Day 25: Black History Month: “Notable Haitian American Politicians and Civil Servants”

Day 25: Black History Month: “Notable Haitian American Politicians and Civil Servants”

  • Richard Howell Gleaves (1819 – 1907): ““He helped form the South Carolina Union League and was instrumental in the organization of the Republican Party in South Carolina, serving as president of the party’s state convention in 1867 and as a state executive committeeman in 1874.” – South Carolina Encyclopedia

Richard Howell Gleaves was a prominent attorney, entrepreneur, and holder of several elected offices during the Reconstruction Era. He served as Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina and the National Grand Master of the Prince Hall National Grand Lodge of North America, a fraternal order which served as a vital organization for black male professionals and intellectuals.

Gleaves was born on July 4, 1819, in Philadelphia to a Haitian father and an English mother. After an early career as a trader along the Mississippi River, he moved to Beaufort, South Carolina in 1866, where he practiced law. From 1870 to 1872, Gleaves served as a trial justice, probate judge, and commissioner of elections in Beaufort County. He also went into business as a merchant with business partner Robert Smalls, the Civil War naval hero who famously commandeered three ships in the Confederate Navy.

Gleaves was a prominent Prince Hall Freemason who eventually constructed a black fraternal hall in Beaufort that is now called the Sons of Beaufort Lodge. He also established the first Prince Hall Lodge in Ohio in 1848.”

Source : RICHARD HOWELL GLEAVES – Embassy of Haiti

  • Alonzo Jacob Ransier: “South Carolina’s first black lieutenant governor, Alonzo Ransier had a reputation for fighting corruption that helped him win election to the 43rd Congress (1873–1875). An observer on the House Floor described him as “a man of great courage and sagacity,” concluding, “Mr. Ransier’s political career has been a varied and powerful one, and his strong, tough, active brain makes him an effective and worthy worker in the House.”

Alonzo Jacob Ransier was born to free parents—likely Haitian immigrants of French background—on January 3, 1834, in Charleston, South Carolina. As a free black child, he received a limited education before beginning work as a shipping clerk at age 16. Free African Americans were prohibited by state law from holding jobs other than those involving manual labor, and his employer was brought to trial; however, the law generally often went unenforced, and, in Ransier’s case, the judge levied a fine of only one cent plus court costs.

Ransier’s prewar freedom provided him the financial security and prominence to establish himself quickly in postwar South Carolina politics. In 1865, the military governor of the Carolinas, General Daniel Sickles, appointed Ransier as register of elections. In October 1865, Ransier participated in a Charleston meeting of the Friends of Equal Rights and was part of a delegation charged with presenting a petition to the U.S. Congress.4 Ransier’s political star rose in 1868. In January, he served as a delegate from Charleston to the South Carolina constitutional convention. The following October, he took over the post of Republican state central committee chairman after Benjamin F. Randolph was assassinated by the Ku Klux Klan. The following November, he served as a South Carolina elector for President Ulysses S. Grant and was elected to the state house of representatives where he served one term.

Although he was not a dominant personality in South Carolina politics, Ransier became a well–recognized and popular leader in Charleston. In 1870, he reached what is widely considered the apex of his political career when he defeated ex–Confederate General M. C. Butler to become South Carolina’s first black lieutenant governor, under Governor Robert K. Scott.6 His position afforded him an opportunity to preside over the state senate as well as the Southern States Convention in Columbia in 1871. Ransier’s tenure in South Carolina’s executive government was remarkable for his honesty in a notoriously corrupt administration.

In August 1872, Representative Robert De Large declined the renomination for his coastal South Carolina seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, citing poor health. Local Republicans selected Ransier to represent the district, whose population was 70 percent black.8 Ransier defeated Independent Republican candidate General William Gurney with 20,061 votes (75 percent) in the general election.

When he was sworn in to the 43rd Congress Ransier received De Large’s assignment to the Committee on Manufactures.10 His earnest but conventional attempts to look after the interests of his coastal Carolina constituents in the House were typically ignored. He introduced measures to erect a public building in Beaufort, South Carolina, and to rebuild the war–damaged west wing of the Citadel Academy in Charleston. Ransier also requested $100,000 to improve Charleston Harbor. However, none of these bills passed.”

Jean-Pierre (Democratic Party, Independence Party) ran for re-election to the New York State Assembly to represent District 11. She won in the general election on November 3, 2020.

On March 19, 2020, Kimberly Jean-Pierre announced that she tested positive for coronavirus.”

Source: Kimberly Jean-Pierre – Ballotpedia

  • Ludmya Bourdeau (Mia) Love: As the first African-American Republican woman in Congress, Mia Love brought a unique personal history and diverse résumé to the House. Love, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, was born in New York, studied theater in Connecticut, converted to the Church of Latter-day Saints, moved to Utah, and was a staunch proponent of small government. But Love’s career in politics, long before she served in the House, revolved around policy more than her individual story. “I wasn’t elected in Saratoga Springs because of my race or my gender or my heels,” she said in 2013 about her time as mayor. “I was elected by the people there because I had a plan and a vision to get us financially stable.”

