UNION, NJ – The second annual Haitian Flag Day Celebration was held in front of Town Hall Wednesday evening with a crowd of about 50 people.

“I’m honored to be here with all of you today to celebrate a people that have long been active in our community,” said Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas, “a segment of our population that continues to grow and one who has always been front and center, ready to help us as the Township continues to grow and prosper.”

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here today to celebrate a day that holds not only a personal and cultural significance to me, but to be here with my colleagues, friends, family and constituents makes it that much more memorable,” said first generation American Committeewoman Michele Delisfort.

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

“In my opinion one of the things that makes this country so beautiful is the fact that this is a place where one can simultaneously be “American” while still recognizing, celebrating and sharing your culture with others,” said Cavadas.

Cavadas said the event not only celebrates the Haitian Community but also the concepts of freedom from tyranny. 

“In thinking about what I was going to say today I got to thinking about our community, its contributions, its challenges, and why it’s so important for us to continue, even in a different country, to honor days of cultural significance like today,” said Delisfort.  “What unites us is much greater than what separates us.”

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.