haitian_carnival.jpgThe planning committee of the Palm Beach County Haitian Heritage Month celebration announced that the kick-off event will take place at Gilou Restaurant on Sunday.

It will be followed by a series of cultural and academic activities at different dates and locations throughout the county.

The celebration recognizes the contributions made by Haitians to the history of the United States and the world.

It is a celebration of Haitian history and culture and an opportunity to share this culture with the wider community.

The high point will be a Haitian flag-raising ceremony at the Belle Glade and Boynton Beach city halls on May 18.

Other highlights will include an art exhibit at the Clay, Glass, Metal and Stone Gallery in Lake Worth; cultural and educational events at Palm Beach County Library branches; a student essay contest; sports events; an art exhibit featuring Haitians in Palm Beach County at the Palm Beach International Airport.

Also, a day-long cultural festival in Belle Glade; a Haitian-American forum at Barton Elementary School; and an art exhibit of the works of the children of Jacmel, Ayiti Cheri, created from the debris of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010.

Haitian and Haitian-American students represent the largest ethnic minority group from a single country in the School District of Palm Beach County, numbering more than 14,000.

According to community activists, Palm Beach County is home to more than 90,000 Haitians.

Advisory Board members supporting the celebration include Marcia Andrews, School Board member; Mackenson Bernard, state representative, 84th district; Richard Champagne, president, Haitian Lawyers Association; Father Roland Desormeaux, Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Church; C. B. Hanif, Muslim activist.

Also, Jacques Lafontant, president, Haitian American Democratic Club;  Sophia Lafontant, OXFAM; Woodie McDuffie, mayor of the City of Delray Beach; Dr. Immacula Michel, Support the Children and Families; Veronique F. Pluviose – Red Cross America.

Also, Rene Varela, mayor of  Lake Worth; Jose Rodriguez, mayor of  Boynton Beach: Maria L. Sachs, state senator, 30th district; and Rabbi Barry Silver, Temple L’Dor Va Dor.

Admission to all Haitian Heritage Month events is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.palmbeachschools.org/pao/creole/MwaEritajAyisyen2010.asp