Mia Love was born Ludmya Bourdeau on December 6, 1975, in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents, Jean Maxime and Marie Bourdeau, had fled the hostile regime of Haitian dictator François (Papa Doc) Duvalier in late 1974. They did not bring their older children to America, but after Mia was born, the family applied for citizenship and brought her two siblngs over from Haiti. The Bourdeaus moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, in 1981, where her mother worked as a nurse and her father took on several jobs to make ends meet. Later on during her political career Love recounted her father’s words, “Mia, your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society. You will give back.”

During her two terms in the House, Love was assigned a seat on the exclusive House Financial Services Committee, which meant that party rules prevented her from serving on any other standing committees simultaneously.11 In the 114th Congress (2015–2017), she sat on the Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee, and in the 115th Congress (2017–2019) she moved to the Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee and the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee. From her position on Financial Services, she pushed a bill which raised the lending limit for small banks; the proposal passed as part of a broader Senate bill which removed certain financial regulations. Love also served on the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives under the auspices of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Source: LOVE, Ludmya Bourdeau (Mia) | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

  • Kwame Raoul: “ was born in Chicago to Haitian immigrants. A lifelong resident of the Hyde Park/Kenwood area, he completed his undergraduate education at DePaul University and went on to earn his Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law. Kwame started his legal career nearly 25 years ago as a prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, handling child welfare cases, prosecuting violent criminals and helping crime victims access resources and exercise their rights. He continued to practice as a labor and employment attorney for the City Colleges of Chicago. Kwame currently serves as a partner in the health law group of Quarles & Brady.

In 2004, Kwame was appointed to fill the vacancy left in the legislature by former State Senator Barack Obama’s election to the U.S. Senate. Since then, he’s been a leading voice at the state Capitol for equal rights, criminal justice reform and a woman’s right to choose. Kwame quickly developed a reputation for leading difficult negotiations and sponsoring landmark legislation, including background checks on private transfers of guns, law enforcement and criminal justice reform and the strongest voting rights protections in the country.”

Source: About Kwame – Kwame Raoul

  • Rudolph “Rudy” Moise: “Rudolph “Rudy” Moise (born September 22, 1954) is an American businessman, osteopathic physician, former colonel of the United States Air Force, politician, lawyer, actor, and producer. He serves as trustee and a member of the Board of Governors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and was a trustee of University of Miami, where he is currently serving as Secretary.

Moise served twenty-one years as a flight surgeon for the Homestead Air Reserve Station where he rose to the rank of colonel, the highest position awarded to an American of Haitian descent. He ran an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for Florida’s 17th congressional district in 2010 and its 24th district in 2012, losing in both primary elections to Frederica Wilson.

In April 2014, Moise was appointed Ambassador-at-Large by Haitian president Michel Martelly to promote investments in Haiti. Moise later unveiled alternatives to promote tourism, revitalize agricultural production, create jobs, inject foreign capital into the national economy, and rehabilitate the environment.”

Source: About Rudy Moise: United States colonel (1954-) | Biography, Filmography, Facts, Career, Wiki, Life (peoplepill.com)

  • Raymond Joseph Lohier Jr.: Judge Lohier is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was nominated by President Barack Obama in March 2010 and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in December 2010.

For the decade prior to his appointment, Judge Lohier was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he served as Senior Counsel to the United States Attorney, Deputy Chief and Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, and Deputy Chief and Chief of the Narcotics Unit. As the Deputy Chief and Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, Judge Lohier was responsible for overseeing the Bernard Madoff prosecutions, the investigation and prosecution of Marc Dreier, the Galleon and other hedge fund-related insider trading cases, as well as several other high-profile fraud cases. Prior to his service as an Assistant United States Attorney, from 1997 to 2000, Judge Lohier served as a Senior Trial Attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, where he spearheaded employment discrimination-related litigation and worked on other civil rights matters of importance to the federal government.

From 1991 to 1992 and from 1993 to 1997, Judge Lohier was associated with the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York. In 1992 and 1993 Judge Lohier served as a law clerk for the Honorable Robert P. Patterson, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Judge Lohier graduated from Harvard College in 1988. He then earned his J.D. in 1991 from New York University School of Law, where he received a Vanderbilt Medal.

Prior to his appointment, Judge Lohier was a member of the Board of Directors of the Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association and of the Board of Directors of the New York University School of Law Alumni Association. He also served as First Vice-Chairperson of Brooklyn Community Board 6. Judge Lohier is currently a member of the American Law Institute, the Federal Bar Council Inns of Court, and the New York University School of Law Board of Trustees, as well as an adjunct professor of law at New York University School of Law. He is a recipient of the New York University Alumni Association’s Eugene J. Keogh Award for Distinguished Public Service.”

Source: Hon. Raymond J. Lohier (uscourts.gov)

