maj_joseph_bernadel_web.jpgWEST PALM BEACH — The Palm Beach County Haitian Heritage Month Celebration Planning Committee has announced the events that will take place in support of the 2012 Heritage Month.

The board of directors is inviting the public to the May 1 Opening Ceremony and Reception, 6 p.m. at the Lantana Road Branch Library, 4020 Lantana Rd., featuring well-known artist Jean Michel Daudier.

Admission to all Haitian Heritage Month events is free and open to the public. Visit palmbeach for more details.

The Haitian Heritage Month commemoration recognizes the valuable contributions made by Haitians to the history of the world and to South Florida. It is a celebration of Haitian history and culture and an opportunity to share this culture with other communities.

“Our goal is to build up the self-esteem of all Haitians in our community and the whole world,” said retired U.S. Army Maj. Joseph Bernadel, co-founder of Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts and Social Justice and this year’s committee chairman.

This initial event will be followed by a number of cultural and academic activities at various dates and locations.

On May 18, Haitian flag-raising ceremonies will take place at Boynton Beach City Hall and Lake Worth City Hall.

Other highlights include cultural and educational events at various county library branches, a traditional student essay contest sponsored by Gaskov Clergé Foundation, a Haitian Heritage Book Festival, a photo exhibit featuring prominent Haitian figures in Palm Beach County, a brunch at the Transportation Department of the School District of Palm Beach County, a daylong Cultural Festival/Community Outreach in Belle Glade on May 26, and more.

The school district partners with the Palm Beach County Library System and Toussaint L’Ouverture High School to coordinate the events. Haitian and Haitian-American students represent the largest ethnic minority group from a single country in the school district with more than 14,000 students. Palm Beach County is estimated to be home to more than 90,000 Haitians.

For more information, contact Bito David 561-644-6488 or; Jane Marcel 561-654-1048 or; or Marjorie Lear 561-233-2783 or

Democratic Haitian American Caucus Honoring Women In a related event, the Democratic Haitian American Caucus of Florida will host its third Haitian Heritage Banquet honoring the contributions of women to Haitian Heritage, 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 at the Casa Chanpet Restaurant, 220 N. University Drive (northwest corner Pines Boulevard), in Pembroke Pines, FL 33024. The $45 per person contribution includes buffet brunch and beverage.

For more information contact Evelyn T. Garcia, or 561-693-8041.

Photo: Joseph Bernadel