Pou peyi a, pou Ansyen yo, annou mache, mache ansanm
Dessalines Declares Independence
Independence Day Greetings to everyone. Today is the 214th anniversary of Haiti’s Independence. It is also the first day of the New Year, and the last day of Kwanzaa: Imani/ Faith. For many, it is a joyous day, spent visiting with friends and family, and gathering to share “soup joumou” (pumpkin soup) and “zetrenn” –the first gifts of the New Year.
214 years ago, Haiti brought wondrous gifts to the world. Today, many people take these gifts for granted, expecting our human rights to be respected, our African heritage to be celebrated, and our productive labor to be compensated. In much of the world, these were not givens before 1804.
As you gather with loved ones today to share the first fruits and the first gifts of the New Year, we hope you will remember the sacrifice from a nation which 214 years ago began to shatter the yoke of slavery to bring us the gifts of liberty.
Today, January 1, 2018, Haitian people and their descendants are once again struggling to taste the fruits of their own victory. Let us hope that in the coming years, the gifts will be shared by all as we strive to build a more prosperous Haiti and a more prosperous world.