May is celebrated by Haitians all over the world as Haitian Heritage Month. May 1st is celebrated as Labor and Agricultural Day. This is a day when workers, artisans and peasants parade in singing together: “Let’s put Shoulder against Shoulder for Haiti’s Development. PICO-OPODNE leaders in Terrier Rouge honored this tradition by coming together for a day of service and planting; doing a community cleanup and planting trees and a community garden. In Vallieres, leaders celebrated their agricultural bounty with a community festival.
May has great historical and cultural meaning based upon the traditions inherited since Haiti’s independence in 1804. May reminds Haitians of the historic pact signed by the Black and Mulatto officers in May 1803 and the creation of the Haitian flag. It was under that flag they fought and expelled the French army, so Haiti became the first Black independent country in the world on January 1, 1804. PICO leaders embody this tradition since their founding three years ago with the daily exercise of democratic decision making, economic empowerment, and fierce exercise of accountability and independence. Fourteen communities have active leadership teams where some walk four hours just for the chance to plan and work together. They are making progress, organizing peanut, sorghum, chicken and fishing co-ops. They are fixing roads, planting trees and cleaning up trash. All of this in the absence of a government that provides any support.
Mothers’ Day is celebrated in Haiti on the last Sunday of May. PICO-Haiti is fueled by powerful women leaders. Among those we honor are Florcie Tyrell is the Executive Director of OPODNE who travels all over the Northeast to meet with groups of leaders who are learning how to improve their lives; Elizette Raymond, the President of the Capotille Cooperative; Denise Bernadin, President of the Vallieres Cooperative; Marie St-Fleur, Principal of school in Mombin Crochu and Vice President of OPODNE. We honor the powerful leadership of these women and all the women who are mothers to their families, communities and country.
Join us in honoring the valiant women and men who are reclaiming the Haitian heritage. Learn how you can support a local community empowerment effort there.