“Marie was a union worker and delegate for the Hotel Trades Council, using this position to be a tireless advocate for immigrants like herself trying to make their way in this country,” he said. “We need more Marie Andree Bichotte’s in this world, and I believe having her name featured prominently in my district will inspire more people to follow in her footsteps.”
Marie West, of East 45th Street Block Association, said: “On behalf of my family and the East 45th Street Block Association, we are most proud to have Marie Andrée Bichotte Way, as her name is placed on Farragut Road.
“Having met her personally, it’s a privilege and honor to witness someone from our time be honored by her daughter, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn,” she said.
Rich Maroko, president of Hotel Trades Council (HHC), said Marie Andrée Bichotte “cared deeply for her fellow hotel workers and for her union, and her legacy will forever carry on at HTC.
“We are honored to participate in this event and to see her name memorialized on the very street that she called home,” he said. “We thank Assemblywoman Bichotte, a career-long supporter of hotel workers, for including us in this beautiful ceremony.”