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8996: Response to Senou (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Dear Senou,

First let me thank you and all list members who have shared very kind words 
of sympathy and support. They were very appreciated.( Special thanks to Ms. 

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to some of your comments. 
While I will not discuss what legal recourse if any I will take,I will 
gladly talk about my community's response to this very public  firing.

Many people were ready to organize protests to demand my reinstatement. I 
had to make it clear to them that I had no desire to work for HAFI's current 
"Mr.Yes: board".

Many radio commentators have expressed their opinion both for and against my 
ouster ( I am considered an arrogant witch by some).

If you recall the Haitian Times wrote a particulary scathing editorial and I 
have included a letter to the Miami Herald written by Jean Robert Lafortune 
on behalf of the Haitian American Grassroots Coalition.  While I had 
initially decided not to send this letter to the list  I think that it is 
important that you read it to understand that my community has neither 
failed nor hesitated to express its opinion. I am very proud of the Haitian 
Times' editorial as well as Jean-Robert's letter because their message 
transcends the specificity of my case,it's about community building and 
self-respect. No, Mr.Senou,this is NOT the community of 12 years ago.


Miami Herald

Published Thursday, August 30, 2001

Abrupt dismissal discourages other leaders

On behalf of the 23 member-organizations of the Haitian-American Grassroots 
Coalition, I want to express my profound disappointment regarding Leonie 
Hermantin's recent dismissal from the Haitian-American Foundation.First, I 
recognize the right of any board of directors to make policy decisions that 
protect the interests of its organization. However, I lament the manner in 
which Hermantin was dismissed.

In light of her dedicated service to the foundation and the Haitian 
community, she should have had an opportunity to resign with dignity.
She joined the foundation at a critical time in its evolution and has 
greatly contributed to its growth and stability.

In particular, she has steadfastly mainstreamed the issues and concerns of 
the Haitian-American community and its social-service agencies. Through her 
work and vision, the foundation soon will house the first center for 
Haitian-American elderly.

Her dismissal in this manner was un-American. For in the balance is the 
ability of Haitian-American social-service agencies to attract and retain 
bright, energetic and committed Haitian professionals who will capably lead 
and make a significant difference in our community. We have no moral 
authority to ask others to treat us equitably if we treat each other 

In the end the Haitian community loses when our best and brightest hesitate 
to work for our social-service organizations considering that they, too, can 
be discarded and subjected to similar humiliation.

Grassroots Coalition


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