Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre Leads New York State Delegation to Haiti

Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Babylon) recently led a delegation of officials to the Republic of Haiti to build upon the existing relationship between the New York State and Haiti. The New York State Haitian Delegation has been a fundamental resource for Haiti in the years following the 2010 earthquake, which killed over 200,000 people and displaced an additional 1.5 million. Some 22,000 Haitians reside in New York under Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

“As a Haitian-American, it was a true honor to lead this delegation and continue the open dialogue that’s needed to provide the support and resources that Haiti needs,” said Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre. “It’s imperative that we continue to strengthen the cultural and social relations between the two countries as Haiti continues to recover.”

The trip featured meetings with various Haitian officials, delegates, committees, ministry personnel and civil society members to exchange ideas related to employment, infrastructure and government transparency. Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre was joined by Assemblymembers Pamela Harris, Latrice Walker and Clyde Vanel, as well as Senator Kevin Parker, Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Shaun McKay, and Haitian-American Political Action Committee (HAPAC)/Fidelia Group President Astrid Fidelia.

Senator Kevin Parker said: "I thank my colleague Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre for leading the New York delegation trip to Haiti as it afforded us the opportunity to see firsthand the needs of our Haitian brothers and sisters as they struggle to rebuild in the wake of the unfortunate natural disasters the republic has experienced since the 2010 earthquake. I look forward to continuing to work closely with my colleagues in the state Legislature to not only improve the quality of life for Haitians in New York State, but back home on the island as well.”

Assemblywoman Pamela Harris said: “I was honored to join colleagues from the Assembly and Senate as part of this delegation to Haiti to meet so many wonderful and influential Haitians. We can learn so much from each other, and by continuing the dialogue and discussing ideas, we will also help strengthen the ties between our countries.”

Assemblywoman Latrice Walker said: “It was such an honor to have an invitation extended to me to visit such an amazing island; I’ve been introduced to the Haitian government’s legislation and had the opportunity to experience their culture firsthand. I’ve spoken to various government officials, visited students at their primary school, and learned about the technical, administrative and financial monitoring of projects at L'Unité Technique d'Exécution and I’m extremely grateful.”

Assemblyman Clyde Vanel said: “I would like to thank Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre for coordinating the delegation trip to Haiti. In this economy, we must find opportunities for New Yorkers around the globe. Haiti is a prime region for economic investment and growth. We look forward to continuing and growing New York’s relationship with Haiti.”

Dr. Shaun McKay said: “I was proud to join fellow delegation members on our visit to Haiti to meet with government and relief officials and to learn about the efforts to better the lives of Haitians. In times of great challenge in our country and around the world, Americans have always come together to lend a hand and to serve others. I look forward to continuing a dialogue with the Haitian officials and delegation members to help better the lives of those abroad and the many Haitians who call the U.S. and New York, home.”

HAPAC President Astrid Fidelia said: “It was great to open up a channel of communication with the Haitian government and citizens of Haiti. The most important takeaways from our trip were the lack of treatment for cholera – which has taken the lives of over 700,000 citizens—and access to capital. With the average daily salary being less than five dollars per person, working professionals and the people of Haiti do not have the financial means to sustain themselves or grow their businesses. The Fidelia Group plans to respond by providing access to capital to the private sector and hosting a medical mission trip to Haiti to help bring an end to the cholera epidemic.”

With approximately 125,000 Haitian immigrants, New York is home to the second largest Haitian-American population in the United States, and the state Legislature has worked tirelessly to provide support to Haiti in times of crisis through legislation and community service events.