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Forum sparked fire among our

NHAF meeting

The 2009 National Haitian American Forum has sparked a fire among our leaders in Palm Beach County. After the forum we have received numerous calls from our community leaders who wanted to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing our community. Although there are many organizations and individuals working to improve the lives of our people, the lack of cohesiveness make their effort ineffective. On June 19th the NHAF committee organized a meeting among our leaders to bring about that cohesiveness that will enable them to be effective in their task and here is how it all went down.

The meeting took place at TLHS within CHAD, an ad hoc group that meets once a month under the direction of Mrs. Evelyn Garcia. Among those present were, Pastor Judy, Wordy,Wordy Nicolas, Dr. Pierre Dorsainvil, Juddy Hoffman, Dr. Serge Alexander, Jane Marcelle, Dr. Guylaine Richard, Coolgi, Frensisca Aristil, Dr.Lafallaise, Commisionner Mack Bernard, Salusa Basquin, Dr. Immacula Michel and others. I, Ed Shakespierre, was the chairperson for the meeting. I started by making clear to everyone the purpose of this meeting and the role that and NHAF will play during and after the meeting. "Our role is to facilitate this meeting, assist in creating a temporary committee, which none of our members will be part of, and lastly be the watch dog/accountability partner of the committee".

I then proceeded by explaining to them that our committee (NHAF committee) has a few suggestions on how to start the process of solving some of the issues discussed during the forum but it must start with the creation of a temporary committee that is made up of everyone present irrespective of their organization or political affiliation. At first it Mack Bernardseemed like an impossible task since nearly everyone had an excuse as to why they couldn't be part of a committee and for a good 20 to 30 minutes we seemed to revert back to our old ways of doing things, which is to ask unnecessary questions and make long speeches. If I may, I'd like to get off subject here for a minute. I have been told by a couple of folks whom I admire and respect that I had a little problem while conducting the meeting which was that, I cut people off. Well, let me first start by saying my apologies to all the people I cut off. While I'm at it, let me also apologize to those of you I may cut off in the future (lol). As a people we need to get away from talking just to talk or to make lengthy comments off subject. We also need to understand the importance of time management.

I received a gift from my thoughtful and talented event coordinator, Ms. Frensisca Aristil, and in that package was a book by Donald Trump. in his book titled, "Think like a champion" Mr. Trump has a chapter titled "Keep it Short, Fast, and Direct". That is ed shakespierresomething we have to learn. After my conversation with my friend who pointed out I cut people off during the meeting, I then realized why our politicians in Haiti have no time to do anything else. it's because they go on so much and everyone, including some journalists, are afraid of cutting them off or telling them to just answer the question. Most of the time I think they talk so much that by the end of their conversation they forgot what they said they were going to do. Another problem that stems from bad time management is our tardiness. Many of our attendees were late and that resulted in many of them asking the same questions that have already been answered. For example, "What is the purpose of this meeting? What is CHAD? What is NHAF?" and so on. Let's get back to the meeting before you cut me off and stop reading this post (lol).

Many great points were made during the meeting, but one in particular seems to be atDr. Guylaine Richardthe root of our problem. Judy Hoffman suggested that all of the committee members and leaders in the community get with a Buddhist Monk to work on their egos. This sentiment was also echoed by Dr. Richard, just without the Buddhist Monk. We were all told to check our egos at the door although it seamed like a couple of us still didn't get the message. After a lot of "Chire pit e tire pie", it finnally got down to me begging the question, "Would you like to be part of a temporary committee aiming at solving some of the issues discussed during the forum such as education and the lack of representation? Yes or no?" Although clearly a lot of us were in favor of the idea (nearly 95%) there was again a lot of "chire pit e tire pie", but at last here are the committee members: Pastor Wordy Nicolas (Chairperson), Dr. Guylaine Richard, Dr. Pierre Dorsaintvil, Juddy Hoffman, Commissionner Mack Bernard, Salusa Basquin, Dr. Serge Alexandre, and Dr. Lafallaise.

I feel very optimistic about this group because of the mixture between the generations along with the experiences and energies they bring. As the saying goes, "There are always some bad apples in every basket". We should not fear the bad apples however we should not let them define the basket. in the end, we should be able to say the power of good triumph over the spirit of evil instead of the usual saying a few bad apples corrupt the basket. can I get a Amen! We will keep you posted with the progress of the committee. their first meeting is Friday july 3rd and yes I will be there to be the eyes and hears of the people.

My name is ed shakespierre and I wrote it!

See pictures from the meeting here