UNION, NJ – Over 50 people attended the Third Annual Township of Union Haitian Flag Day ceremony on Friday afternoon in front of Town Hall.

“I am honored to be here to celebrate a people who have been active in our community,” said Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas, “and a segment of our population that continues to grow.  Events like these highlight the diversity all around us in Union.”

Township Committeewoman Michele Delisfort, a first generation Haitian American, said, “in thinking about what I was going to say today I thought about the origins of Haiti.  It's people, the migration to the United States, first generation Haitian Americans, and the Haitian community.  We are the first descendants of the people that made Haiti the first black independent state and I'm proud of that.“

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The flag raising ceremony was sponsored by the Union Haitian American Civic Association, led by Maconel Saint Vil, and the Township of Union.

The Haitian flag as it’s known today first came into use in 1806.  The story behind the flag’s red-and-blue backdrop is that Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a leader in the Haitian Revolution against France, removed the white in the French flag to symbolize an end to European influence. The blue is said to represent the former African slaves who were brought to Haiti by the country’s colonial rulers.  The red stands for people of mixed ancestry.