  • Lody Jean:  “is a judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court, Family Division, in Florida. She was appointed to the court on April 17, 2020, by Governor Ron DeSantis to replace John Schlesinger.Jean served on the Miami-Dade County Court, Civil Division, from April 2019 until her appointment to the circuit court. Prior to her judicial career, Jean worked as an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and a J.D. degree from St. Thomas University School of Law.[1] Born in Haiti, Jean is the first Haitian-American to serve on the Miami-Dade County Court and on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court. She has been a member of the Haitian American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, the Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center, and the Miami Children’s Corporation. Jean is also a former president of the Haitian Lawyers Association.”  Source: Lody Jean – Ballotpedia
  • Fabiana Pierre-Louis: “is a justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court. She was nominated to the court by Governor Phil Murphy (D) on June 5, 2020, to succeed Walter F. Timpone.[1] On August 27, 2020, the New Jersey State Senate confirmed Pierre-Louis’ nomination to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Pierre-Louis assumed office on September 1, 2020.The New Jersey Supreme Court is the court of last resort in New Jersey. Pierre-Louis was nominated to the New Jersey Supreme Court on June 5, 2020, by Governor Phil Murphy (D). She was appointed to fill the vacancy initially scheduled to occur when Walter F. Timpone reached the court’s mandatory retirement age of 70 in November 2020. Timpone retired early, on August 31, 2020, to ensure Pierre-Louis would be sworn in by the beginning of September’s court session.  The New Jersey State Senate confirmed Pierre-Louis’ nomination on August 27, 2020, and she assumed office on September 1, 2020, making her the first Black woman to sit on the New Jersey Supreme Court.

At the time of her nomination to the New Jersey Supreme Court, Pierre-Louis was a partner at the law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads. Before joining the firm in 2019 as a partner, Pierre-Louis worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. During that time, she was an assistant U.S. attorney, the attorney-in-charge of the Camden Office, and the attorney-in-charge of the Trenton Office. Pierre-Louis has also worked in the Newark Office in the General Crimes Unit and the Organized Crime and Gang Unit and as an associate in Montgomery McCracken’s White Collar and Government Investigations practice group. Following law school, Pierre-Louis served as a law clerk for the Honorable John E. Wallace, Jr. of the New Jersey Supreme Court.” 

Source: Fabiana Pierre-Louis – Ballotpedia

  • Fred Seraphin: “is a county judge of the Miami-Dade County Court of Florida. Seraphin won re-election in the primary election on August 30, 2016. County Judge Fred Seraphin graduated from the City College of New York with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He obtained a Juris Doctorate degree at Hofstra University. Thereafter, he joined the Office of the Public Defender in Miami Dade County, Florida. It is there that he honed his skills in trial advocacy and more specifically, criminal defense. He went into private practice for a few years, and ultimately returned to his passion: defending indigents as a Public Defender.

October 15, 2001, the then Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, appointed Fred Seraphin as a County Court Judge. He was elected to that position in 2004 and 2010 without opposition. He has served in both the Civil and Criminal divisions of the Court. He also serves as faculty member of Florida Judicial College.

Judge Seraphin has remained connected to his homeland by participating in community based projects in Haiti. He donates his time towards the construction of an Orphanage, and a Hospital in Haiti. He spent several months in Haiti working on the DOJ’s Administration of Justice Project. Working with the United States Department of State,

Judge Seraphin coordinated and hosted a group of Haitian Judges and Magistrates; exposing them to the American Legal System. In Haiti he participated in panel discussions on various topics such as Justice and Democracy, Independence of the Press and the Judiciary. Judge Seraphin assisted judges in Haiti to enact a code of Judicial Conduct. His ultimate dream is to one day see an independent Judiciary in Haiti.

Source: Honorable Fred Seraphin | National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals (naahpusa.org)

  • Lionel Jean-Baptiste: “Judge Jean-Baptiste is a son, a husband and a father.  He was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and immigrated to the United States at the age of 14.  After high school, he matriculated into Princeton University in 1970 and graduating with a BA in Political Science and certification in African-American History in 1974.  After college, he moved to Brooklyn, NY and worked as an elementary school teacher, an adjunct Professor and as the Director of Special Housing for NYC.

His activism in NY included the African Liberation Support Committee, the Committee against Dictatorship in Haiti, the Mobilization Committee Against Police Brutality and others. Lionel eventually returned to his adopted home town in Evanston/Chicago, IL and enrolled in Law School in 1986, twelve years after college.  With a full time job as the Executive Assistant to the President of Malcolm X College, a City Colleges of Chicago and an active family, he graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1990.  Lionel practiced law for 20 years in various areas of law such as Immigration, PI, Probate, and Transactional Law and worked on special cases such as the major African-American reparations case against 17 US corporations in federal court.

In 2001, he became the first Haitian-American elected in the State of Illinois as Alderman/City Councilman of the City of Evanston and for 3 consecutive terms serving 10 years on the City Council.  In March of 2011, he became the first Haitian-American and sworn in as Judge by the Illinois Supreme Court.  Subsequently, he waged a hard-fought campaign to hold on to his seat as Judge and was victorious in the primary and general election of 2012.  He is currently a family law Judge.

Lionel Jean-Baptiste has always maintained his activism.  He is currently a member of the NAACP.  He is a founding member and past President of the Haitian-American Lawyers Association, a founding member of the National Haitian-American Elected Officials Network, a founding member of the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, the organization that waged a 7-year international campaign to amend the Haitian Constitution to secure Dual Citizenship for all Haitians born, anywhere in the world, to a Haitian mother or a Haitian father.

He is a founding member of the United Front of the Haitian Diaspora which in essence continues the mission of the Haitian Congress to mobilize the Haitians living in the Diaspora to reintegrate into Haitian society to help develop Haiti.”

Source: Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste | NAAHP Annual Conference (naahpusa.org)

  • Dweynie Esther : “On November 3, 2015, Dweynie Esther Paul made history as the first American of Haitian descent to be elected a judge before a civil court of the State of New York, Kings County (Brooklyn).

