Memorializing Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim May 12, 2021, as Haitian Unity Day in the State of New York

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Assembly Resolution No. 287

BY: M. of A. Solages

MEMORIALIZING Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim
May 12, 2021, as Haitian Unity Day in the State of
New York, in conjunction with the observance of
Haitian Heritage Month

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body, in keeping with
its time-honored traditions, to recognize and pay tribute to those
organizations 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
memorialize Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim May 12, 2021, as
Haitian Unity Day in the State of New York, in conjunction with the
observance of Haitian Heritage Month; 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
Dessalines 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
rebellion 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 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
collective 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 Du
Sable Museum of African American History in Washington Park and also
honored with the issue of a Black Heritage Series, 22 cent post stamp on
February 20th, 1987; and

WHEREAS, W.E.B. Du Bois was a civil rights activist who helped
advocate 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 American to earn a doctorate degree, thus setting a precedent
for the development 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
contemporary artists and poets; Basquiat's legacy is universally
recognized as a catalyst for social change; and

WHEREAS, John James Audubon, born in Haiti, inspired one of the
founders 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
developments 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 12, 2021, as
Haitian Unity Day in the State of New York, in conjunction with the
observance of Haitian Heritage Month, in honor of Haiti's legacy of
liberty and justice throughout the world and in honor of the significant
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
transmitted to The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of
New York.


  • 11 / May / 2021
  • 12 / May / 2021

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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