Whittier Celebrates: May is Haitian Heritage Month
May is Haitian Heritage Month, and Whittier Street Health Center is celebrating the diverse culture, heritage, contributions, and struggles of the Haitian community throughout history. Haitian Heritage Month was first celebrated in Boston 20 years ago to emphasize our Haitian constituents’ pride in their culture and heritage. The month of May festivities are a carryover of the island’s Haitian Flag Day, a national holiday dating back to 1804 when the island gained its independence and created the country’s national flag.
On Sunday, May 15, 2022, the City of Boston will host the Haitian American Unity Parade at 1pm beginning at Mattapan/Blue Hill Avenue. Whittier Street Health Center is a proud sponsor of this event.
Whittier Street Health Center’s Haitian Heritage Day Celebration will be held on Thursday, May 19, 2022, from 4 pm to 7 pm, at 1290 Tremont Street, Roxbury, MA. Everyone is welcome to attend this lively event that will feature Haitian food, live Haitian music, Haitian dancers, and speeches by local Haitian leaders.
The Haitian flag has long been a symbol of pride for Haiti. Haitian Flag Day is all about celebrating the culture and heritage of the Haitian flag, embellished with the country’s coat of arms and the colors red and blue, adopted from the French flag.
The Haitian flag features a coat of arms representing the nation’s readiness to defend its freedom centered on the bicolor background. This national symbol also features a royal palm that symbolizes independence. Beneath the palm is the Haitian motto: L’Union fait la Force, With Unity there is Strength, the cornerstone of Haitian beliefs.
The Boston metropolitan area (Boston-Cambridge-Quincy) has the third largest Haitian population in the nation with 65,658 residents.
We hope you will join in and celebrate the Haitian community in the greater Boston Community. For a list of other local events in and around Boston celebrating Haiti, check out this list of Haitian Flag Day Events.
Here are some other interesting facts about the island nation of Haiti:
Haiti is the most populous island in the West Indies and the second-largest after Cuba. The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island, and Haiti occupies the western one-third of the island. The capital of Haiti is Port-au-Prince, and the population of the country is estimated to be 11,680,2803, according to the United Nations data.
Haiti is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean. The Taíno people, who lived on the island before the arrival of Columbus, named the island Ayiti, which translates as ‘land of the mountains.’ When the French colonized the island in 1697, they called it Saint Dominque. When the island won its independence in 1804, Haitians reverted to its Taíno name of Haiti or Ayiti in Kreyòl.
Visit your local library for a list of books that explore Haiti’s amazing people, customs and culture. Additionally, the Library of Congress offers Research Guides that provides access to narratives and primary sources, as well as print and electronic resources, centering Haitian cultural and historical contributions for Black liberation movements in the United States and in Latin America. Visit Freedom in the Black Diaspora: A Resource Guide for Ayiti.
For more information about Whittier Street Health Center’s Haitian Heritage Day Celebration contact Bob Edwards at 617.989.3028.