Born in Queens to Haitian parents, Paul will represent the 2nd Municipal District which includes Bedford Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights and Ocean Hill in nearby Brooklyn. “To whom much is given, of him much will be required! ” said Paul to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) last Tuesday, on election night. “I’m so blessed and honored to be able to serve all of the Kings County community. Today we have made history together. I share this moment with the Haitian community and our biggest pan-African black community. This victory is the result of the meeting of our communities, our talents and resources.” “It also comes from a strong desire to see fair and equitable judicial system. I want to live according to the values and aspirations of this community, and I want to thank all those who supported me, my family, my parents and God,” she added. The Haitian-American Assemblywoman from New York, Rodneyse Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, was among the local legislators who supported Paul. “I know Dweynie Paul is intelligent, thoughtful and unselfish, and I know she will make decisions with compassion, but on the basis of the law,” said Bichotte, daughter of Haitian immigrants, who also made history last November when she became the first Haitian-American from New York City to be elected to the State Assembly in New York. “I am proud of my Haitian-American sister, whose historic victory shakes the spirit of our Haitian ancestors,” added Bichotte. Paul was Bichotte’s campaign manager in 2012, when she presented for a seat in the Assembly of the State of New York. Article by Patrick Saint-Pre Translated from Le Nouvelliste By Kristine Belizaire.”

Source:  Le Nouvelliste – Dweynie Esther Paul: First Haitian-American elected judge in New York

  • Pierre-Richard Prosper: “Ambassador-at-Large, Office of War Crimes Issues
    Term of Appointment: 07/13/2001 to 10/12/2005. Pierre-Richard Prosper was nominated by President Bush on May 16, 2001 to be the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. After being confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he was sworn in on July 13, 2001. In this position, he advises the Secretary of State directly and formulates U.S. policy responses to atrocities committed in areas of conflict and elsewhere throughout the world. As the President’s envoy, he travels worldwide engaging heads of state and international organizations to build bilateral and international support for U.S. policies. As part of this, Ambassador Prosper visits affected countries and uses a range of diplomatic, legal, economic, military, and intelligence tools to help secure peace and stability and build the rule of law. Since September 11, 2001, Ambassador Prosper has played a key role in the war on terror and has been the chief negotiator and lead diplomat for the United States in engaging nations regarding their nationals captured in combat. He also has primary responsibility for policy on Iraqi war crimes.

Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Prosper was a career prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice where he served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division in 1999. From 1999 to 2001, Ambassador Prosper was detailed to the State Department where he served as the Special Counsel and Policy Adviser to the previous Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues.

During 1996 to late 1998, Ambassador Prosper served as a war crimes prosecutor for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Appointed lead trial attorney, Ambassador Prosper successfully prosecuted the matter of the Prosecutor against Jean-Paul Akayesu, the first-ever case of genocide under the 1948 Genocide Convention. In this 14-month courtroom battle, he won additional life-sentence convictions for crimes against humanity and broke new ground in international law by convincing the Tribunal to recognize rape committed in time of conflict as an act of genocide and a crime against humanity.

Between 1994 and 1996, Ambassador Prosper was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. He was assigned to the Narcotics Section, Drug Enforcement Task Force, where he investigated and prosecuted major international drug cartels.

Prior to becoming an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Ambassador Prosper was a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, California between the years 1989 and 1994. His last two years were spent in the Hardcore Gang Division of the Bureau of Special Operations where he prosecuted gang-related murders.

Born in Denver, Colorado in 1963, the son of two physicians who emigrated from Haiti, Ambassador Prosper was raised in New York State. He graduated from Boston College, where he was a member of the Varsity Lacrosse team, and Pepperdine University School of Law. He has been recognized for his achievements by his alma maters, a variety of associations and cities. Ambassador Prosper is a member of the California Bar. He is fluent in French and has a working knowledge of Italian and Spanish.”

Source: Prosper, Pierre-Richard (state.gov)

  • Karl Anthony Racine: “was sworn in as the District of Columbia’s first elected Attorney General in 2015 and was reelected to a second term in 2018. Attorney General Racine is honored to serve again and will use the next four years to expand work on priorities, including preserving affordable housing, employing evidence-based juvenile justice reforms, cracking down on slumlords, holding unscrupulous employers accountable for wage theft, and protecting consumers from scams and abusive business practices. He is also committed to making investments in new efforts to protect seniors and other vulnerable residents, interrupt violence in the District, address childhood trauma, and more.

Attorney General Racine draws on over 25 years of legal and leadership experience in his work on behalf of District residents. Over the course of his career, he has worked at the D.C. Public Defender Service, where he represented District residents who could not afford a lawyer, served as Associate White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton, and worked on criminal cases and complex civil litigation at private firms. While in private practice, he was elected managing partner of his firm, Venable LLP, and became the first African-American managing partner of a top-100 American law firm.

Born in Haiti, Attorney General Racine came to the District at the age of three. He attended D.C. public schools, including Murch Elementary, Deal Junior High, and Wilson High, and graduated from St. John’s College High School. He earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was captain of the basketball team, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he volunteered in a legal clinic supporting the rights of migrant farm workers. His commitment to equal justice was inspired by his parents, who fled authoritarian rule in Haiti to start a better life in the United States, and by the lawyers of the Civil Rights Movement, who used the law to make positive social change.

