Resolution J1999-2013

Memorializing Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim May 23, 2013, as Haitian Unity Day in the State of New York



  • May 23, 2013: ADOPTED
  • May 20, 2013: REFERRED TO FINANCE


LEGISLATIVE   RESOLUTION  memorializing  Governor  Andrew  M.  Cuomo  to
proclaim May 23, 2013, as Haitian Unity Day in the State of New York

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body, in keeping  with  its
time-honored traditions, to recognize and pay tribute to those organiza-
tions  which  foster  ethnic  pride  and enhance the profile of cultural
diversity which strengthens the fabric of the communities  of  New  York
State; and
  WHEREAS,  Attendant to such concern, and in full accord with its long-
standing traditions, this Legislative Body is justly proud to  memorial-
ize  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim May 23, 2013, as Haitian Unity
Day in the State of New York; and
  WHEREAS, Haiti, located less than 700 miles from the United States  of
America,  is  the  second  nation  in  the Western Hemisphere, after the
United States, to earn its independence, and has, since 1803, stood as a
beacon of freedom as the first black-governed republic in the world; and
  WHEREAS, Haiti is one of the original members of  the  United  Nations
and several of its specialized and related agencies, as well as a member
of the Organization of American States (OAS); and
  WHEREAS,  On  August  22,  1791,  Haiti  was  the  island nation where
hundreds of thousands of enslaved persons initiated the most  successful
slave  rebellion  in  history; under the military leadership of Francois
Toussaint L'Ouverture, the grandson of  an  African  chief,  making  the
Haitian  revolution  a  major  turning point in the history of the world
with repercussions extending far beyond the Caribbean nation; and
  WHEREAS, Haiti's victory against France redefined Napoleon's goals  in
the  Western Hemisphere and so set the stage for the Louisiana Purchase,
a single acquisition doubling the United States' size, giving the United
States its heartland, control of the Mississippi River and the important
port city of New Orleans on the Gulf of Mexico; the Louisiana  territory
drew immigrants from all over Europe, transforming and strengthening the
United States and the American people; and
  WHEREAS,  For many years preceding the American Civil War, the Haitian
Revolution had a substantial influence over many  of  the  policies  and
laws  in  the United States that related to slavery such as, in 1794 and
1800, the federal government passage of anti-slave trade laws to prevent
the possible spread of the Haitian slave revolt to  the  United  States:
prohibiting  citizens  from  equipping  ships  engaged  in  slave  trade
commerce, barring Americans from serving  aboard  such  ships,  or  from
having any interest in their voyages; and
  WHEREAS, In 1792, a number of measures taken to prevent a slave rebel-
lion  such  as  Haiti's in the United States were so brutal and inhumane
that these acts drove and strengthened the crusade of the  abolitionists
in the United States, therefore having a profound influence on the move-
ment that led to the Civil War; and
  WHEREAS,  The  Haitian  Revolution ignited a ground-breaking change in
the history of the modern world by enabling  hundreds  of  thousands  of
African  slaves worldwide and tens of thousands of free persons of color
to find the wherewithal to unite in the quest for individual and collec-
tive liberty; and
  WHEREAS, Haitian people have migrated to the United States  since  the
1700s, resulting in approximately 200,000 Haitians residing in the State
of New York; and
  WHEREAS,  Our state enjoys a great legacy from the successors of freed
Haitian slaves who came to the United States, notably Pierre  Toussaint,
the  first  layman now being proposed by the Catholic Church to become a
saint, who arrived in New York in 1787, where he turned his home into  a

shelter  for  orphans, a credit bureau, an employment agency, and a safe
haven for priests; Toussaint was a benefactor of the first New York City
Catholic school for Black children at  St.  Vincent  de  Paul  on  Canal
Street;  Toussaint  also  provided  money  to build a new Roman Catholic
church in New York,  which  became  old  Saint  Patrick's  Cathedral  on
Mulberry Street; and
  WHEREAS, In October of 1995, Pope John Paul II, from the throne in the
sanctuary  of  New  York's  Saint Patrick's Cathedral, publicly bestowed
Pierre Toussaint with the suffix Venerable, which  is  the  second  step
towards becoming a saint in the Catholic Church because Pierre Toussaint
transcends race through his miracle and charitable acts as evidence that
he  is  not a man limited in range and that his love for his neighbor is
not restricted to race or tribe; and
  WHEREAS, Many other notable Haitians have made rich  contributions  to
the  nation,  such  as the Tuskegee trained Raymond Cassagnol who helped
form the Haitian Air Force in the United States; Jean Baptiste Point  Du
Sable  from  San Marc, a Haitian immigrant who founded the first non-in-
digenous settlement in what is now Chicago, Illinois,  where  he  estab-
lished a community, attracted colonists to the area, and founded a trad-
ing post, which had a major impact on Chicago's early economy; and
  WHEREAS, John James Audubon, born in Haiti, inspired one of the found-
ers  of the Audubon Society in the late 1800s, to name the society after
John James Audubon because of his reputation and deep  appreciation  and
concern  for  the  natural  world; to this day, the name Audubon remains
synonymous with  avian  life,  wildlife  protection,  and  environmental
conservation the world over; and
  WHEREAS,  It  is  the  practice  of this Legislative Body to recognize
those important days which remind us of the rich and diverse heritage of
our great State and Nation; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause  in  its  deliberations  to
memorialize  Governor  Andrew  M.  Cuomo  to  proclaim  May 23, 2013, as
Haitian Unity Day in the State of New York, in honor of  Haiti's  legacy
of  liberty and justice throughout the world and in honor of the signif-
icant and countless contributions of New Yorkers of Haitian descent  who
have enriched our Nation and our State; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted  to  The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New


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