Florida Senate - 2020                                     SM 976
       By Senator Pizzo
       38-01013-20                                            2020976__
    1                           Senate Memorial                         
    2         A memorial to the Congress of the United States,
    3         urging Congress to recognize January 1 as “Haitian
    4         Independence Day,” the month of May as “Haitian
    5         American Heritage Month,” May 18 as “Haitian Flag
    6         Day,” and the month of June as “Caribbean American
    7         Heritage Month.”
    9         WHEREAS, the United States of America has thrived as a
   10  country of immigrants, united by common values and the promise
   11  of a better tomorrow, and
   12         WHEREAS, the Republic of Haiti, an island nation located in
   13  the West Indies on the western third of the Island of
   14  Hispaniola, declared its independence from French colonial rule
   15  on January 1, 1804, following a slave revolt under the
   16  leadership of Generals Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jean-Jacques
   17  Dessalines, and Alexandre Pétion, becoming the first and only
   18  nation created from a successful slave rebellion, and
   19         WHEREAS, Haiti was the first independent nation in Latin
   20  America and the first postcolonial independent nation led by
   21  blacks in the world, and
   22         WHEREAS, Haitian Americans have made their mark on every
   23  facet of our society as educators, authors, community leaders,
   24  activists, athletes, artists, musicians, and politicians, and
   25  have contributed to the betterment and diversity of our state
   26  and nation, and
   27         WHEREAS, the close proximity of Haiti to American shores,
   28  in conjunction with our shared values and commitment to
   29  democracy, ensures lasting comity of nations and continued trade
   30  and diplomatic relations, and
   31         WHEREAS, an estimated 1.5 million persons of Haitian
   32  descent now live throughout this nation, and
   33         WHEREAS, the United States and Haiti share a history of
   34  freedom, a common belief in human rights, and diverse, complex,
   35  and resilient populations who have impacted the world through
   36  their vibrant cultures, commitment to democracy, and a wealth of
   37  talent and achievement, and
   38         WHEREAS, Haitian Independence Day is globally acknowledged
   39  and annually celebrated on January 1 as an affirmation of
   40  equality, freedom, and the abolition of slavery, and
   41         WHEREAS, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and Congressman
   42  Kendrick B. Meek, having acknowledged the importance of Haitian
   43  Americans in this nation’s history and diversity, have proposed
   44  resolutions in the United States House of Representatives to
   45  recognize the month of May as “Haitian American Heritage Month”
   46  in the United States, and
   47         WHEREAS, Haitian American Heritage Month is held to salute
   48  the Haitian and Haitian American communities and to exhibit
   49  appreciation for their culture and heritage, which have
   50  immeasurably enriched the lives of the people of this nation,
   51  and
   52         WHEREAS, the Haitian flag known today, a variant of which
   53  first came into use in 1806, is emblazoned with the country’s
   54  coat of arms and the colors red and blue, adopted from the flag
   55  of France, the country from which Haiti gained its independence,
   56  and
   57         WHEREAS, General Jean-Jacques Dessalines is regarded as the
   58  father of the Haitian flag and is known to have dramatically cut
   59  the French tricolor with his saber at the May 1803 Congress of
   60  Arcahaie, ripping away the white of the French flag to symbolize
   61  an end to European influence and leaving two strips that
   62  Catherine Flon then sewed back together: the blue, which
   63  represented the former African slaves brought to Haiti by
   64  colonial powers, and the red, which symbolized a people of mixed
   65  ancestry, and
   66         WHEREAS, the Haitian flag is a definitive symbol of pride
   67  for the Caribbean nation, having become the second republic,
   68  after the United States, to defeat a European colonial power in
   69  the Americas, and
   70         WHEREAS, Haitian Flag Day events are annually observed on
   71  May 18 and celebrated with pride and enthusiasm throughout the
   72  United States, and
   73         WHEREAS, from a region that conjures images of a scenic
   74  paradise, Caribbean Americans are as vibrant as the islands from
   75  which they come, possessing a wealth of talent and history that
   76  reverberates throughout this great state and nation, and
   77         WHEREAS, emigration from the Caribbean region to the
   78  American colonies began as early as 1619, with the arrival of
   79  indentured workers in Jamestown, Virginia, and since 1820,
   80  millions of people have emigrated from the Caribbean region to
   81  the United States, and
   82         WHEREAS, Caribbean Americans have made their mark on every
   83  facet of our society as educators, authors, community leaders,
   84  activists, athletes, artists, musicians, and politicians, and
   85  have contributed to the betterment and diversity of our state
   86  and nation, and
   87         WHEREAS, counted among the many famous sons and daughters
   88  of the Caribbean are activist W. E. B. Du Bois; Secretary of the
   89  Treasury Alexander Hamilton; the first African American
   90  Secretary of State, Colin Powell; actress Cicely Tyson; actor
   91  Sidney Poitier, the first African American actor to receive the
   92  Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role; author, poet,
   93  and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson; musician, actor,
   94  and activist Harry Belafonte; athlete Roberto Clemente, the
   95  first Latino inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame;
   96  and numerous others who have displayed great strength and
   97  resiliency while serving as pioneers among the people of the
   98  Caribbean, and
   99         WHEREAS, the modern political influences of Caribbean
  100  Americans are evident in the election of a former member of the
  101  Florida House of Representatives, Jennifer Carroll of Trinidad
  102  and Tobago, as Florida’s first Caribbean American Lieutenant
  103  Governor; the election of former Maryland Lieutenant Governor
  104  Anthony G. Brown, who is of Jamaican descent; and the continued
  105  representation in local, state, and national governments by
  106  members from the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jamaica,
  107  and other Caribbean nations, and
  108         WHEREAS, in June 2005, the United States House of
  109  Representatives unanimously adopted a concurrent resolution
  110  recognizing the significance of Caribbean people and their
  111  descendants in the history and culture of the United States and
  112  resolving that the month of June should be established as
  113  “Caribbean American Heritage Month,” and
  114         WHEREAS, on February 14, 2006, the United States Senate
  115  unanimously passed the resolution, culminating a 2-year
  116  bicameral effort, and
  117         WHEREAS, since the adoption of the resolution in 2005, the
  118  White House has issued an annual proclamation recognizing June
  119  as “Caribbean American Heritage Month,” exemplifying the
  120  importance of this observance across the nation, NOW, THEREFORE,
  122  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  124         That the Congress of the United States is urged to
  125  recognize January 1 as “Haitian Independence Day,” the month of
  126  May as “Haitian American Heritage Month,” May 18 as “Haitian
  127  Flag Day,” and the month of June as “Caribbean American Heritage
  128  Month.”
  129         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State dispatch
  130  copies of this memorial to the President of the United States,
  131  the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the
  132  United States House of Representatives, and each member of the
  133  Florida delegation to the United States Congress.