Outside of his official role, Attorney General Racine remains involved with a variety of causes, including youth literacy and mentoring. He lives in Ward 3.”

Source: About the Attorney General | Attorney General Karl A. Racine (dc.gov)

  • Mackenson “Mack” Bernard: “was elected in November 2016 to the Palm Beach County Commission, District 7. Mack ran for County Commission in order to put his experience to work for our community. He ran on a platform of creating more good paying jobs and job training opportunities; improving public safety and law enforcement relations; increasing small business, women and minority participation in county contracts; keeping taxes low; and advocating for more affordable and sustainable housing.

n 2008 Mack served as a Delray Beach City Commissioner and Deputy Vice-Mayor. In this role Mack worked hard with the community to increase affordable housing options, improve public safety, and create jobs.

In 2009 Mack Bernard was elected to the Florida House of Representatives where he served on numerous committees and passed bills that created jobs, protected women and children, and supported public education.  In the Legislature, Mack served as the President of the Palm Beach County Caucus of Black Elected Officials and was recognized for his work advocating for Florida’s small businesses.  

Currently, Mack Bernard is the Chairman for the Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts & Social Justice and Board Member for the Color of Hope Foundation. Mack Bernard is a former member of the Florida Elections Commission, Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce and the CJ Foundation, a non-profit organization helping children in need. 

Mack has lived in Palm Beach County for 30 years. He is a product of Palm Beach County’s public school system, where he was a member of the JROTC and a high-school championship wrestler.  He worked hard while attending college, graduating with honors from Florida State University; earning a Bachelors in Political Science and Criminal Justice, and also graduating with honors from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.”

Source: District 7 Biography (pbcgov.org)

Source: Yolly Roberson – Ballotpedia

  • Harry LaRosiliere (born May 6, 1962) “is the 39th and current mayor of Plano, Texas. He was elected in 2013. He has had a long history of leadership in Plano. Not only has he served six years as a popular member of the Plano City Council, Harry has chaired numerous nonprofit boards and commissions. His steadily growing list of community service speaks for itself.

During his service on city council, Harry is very proud of his efforts to promote economic development. He was instrumental in the decision by city council in 2005 to establish a fund to be used to attract and retain businesses in Plano. Since that time, the Economic Development Fund has helped bring almost 17,000 jobs to Plano and landed corporate citizens such as Capital One, Pizza Hut, and Encana Oil and Gas.

Born in Haiti, Harry’s family moved to New York when he was three years old. He and his sister were first generation graduates of their family.

After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from City College of New York, Harry followed his entrepreneurial spirit and successfully ran a photography studio for eight years. After moving to Plano in 1994, the boy who was good with numbers finally found his calling when he began his career as a financial advisor, a profession he has maintained to this day.

The LaRosiliere family resides in Plano. Harry followed Tracy to Dallas from New York driving the last 18 hours straight with the idea of returning to New York in 3 to 5 years. Now with his wife Tracy and their two daughters, ages 15 and 13 they know that Plano is their family home.

Within months of his arrival in Plano, Harry and Tracy began to get involved in their new community. Over the past 18 years, his commitment to servant leadership has remained strong. He currently serves as an advisory board member of CASA of Collin County and on the President’s Council at Texas Health Resources. Harry is also a member of the Plano Metro Rotary Club and the Plano Chamber of Commerce. He and his family worship at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.”

Source: Our Campaigns – Candidate – Harry LaRosiliere

  • Raymond Joseph Lohier Jr.: “is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was nominated by President Barack Obama in March 2010 and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in December 2010.

For the decade prior to his appointment, Judge Lohier was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he served as Senior Counsel to the United States Attorney, Deputy Chief and Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, and Deputy Chief and Chief of the Narcotics Unit. As the Deputy Chief and Chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, Judge Lohier was responsible for overseeing the Bernard Madoff prosecutions, the investigation and prosecution of Marc Dreier, the Galleon and other hedge fund-related insider trading cases, as well as several other high-profile fraud cases. Prior to his service as an Assistant United States Attorney, from 1997 to 2000, Judge Lohier served as a Senior Trial Attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, where he spearheaded employment discrimination-related litigation and worked on other civil rights matters of importance to the federal government.

From 1991 to 1992 and from 1993 to 1997, Judge Lohier was associated with the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York. In 1992 and 1993 Judge Lohier served as a law clerk for the Honorable Robert P. Patterson, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Judge Lohier graduated from Harvard College in 1988. He then earned his J.D. in 1991 from New York University School of Law, where he received a Vanderbilt Medal.

Prior to his appointment, Judge Lohier was a member of the Board of Directors of the Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association and of the Board of Directors of the New York University School of Law Alumni Association. He also served as First Vice-Chairperson of Brooklyn Community Board 6. Judge Lohier is currently a member of the American Law Institute, the Federal Bar Council Inns of Court, and the New York University School of Law Board of Trustees, as well as an adjunct professor of law at New York University School of Law. He is a recipient of the New York University Alumni Association’s Eugene J. Keogh Award for Distinguished Public Service.”

Source: Hon. Raymond J. Lohier (uscourts.gov)

  • Michaelle C. Solages: “ a fifth-term legislator, is a lifelong resident of Elmont. Assemblywoman Solages represents the communities of Valley Stream, North Valley Stream, Elmont, South Valley Stream, South Floral Park, Floral Park, the Village of Bellerose, Bellerose Terrace, North Woodmere, Stewart Manor, and sections of Franklin Square.

