Join us for a “Taste of Haiti” on November 18!
Written by Kylie Butcher (Binghamton University) and Kara Zounon (SUNY Broome)
November has officially begun, which typically marks the start of the holiday season for most people. However, for the Haitian community, there is a much more significant event that takes place first – The Battle of Vertières.
In 1791, Toussaint L’Ouverture led a successful uprising of slaves, which marked the beginning of the Haitian Revolution. On November 18th,1803, near a city called Cap-Haitien in the North of Haiti, Vertières held one of the most important battles that led to Haiti’s independence and made it the first country to earn it. This battle opposed Haitian troops led by General Jean-Jacques Dessalines against French troops led by Rochambeau. The battle of Vertières was the final and decisive battle in Haitian history.
Almost killed by diseases and war, the French troops took refuge at Fort Vertières. Led by General Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the indigenous army decided to attack. Despite the heavy armament of the French soldiers, equipped with cannons, the Haitian brigade led by General François Capois, nicknamed Capois-La-Mort, continued to advance. Overwhelmed by events, the French garrisons led by Rochambeau eventually withdrew and by nightfall, an agreement was finally signed between the two parties. Rochambeau’s men were given 10 days to leave the scene for good. This battle marked the end of a long and bloody war of colonial reconquest.
Vertières has thus become a major and significant place of remembrance for Haitians, symbolizing the path to the country’s independence. The Haitian Revolution has the tremendous significance of being the only successful revolt by enslaved people in modern history. It resulted in the establishment of Haiti, the first independent black state in the New World and the second independent country in the Americas after the United States. On the site of Vertières, a monument was built in 1953 and inaugurated on the 150th anniversary of Haitian independence with a spectacular ceremony, with a re-enactment of the battle. The monument shows six Haitian heroes, four men (including General Capois) and two women, all armed and ready to fight for their country’s freedom. It was declared a national heritage site in 1995.
Turning to more recent history, since 2014 Health for Haiti has been connecting Broome faculty and students with our partners in rural Haiti. Together, we have been able to support Haiti in developing education, improving accessibility to clean water, creating community gardens, and promoting better nutrition. Even though we are currently unable to travel to Haiti, we are continuing our support for Haiti and our partners. We have not abandoned our neighbors in Haiti and instead, we are finding creative new ways to provide support. For example, SUNY Broome engineering students have been hard at work using their time and talents to develop a solar bakery for the community in Grande Saline.
We are also finding new partnerships and ways to provide support by connecting with Haitians who are part of our local community. We are proud to announce that this year, for the first time, Health for Haiti is joining with our local Haitian community on November 18th to celebrate the Battle of Vertières and raise funds for projects in Haiti. We are very excited about this event! It will feature delicious Haitian food catered by Tsha’s kitchen, guest speakers, and basket raffles. The event is being co-hosted by Health for Haiti, the SUNY Broome Dental Hygiene Club, and the SUNY Broome Engineering Club. It will take place from 6pm to 8:30pm in the SUNY Broome cafeteria. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children.
Please consider joining us on November 18 to celebrate and support Haiti!
Submitted by: Health for Haiti
Tags: Health for Haiti