Haitian American

Atlanta Quietly Find It’s Place in the Haitian-American Atlas

February 22nd Declared “Haitian Day” in Georgia.

Last month, community organization Haitian-American Youth Reaching Out partnered with State Rep. Erica Thomas and Governor Nathan Deal to celebrate the Haitian community and its contributions to the state of Georgia.  Together they declared February 22nd “Haitian Day” in Georgia. Here are a few of the photos we shared from the first annual day. The state celebrated at the state capitol by recognizing the growing Haitian community & contribution to the state of Georgia.

Some of the honorees include Atlanta DJ Kash and the Giving Hearts With Love Foundation, who were responsible for the Rise Up For Haiti concert which headlined Kirk Franklin on the seventh anniversary of the 2010 earthquake.

In this recent article by Creative Loafing titled Haiti rises in the ATL,

Over the past five to ten years, Atlanta has quietly found its place in the Haitian-American atlas. The Consulate General of Haiti in Atlanta, in fact, counts its local constituency at approximately 50,000. The fact that a Haitian Consulate even exists in Buckhead is a testament to the way that community has galvanized here, particularly since the 2010 earthquake which devastated Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.

This community consists of churches like Good Samaritan Haitian Alliance Church in Lawrenceville; restaurants like C’est Si Bon in Smyrna and Olé in Stone Mountain; and promoters like the Catch Me If You Can Social Club, which brings popular Haitian acts to the metro area on a fairly regularly basis. There is the well-established Haitian American Nurses Association, which partners with the Foundation for Haitian Development to organize an annual health fair with French and Haitian Kreyol-speaking volunteers.

“Haitian Day” in Georgia.

Yet, by and large, this community remains a secret society of sorts: those who are in know all the major players, the Haitian barber shops and grocery stores, the online radio stations and upcoming events featuring Haitian music, the gossip and the beefs. But then there are hundreds of people like Chenere Dieudonne, better known on Atlanta’s hip-hop airwaves and club scene as DJ Kash. Over the past two years, Kash has proclaimed himself “that fly Haitian kid” on both V-103 and Hot 107.9’s airwaves and become a fixture within the local West Indian community. “When I moved here, I didn’t really know where the Haitian community was,” says the Brooklyn native. “So I figured by making it known that I was Haitian and proud, that would bring the people to me.”

Group Photo of “Haitian Day” in Georgia.
The Haitian community is definitely here in the Atlanta area, though. And from the centrally placed vantage point of Saurel Quettan, president of the Georgia Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce, that community is thriving and more visible than ever. Quettan credits the earthquake as the final catalyst that brought some cohesiveness to the many smaller local Haitian groups that had been functioning prior to. “I would say going back 10 years before that, the community had been working to come together,” Quettan says. “In trying to work together after the earthquake, people started to pay attention to what was happening beyond their immediate circle, discovering new businesses and others with shared interests.”  Continue Reading Here 
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