Michaelle was elected to represent the Twenty-second Assembly District in 2012 and is the first person of Haitian descent to be elected into the New York State Legislature. She currently serves as the Assembly Deputy Majority Leader as well as Chair of The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. Through her work, she strives to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and protected equally under the law throughout New York State.

Michaelle has continued to advocate for Nassau County’s middle class and small businesses by fighting for property tax relief, equitable state funding of schools, and increased public transportation services on Long Island. Michaelle is also nationally recognized as a leading advocate in improving access to quality childcare, implementing a universal pre-k framework in Long Island, and establishing innovative ways to invest in families with young children across the age spectrum from birth to kindergarten. Michaelle resides in Elmont with her family and her dog.”

Source: Michaelle C. Solages – Assembly District 22 |Assembly Member Directory | New York State Assembly (nyassembly.gov)

  • Josaphat J. Celestin: “also known as Joe Celestin, is an American politician who served as the mayor of North Miami, Florida from 2001 to 2005. A Republican, he was elected the first Haitian-American mayor of a sizable city in the United States.

Celestin was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to a physician and emigrated to the United States in 1979. In 1996, Celestin ran for the Florida Legislature, but did not succeed. In 1997, he formed the Haitian-American Political Action Committee (HAPAC). In 1998, he ran for the Florida Senate, but was not successful. He sued to overturn the election, claiming that the results were tainted by illegally registered voters.

Prior to his 2001 election as mayor, Celestin had also run for mayor in 1999. In 2001, Celestin was elected as Mayor of North Miami, becoming the first Haitian-American mayor of a sizeable US city. He was re-elected in 2003 when the deadline for opponents passed with no challengers. He left office in 2005 due to term limits.”

Source; About Josaphat Celestin: American politician (1956-) | Biography, Facts, Career, Wiki, Life (peoplepill.com)

  • Philippe Derose: “Philippe Derose (born November 22, 1952) is the first Haitian-American elected into public office in the United States of America. In 1993, he was elected as a Councilman of the Village of El Portal, in Miami-Dade County, Florida. In 2000, Derose became the first Haitian-American to be elected mayor in the United States when he was elected Mayor of the Village of El Portal.

He has been serving as a Councilman for the City of North Miami Beach since 2003 and serves as the President of his own non-profit organization, the Haitian-American Alliance Youth Foundation.”

  • Mathieu Eugene: “District 40 – Council Member – Democrat – Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Park, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens – Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene made history by becoming the first Haitian-born official elected to the New York City Council. He was also the first to win his seat overwhelmingly in two special elections just a few months apart, causing some to dub him “The Haitian Sensation.” The reason for Dr. Eugene’s success is that he has dedicated his life to community service. In Brooklyn, he has been well known and respected for more than a decade as a community leader, educator, health professional, local media personality and founder of the non-profit organization, YES (Youth Education and Sports). This organization, which served thousands of Brooklyn youth and their families from diverse backgrounds, promoted self-esteem, discipline, respect, and skill development in preparation for success in school and life. His priorities are to ensure quality education with smaller class size, improve access to healthcare for all people, expand employment opportunities in his district, improve public safety services and police/community relations, improve affordable housing opportunities, and support immigrant rights as well as provide strong advocacy for neighborhood preservation and homeowners.”

Source: The New York City Council – Mathieu Eugene (legistar.com)

  • Patrick Gaspard: “is the Vice President of the Open Society Foundations. Prior to this role, he was a key figure in U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration and held a number of prominent roles during the president’s two terms in office.

Gaspard was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo in 1967 to Haitian parents who had heeded the call of Patrice Lumumba for francophone academics of African descent to settle in newly independent African states. Gaspard grew up in New York City and had a long career in electoral and campaign politics in the city.

After leaving Columbia University to join Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign, Gaspard worked on David Dinkins’ successful bid to become the first African American mayor of New York City. A constant in New York political organizing thereafter, Gaspard also served as Deputy Political Director for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2003, before returning to labor organizing where he eventually rose to Vice President and Political Director of Service Employees International Union. In 2008, Gaspard joined Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, serving as National Political Director. Following the inauguration of President Obama, Gaspard transitioned to direct the White House Office of Political Affairs from 2009 to 2011. Thereafter, he served as Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee from 2011 to 2013, overseeing the party committee’s efforts to re-elect President Obama. Gaspard was subsequently appointed U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, and served in this capacity from 2013 to 2016.”

Source: PATRICK GASPARD – Embassy of Haiti

Jacques Jiha: “Jacques Jiha serves as Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget. In this role, he oversees New York City’s fiscal policy, including the development of the Expense and Capital Budgets, the City’s bond and borrowing program, and the budgets of more than 80 City agencies and covered organizations. As Budget Director, he will help lead New York City out of the financial crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic through strong fiscal management.

Previously he served as Commissioner of the Department of Finance, responsible for leading an agency that collects more than $40 billion annually in revenue for the city and assesses over 1.1 million properties with a total combined value of $1.3 trillion. He led the transformation of the Department of Finance into a dynamic, forward-looking, and customer-centric agency, and under his leadership the City reformed and modernized its corporate tax laws, reducing taxes for many small businesses, and introduced many new services for its customers.

