haitian_carnival.jpgThe planning committee of the Palm Beach County Haitian Heritage Month celebration has announced the events that will take place in the community during the month of May.

The month-long series of activities will begin with a Kick-Off Event Opening Ceremony and Reception at Gilou Restaurant on May 1. It will be followed by cultural and academic activities on different dates and locations.

Commemoration of Haitian Heritage Month – Mwa Eritaj Ayisyen – 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 world community.

On May 18, a Haitian flag-raising ceremony will take place at Boynton Beach City Hall and at the Belle Glade City Hall.

Other Haitian Heritage Month 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, an exhibition of art by Haitians in Palm Beach County at the Palm Beach International Airport, a day-long cultural festival in Belle Glade, a national Haitian American forum at Barton Elementary School, and an exhibit of art works by children of Jacmel, Ayiti Cheri,  created out of the rubble of last year’s earthquake in Haiti.

Haitian and Haitian American students represent the largest ethnic minority group from a single country in the School District of Palm Beach County, totaling more than 14,000. According to community activists, Palm Beach County is home to more than 90,000 Haitians.

The advisory board members supporting the celebration of this year’s Haitian Heritage Month include Marcia Andrews, Palm Beach County School Board member; state Rep. Mackenson Bernard, D-84th District; Richard Champagne, president, Haitian Lawyers Association; Father Roland Desormeaux of Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Church; C. B. Hanif, representative of Palm Beach County Muslim community.

Also, Jacques Lafontant, president of the Haitian American Democratic Club;  Sophia Lafontant of  OXFAM; Woodie McDuffie, mayor of Delray Beach; Dr. Immacula Michel of Support the Children and Families; Veronique F. Pluviose of the American Red Cross; Rene Varela, mayor of Lake Worth; Jose Rodriguez, mayor of Boynton Beach: state Sen. Maria L. Sachs, D-30th District; and Rabbi Barry Silver of Temple L’Dor Va Dor.

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