Many members of Key West’s Haitian community got up to receive a proclamation by Mayor Craig Cates and Commissioner Sam Kaufman recognizing Haitian Flag Day and Haitian Heritage Month.
The proclamation notes that “the growth and prosperity of the City of Key West is due in part to an ethnic diversity that includes a substantial and rapidly increasing Haitian population.”
Haitian President Dumarsais Estimé started the Flag Day celebration with parades, cultural and athletic events in many cities in Haiti in the 1930s, when he was minister of education under President Sténio Vincent. Estime wanted to commemorate annually the creation of the Haitian flag on May 18 to encourage the development of patriotic sentiments among Haitian youth.
Accepting the proclamation, Renel Mernir remarked that Haiti has been free since 1791 and “has fought for the freedom of all mankind.”
The nation has played major roles in many historic fights from freedom, including the American Revolution and the Civil War.
“It is appropriate to promote awareness, and understanding of cultural diversity in our society,” reads the proclamation, “in order to strengthen the self-esteem of our multicultural community.”
May 18th is set aside as Haitian Flag Day, and the entire month of May celebrates Haitian heritage.