[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

8022: Celestin sworn in as mayor of North Miami (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Celestin sworn in as mayor of North Miami
Associated Press Writer

NORTH MIAMI -- (AP) -- A Haitian-American was sworn in as mayor of North 
Miami, underscoring a growing political activism by Haitian immigrants in 
South Florida.

Josaphat ``Joe'' Celestin, 44, gave remarks to an overflow crowd of 600 in 
English and Creoleon Tuesday, recounting his victory after narrowly losing a 
bid for mayor in 1999. North Miami, the fourth-largest city in Miami-Dade 
County, is now believed to be the nation's largest city with a 
Haitian-American as mayor.

``After today, our voices, votes, carry weight and are not a foregone 
conclusion,'' Celestin said.

Celestin, a builder who came to the United States in 1979, won 53 percent of 
the vote to defeat Democrat Arthur ``Duke'' Sorey, an African-American 
former council member.

While the election was nonpartisan, Celestin, a Republican, won despite 
heavy Democratic voter registration in the community.

Celestin's victory, coupled with the election of community activist Jacques 
Despinosse to the city council, made North Miami the largest city in South 
Florida with a Haitian-American mayor and Haitian-American city council 

The election brought some tension. Only hours after his election, Celestin 
told police he received more than 15 calls laced with racial slurs and foul 
language. A plain-clothed police officer was assigned to him as he made his 
post-election rounds.

Observers said Celestin's election was symbolic of advances in political 
activism by Haitians in this community of 60,000.

``This is, in a way, a beginning to an entrance to the American political 
scene,'' said Kim Ives, an editor with the Haiti-Progres, a 
30,000-circulation Haitian weekly newspaper distributed in Port-Au-Prince, 
Miami, New York, Paris and Montreal.

Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com