Prior to becoming Commissioner of the Department of Finance, Director Jiha was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Earl G. Graves, Ltd., a multi-media company with properties in print and digital media. Previously, he served as Deputy Comptroller for Pension Investment and Public Finance. As the state’s chief investment officer, he oversaw the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the New York’s College Savings Program and the state’s short-term investment pool. Prior to this, he served as Deputy Comptroller for Nassau County, Deputy Comptroller for Budget and Chief Economist for the New York City Office of the Comptroller, Executive Director of the New York State Legislative Tax Study Commission, and Principal Economist for the New York State Assembly Committee on Ways and Means.

A staunch advocate of public service, Jiha served on a number of government and not-for-profit boards, including the Ronald McDonald House of New York, the Public Health Solutions and the Dormitory Authority of New York State.

Budget Director Jiha holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the New School for Social Research and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fordham University.”

Source: Director – OMB (nyc.gov)

  • Marie St. Fleur: “Ms. St. Fleur was appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino on June 13, 2010 as the Chief of Advocacy and Strategic Investment for the City of Boston. In that capacity Ms. St. Fleur led the Mayor Menino Circle of Promise Initiative and oversaw the Department of Intergovernmental Relations, The Office of New Bostonians, The Small and Local Business/Boston Jobs for Boston Residents Policy and his Diversity and Reentry Initiatives.

Former State Representative Marie St. Fleur was first elected to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1999, and is the first Haitian-American elected to state office in the United States. As the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, Arts and Humanities, Representative St. Fleur championed two-way bilingual education, alternative education and led the establishment of the new Massachusetts Board and Department of Early Education and Care.

A former Assistant State Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney Ms. St. Fleur has significant experience protecting underserved communities in the areas of criminal justice, human services and civil rights.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Representative St. Fleur earned a Law Degree from Boston College Law School. Ms. St. Fleur served as Chair of The Advisory Council for the Haiti Fund at The Boston Foundation, is a former trustee of the Boston Bar Foundation and past President of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association. She has been featured on WCVB Television’s City Line and Chronicle, WGBH Television’s Greater Boston, Boston Magazine and Commonwealth Magazine. Ms. St. Fleur is a recipient of Boston Business Journal’s 2014 Women Up award and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club, and Nativity Preparatory School.”

Source: Marie St. Fleur, J.D. – St. Fleur Communications

  • Lucie Tondreau: “Lucie Tondreau, who was elected Mayor of the City of North Miami in June 2013. Born in Haiti, Tondreau moved to Montreal, Canada, with her parents at the age of seven. She moved to New York City in 1981, and became active in the Haitian community there. In 1984, she moved to Miami, where she continued her social activism, joining the Haitian Refugee Center and the Haitian American Community of Dade County (HACAD) as a board member and social service specialist. Tondreau has also served on the boards of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition, Miami Art in Public Places, and the Haitian Political Action Committee. She has worked as a social service specialist, counselor, language instructor and radio personality, and is the CEO of Tondreau & Associates, a public relations firm established in 1999.”
  • Source:
  • Marleine Bastien (1959-): “a social worker and founder and executive director of Fanm Ayisyen nan Miami, Inc. (Haitian Women of Miami, also known as FANM), was born in Haiti. She first attended Miami-Dade County Community College, and subsequently, Florida International University, where she earned a bachelor and master of science degree in social work in 1986 and 1987, respectively… Bastien is considered by many the most vocal Haitian woman in the Miami area. She is, indeed, the spokesperson of the Haitian community and is always seen at the forefront of demonstrations for the rights of Haitian refugees.”
  • Philip Brutus (1957-): “a Florida state house representative, was born in Haiti. He came to the United States in 1972 and attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York, where he graduated in 1976, Subsequently, he moved to Boston and enrolled at the University of Massachusetts where he obtained a bachelor of science in criminal justice forensics and political science in 1982. He then went to Suffolk University Law School and earned his law degree in 1985. Brutus moved to Florida and began his law career as the first Haitian American attorney appointed assistant federal public defender in Miami…Brutus is well-known in the Haitian community for his advocacy efforts on behalf of the Haitian refugees. His 21-day hunger strike in protest of the U.S. decision to allow Cuban refugees into this country while Haitians were sent back home earned him the visibility and respect of the community.”
  • Josaphat (Joe) Celestin (1956-): a former mayor of the city of North Miami, was born in Haiti. “He received his early training in civil engineering from the State University of Haiti before immigrating to the United States in 1978. In Florida, Celestin pursued a career in land engineering and construction management and earned several state certifications in business, finance, project management, general construction, and commercial and residential estate development. In 1998, he received a master of science degree in architecture from the Florida University System.

Prior to becoming in 2001 the first Haitian American to every become mayor of a U.S. city and the first Black to be elected mayor of the City of North Miami, Celestin was known throughout the South Florida community for his entrepreneurship. He is the chairman of Jose Celestin Civil Engineering and General Builder Company, which is involved in a variety of redevelopment projects sponsored by the government office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)…At mayor, Celestin was the forefront of equality and fair housing for all. He played a prominent role in the Biscayne Landing Redevelopment Project, which is a public and private venture in cooperation with the City of North Miami to develop approximately 190 acres of land in the heart of North Miami.”

