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Haitian pride beams as Haitian Flag Day approaches

Haitian pride beams in South Florida as Haitian Flag Day approaches
Haitian pride beams in South Florida as Haitian Flag Day approaches 03:15

MIAMI - Haiti's capital city remains under siege by gangs. The air and sea ports in Port-au-Prince are still closed, although a transitional government is in place.

A multi-nation security force is getting ready to hit the ground to help Haiti's national police restore law and order. Here in the United States, celebrating Haiti's resilience despite those odds has become even more important.

Emmelyne Vertus is the mother of a four-year-old little girl. She's on the hunt for the perfect dress to celebrate Haitian Flag Day.

"I just want her to learn about her heritage so she could be proud of being Haitian," Vertus said.

At a stand on the corner of 104th Street and 7th Avenue in northwest Miami-Dade, anything bearing the Haitian flag is heavily sought after.

May is Haitian Heritage Month and this Saturday (May 18th) is Haitian Flag Day.

With the ongoing turmoil and violence still happening in Haiti, Haitian Americans have an even deeper desire to wear their pride on their sleeves.

Vertus said she can't wait to go back home to the place where she was born. "

You know, right now things back home, we can't go. She (her daughter) hasn't been to Haiti yet to, to, you know, learn our country, our culture," she said.

Marcelin Fils-Aime is a Haitian American father.

"Being a first-generation born Haitian here in the United States, it's still important for us to represent the culture that we came from, that our parents came from in Haiti and we pass it on down to the kids," he said.

Fils-Aime was also shopping for his children while wearing a Miami shirt. He said it's important to him that his kids learn their roots.
"America is a melting pot of the world. We all came from somewhere. And even though we, we were born here as Americans we still like to hold up important Haitian culture," he said.

Nate Dee is a Haitian American artist. His work is on display at the Haitian Cultural Arts Center in Little Haiti.

"Haitian heritage to me, it means vibrant, varied, long history and old history that has impacted world events," he said.

At the Haitian Cultural Arts Center pride for Haiti is beaming from the walls. His piece with two working names, 'les enfants' or 'ti moun yo', both mean 'the children' is dedicated to Haiti's youngest.

"Growing up in a Haitian household I've always been exposed to it from a child. My parents have Haitian art, the colors the brightness, the culture, the stories related to the images I would see in the paintings," said Dee.

Feet away, Marie Louissaint with Art Beat Miami is encouraging people to stop by and pen a love message on a postcard.

"To me, it was very important, very nostalgic, it's basically to bring awareness and to advocate for Haiti and to remind people that Haiti is a beautiful country and this too shall pass," said Louissaint.

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