Resolution J4664-2013

Memorializing Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim May 28, 2014, as Haitian Unity Day in the State of New York



  • Apr 29, 2014: ADOPTED
  • Apr 24, 2014: REFERRED TO FINANCE


LEGISLATIVE   RESOLUTION  memorializing  Governor  Andrew  M.  Cuomo  to
proclaim May 14, 2014, 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 14, 2014, 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, The contributions of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a former slave,
led to Haiti's declaration of independence in 1804; Jean-Jacques  Dessa-
lines  became  the  first  ruler over an independent Haiti; Jean-Jacques
Dessalines' actions left a legacy of Haitian  nationalism;  The  Haitian
National  anthem,  La  Dessalinienne,  is  named  after him to honor his
fervent efforts to protect the independence of Haiti; 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  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 movement that led
to the Civil War; and
  WHEREAS, The Haitian Revolution ignited a  ground-breaking  change  in
the  history  of  the  modem  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; and
  WHEREAS, Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable was born in Saint-Marc Haiti; Du
Sable became the first permanent resident of Chicago and is known as the
Father of Chicago; Du Sable was honored with the creation of the DuSable
Museum of African American History in Washington Park and  also  honored
with  the issue of a Black Heritage Series, 22 cent post stamp on Febru-
ary 20th, 1987; and
  WHEREAS, W.E.B. Du Bois was a civil rights activist who  helped  advo-
cate  for  equality amongst African Americans, he also encouraged social
mobility by introducing African Americans to higher education, W.E.B. Du
Bois is the founder of the NAACP and he was also the first African Amer-
ican to earn a doctorate degree, thus setting a precedent for the devel-
opment of the Black race in the United States; and
  WHEREAS, Jean-Michel Basquiat, born  in  Brooklyn,  New  York,  became
famous for his profound, thought provoking artwork which employed social
commentary  to  discuss  social inequalities and promote social mobility
and equality; Basquiat's artwork has been influential to many  contempo-
rary artists and poets; Basquiat's legacy is universally recognized as a
catalyst for social change; and
.SO DOC S R4664                                  RESO TEXT            2013
  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, Haitian culture and contributions have had a definite mark on
not  only the progression of equality and independence but also upon the
development of eclectic expressions of arts and literature, moreover the
long lasting influence that Haitian Americans have on the United  States
can be seen through the movements of a productive society, such develop-
ments have been collectively centered to push the populace forward; 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 14, 2014, 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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