A number of legislators in Brooklyn are calling for Little Haiti Cultural and Business District.
On Friday, Brooklyn Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte will be joined by Assemblymember Nick Perry, State Senator Kevin Parker, Council Member Jumaane Williams, Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo, Borough President Eric L. Adams, and leaders in the community in hosting a press conference calling on the New York City Council to officially make the designation.
According to Bichotte, the first event Haitian-American from New York City to be elected to the State Assembly, the event will feature the Brooklyn lawmakers and community leaders “speaking to the significance of a Little Haiti Cultural and Business District in Flatbush, Brooklyn.”
She said that the proposed Little Haiti Business and Cultural District will be defined as the area between Avenue H and Parkside Avenue, East 16th Street and Brooklyn Avenue, and Church Avenue and Albany Avenue.
Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said the designation of Little Haiti would not only recognize the unique contributions of Haitians to the U.S. but will also provide economic opportunity.
“The Little Italy model provided a blueprint of sorts for Little Haiti,” she said. “And we believe that with this designation we will see an infusion of tourism and business activity similar to the foot traffic seen in the Lower East Side after the designation of Little Italy.”
Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, said he was “proud to represent the largest group of Haitians in America, outside of Florida. Haitian culture has been and continues to be extremely impactful and beneficial in this community and in the entire city.
“This designation is 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,” added the son of Grenadian immigrants.
The conference will also feature the unveiling of a new sign for Toussaint L’Ouverture Blvd along portions of Nostrand Avenue, Bichotte said. Toussaint L’Ouverture is credited with leading the Haitian armies against the French during the Haitian Revolution until his death in 1803.
“Brooklyn is home to many Haitian Americans; my colleagues and I stand together to let our constituents of Haitian decent know we not only embrace but celebrate their culture. The significance of a figure like Toussaint L’Ouverture cannot be overstated”, said Parker, representative for the 21st Senatorial District. “This community should see their national heroes honored.”
Perry, the Jamaican-born representative for the 58th Assembly District, said the establishment of the Little Haiti Cultural and Business District is “a fitting tribute to the many Haitian-Americans who migrated to our community to live out their own American Dream.
“Friday’s ceremony is significant in that it is a very public display to the entire nation, that the vast contributions of Haitian-Americans will forever be celebrated here in Brooklyn, a place where we welcome all immigrants with open arms,” he added.
Borough President Eric L. Adams said Little Haiti is “an idea whose time has come.
“Brooklyn is the Port-au-Prince of America, and it’s time for the world to know and come experience all we have to offer,” he said. “On this year’s Haitian Flag Day, we raise our voices to make Little Haiti an official designation in the heart of Flatbush.”
Cumbo said the distinct identity of Haitian culture is “rooted in and influential to the American experience, and this designation would enable New Yorkers to appreciate the many contributions of Haitians to our great city.”
Friday’s event kicked off a weekend of activities celebrating Haitian culture, including a Flag Day Selebrayson and a viewing of the artwork of Patricia Brintle at Bichotte’s district office.