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

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Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative



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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