In 2007, a group of Haitian-Americans joined efforts to create the Council of Haitian American Diaspora (CHAD). After organizing the council, it was suggested that it be best they join the Palm Beach Chapter of the statewide Caribbean Caucus. During those early years as members of the Caribbean Caucus, their participation lent the needed experience, valuable insight and passion to initiate a charter for what we know as today, the Democratic Haitian American Caucus of Florida. This organization would focus on specific issues to the Haitian community. The co-founders: Evelyn T. Garcia, Guy E. Garcia, Gerard Cols, Ford Eloge, Jean Talleyrand, Tamara Toussaint and Gabriel Toussaint felt that specific lobbying and advocating was needed for policies that affected Haitian-Americans in Florida; one being Immigration and the fight for Temporary Protective Status (TPS). During this time, thousands of native Haitians were displaced from their homes in Haiti due to the tragic Earthquake in 2010. International relations between the United States and Haiti needed due care and proper attention, as there was lack of positive relations.
Leading from 2010 and 2018
With support from the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee, the founders were able to successfully charter the Democratic Haitian American Caucus of Florida, with Evelyn T. Garcia as the first president from 2010-2014. During her tenure, Mrs. Garcia galvanized Haitian-Americans throughout the state gaining members from Orlando, West Palm Beach, Miami Dade, Broward, Port St. Lucie and Jacksonville, to name a few. Her tireless work and effort set the stage for Dr. Larry Pierre, who led the caucus from 2014-2018, where he preserved its mission and values. Under his leadership, the caucus began to build strong relationships with members of Senate and Congress, leading to several trips to Washington, D.C. for involvement with the Congressional Black Caucus, along with lobbying for Immigration and Human Rights for Haitians in Dominican Republic. During his tenure, he focused his resources on supporting young Haitian-Americans to run for office; providing them with the skills and resources to lead. Between 2008 and present, DHACF has supported the candidacy of several Haitian-Americans and others, including State Representative Al Jacquet, Commissioner Mack Bernard, Dr. Rudy Moise, and Evelyn Garcia to name a few; several who have been elected, while all benefitting from the shared resources and experiences.
The Next Blue Wave: 2018 and beyond
Today, the caucus is dedicated to preserving the original mission, but we are excited about the new blue wave that we will create within the Haitian community, with the purpose to Educate, Engage and Empower! To train and develop millennials to take on the helm and run for office. We are creating the next generation of leaders through our Emerging Leaders Committee, where college-aged millennials will lead and direct our caucus on ways to educate, engage, and empower young Haitian-Americans—therefore bridging the generational gap! Promoting digital organizing within our Get-Out-To-Vote efforts, volunteerism within our communities, creating strategic partnerships with clubs, caucuses and organizations who support our mission, and continuously finding ways to engage members throughout the state of Florida.
The 2018-2020 Board is dedicated to taking the caucus to the next level, with our values rooted in:
OPPORTUNITY: Educate all on the issues and policies that affect the Haitian community
INCLUSIVENESS: Engage Haitian-Americans in the political process at the local, state and national level
PROGRESS: Empower Haitian-Americans and those who support us, with the resources to run for office and be elected
We look forward to you joining us on this journey!
L'Union Fait La Force! (Unity Makes Strength)