  • Sybil Elias: “a municipal court judge in East Orange, New Jersey, was born and raised in New Jersey. After obtaining her high school diploma from Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, she went to Rutgers University where she obtained a bachelor of arts degree in political science in 1994 and earned a certification in American politics from the Eagleton Institute of Politics in New Brunswick. She subsequently went to George Washington University Law School and earned her law degree in 1997. That same year, she was admitted to the New Jersey Bar. While in law school, she attended Oxford University in England where she received a certificate in International Human Rights Law and Refugee/Immigration Law in 1996. She also attended the National College the National College of District Attorneys in Columbia, South Carolina, and received certifications in Juvenile Justice and Trial Advocacy.

Immediately after receiving her law degree, Elias began her legal career as a law clerk, first for the Honorable Irvin B. Booker and subsequently for the Honorable Harold Fullilove and the Honorable Donald Goldman. In that capacity, she worked on a number of cases regarding child custody, parental rights, alimony, and domestic violence. Upon Judge Booker’s retirement, Elias cofounded the Irvin B. Booker Scholarship Fund benefiting college-bound high school seniors from the greater-Newark area. From September 1998 to January 2002, Elias served as assistant prosecutor for Essex County, New Jersey, where she litigated criminal cases, supervised legal investigations, and negotiated plea bargains.”

  • Margaret Jourdan (1961-) “a village judge in Spring Valley in Rockland County, New York, was born in Haiti. She came to the United States in 1972 and settled in New York. She graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York, in 1979. She went to Hunter College of the City University of New York, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1985. She subsequently went to the City University School of Law at Queens College and received her law degree in 1989.

From December 1997 to June 2001, Jourdan served as trustee, a legislative position, for the Village of Spring Valley. She was the first Haitian American elected to that position.”

  • Jocelyn  (Johnny) McCalla (1955-): “the executive director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR), was born in Haiti, he immigrated to the United states in 1968 and attended Jamaica High School in Queens, New York, where he graduated in 1972. Subsequently, he enrolled in an engineering program at City College of the City University of New York, but eventually abandoned the program after three years to ‘join the revolution,’ as he jokingly says. The ‘revolution’ in question is the advancement of international human rights in general, and Haitian rights in particular.

McCalla is well-known throughout the Haitian diasporic community of the United States for his relentless fight for social justice. His name is synonymous with Haitian rights… The major part of his public life has been devoted to the plight of Haitian refugees and asylum-seekers.”

  • Karine Jean Pierre: “is a senior advisor and national spokesperson for MoveOn.org. She was the deputy campaign manager for Martin O’Malley’s 2016 presidential campaign. Jean-Pierre previously worked on national campaigns for former U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and President Barack Obama (D). She also directed New York City campaigns for Bill Thompson (D) and Letitia James (D).

Karine Jean-Pierre’s parents were Haitian immigrants to the United States, and she credits their decisions for her own success in politics:

“I give credit to my parents. They are Haitian and immigrated to America. My dad is 70 but still drives a cab, my mom is home health care worker. They came from a country that is impoverished but left to get a better life for their kids. For them, they are so proud of me, and they feel they have reached their dream because of my successes, but without them I wouldn’t be where I am. They told me I could be whatever I wanted to be, do whatever I wanted to do.”

Jean-Pierre began her political work in New York City working for city council members James Sanders and James F. Gennano.[3] She then became the Southeast regional political director for John Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign.

In 2008, Jean-Pierre had a similar role in Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign, working as the Southern political director. In Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, Jean-Pierre was director of political strategy for battleground states. She provided resources to help states figure out “the best way for them to get the word out for the campaign.” In between campaigns for Obama, Jean-Pierre worked in the White House, first as a liaison to the Labor Department. Jean-Pierre then moved to the role of regional political director in the White House Office of Political Affairs. The Advocate Magazine, which features LGBT issues, named Jean-Pierre one of its “Forty under 40” in 2011, saying, “Jean-Pierre’s imprint as a Haitian-American and openly gay woman is a sign of broad diversity in the West Wing.”

After Obama’s re-election campaign, Jean-Pierre started K Plus K Enterprises with Katie Ingebretson, another former Obama staffer. The consulting firm focuses on “clients and projects that have an eye and vision towards social and cultural change.” In 2013, Jean-Pierre directed two major campaigns in New York City: Bill Thompson’s primary campaign for mayor and Letitia James’ run-off campaign for public advocate. Thompson, a former New York City controller, conceded the primary election to Bill de Blasio (D) on September 16, 2013. In October 2013, James won the run-off primary election with 60 percent of the vote. James went on to win the general election with 83 percent of the vote, making her “the first African-American woman to hold citywide office.”

In April 2016, MoveOn.org named Jean-Pierre a senior advisor and national spokesperson for the 2016 presidential election. In a press release announcing the hire, MoveOn said Jean-Pierre would “advise on and serve as a spokesperson around MoveOn’s electoral work, including a major effort to stand up to Donald Trump.”

Source: Karine Jean-Pierre – Ballotpedia

***The source for information about Marleine Bastien, Philip Brutus, Josaphat (Joe) Celestin, Sybil Elias, Margaret Jourdan, and Jocelyn McCalla is from Flore Zephir’s excellent book, The Haitian Americans (2004).

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