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7258: New Miami-Dade legislator a pioneer for Haitian-Americans (fwd)




To: Robert Corbett <corbetre@webster.edu>

 Monday March 05 07:11 AM EST

 New Miami-Dade legislator a pioneer for Haitian-Americans
 By DAVID C┴ZARES , South Florida Sun-Sentinel

 Three decades ago, when a young Philippe Brutus walked into a New York
high school and gave his name, officials decided to write it as Phillip.
Brutus, then 14, had just arrived from Haiti and did not speak English
well enough to explain how his name should be
 spelled. His "new" first name stuck. That was the last time Brutus let
anyone else define him. Intent on determining his own destiny, he went
to college and to law school in Boston. While there, he saw a television
report on desperate Haitians fleeing to South Florida that told him
where he wanted to be. "It really startled me," said Brutus, now an
immigration, criminal defense and personal-injury attorney in North
Miami. "I
 said, 'These people are going to need somebody.'"
 In November, Brutus, 43, became the first Haitian-American to take a
seat in the Florida Legislature, which opens its 2001 session on
Tuesday.