May 17, 2023
Blue Hill Avenue will be fluttering with the familiar red and blue flag of Haiti this Sunday (May 21) as the 21st annual Haitian American United (HAU) Unity Parade, featuring floats from the Haitian Consulate, Haitian businesses, churches, and other organizations, marches from Mattapan Square to Talbot Avenue and Harambee Park to celebrate Haitian Heritage Month and Haitian Flag Day.
Wilner Auguste of HAU said they will start the Unity Parade at 1 p.m. sharp. The grand marshal will be Ruthzee Louijeune – the first Haitian American to sit on the City Council in Boston. The march will conclude at Harambee Park in Franklin Field, where there will be a food, performances, and the presentation of the L’Ouverture Scholarship.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be the grand marshal because this was a parade I attended every year as a kid and to be at the head of that parade now is so cool and such an honor,” said Louijeune.
“It’s an incredible weight to be responsive to all the needs of our community, but it’s also so meaningful to celebrate by marching up Blue Hill Avenue in my community where the Haitian community is firmly planted. Even with such crisis and chaos in Haiti now, there is still room to celebrate Haiti, its flag, and what it means to Black liberation worldwide…We are grounded in hope as the only option.”
Other events planned for Haitian Heritage Month:
•Thurs., May 18 (Haitian Flag Day). A public Haitian flag-raising ceremony in front of Boston City Hall sponsored by HAU. That follows the invitation-only breakfast at City Hall.
From noon to 2 p.m., there will be a Day of Solidarity with Haiti rally adjacent to City Hall in front of the JFK Federal Building. The event seeks to draw attention to the violence, insecurity, and inaction ongoing in Haiti right now. It is being organized by Pastor Keke Fleurissaint and Dr. Geralde Gabeau.
•On Fri., May 19, at 9 a.m. a Haitian Heritage Celebration will be held at the Mattahunt Elementary School in Mattapan, which hosts the Toussaint L’Ouverture Academy.
•On Sat., May 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., there will be a Haitian American Business Expo and Job Fair at the Mildred Avenue Community Center in Mattapan. More than 600 attendees are expected throughout the day.
From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be a Haitian Health Conference at the Codman Square Health Center, 14 Epping St., with the Haitian Mental Health Network and other providers.
•Sat., May 27, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. IFSE’s Got Talent cabaret show at Mildred Avenue Community Center.