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A Tribute to Haitian Soldiers for Heroism in the American Revolution

Posted by: Audiegrl

Dedicated to the people of Haiti both in the US and abroad, please except our profound thanks, and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you…

Haitian Monument Statue in Franklin Square, Savannah, GA

Haitian Monument Statue in Franklin Square, Savannah, GA

After 228 years as largely unsung contributors to American independence, Haitian soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War’s bloody siege of Savannah had a monument dedicated in their honor. On October 9, 1779, a force of more than 500 Haitian gens de couleur libre (free men of color) joined American colonists and French troops in an unsuccessful push to drive the British from Savannah in coastal Georgia.

Chairman Daniel Fils-Aime

“We were here in 1779 to help America win independence. “ said Daniel Fils-Aime, chairman of the Miami-based Haitian American Historical Society. “That recognition is overdue.” “To see a monument in downtown Savannah and the commemoration of the involvement of the Haitian Americans, it’s a dream come true.” said Savannah Mayor Floyd Adams Jr. “This will help educate Americans but also Haitian youth about the significant contribution their ancestors made.” “The role of Haitian soldiers in the battle had long been ignored“, said North Miami Mayor Josaphat Celestin. “It means recognition for our efforts, that we were here all along, that Haiti was a part of the effort to liberate America and that they came here as free men, not as slaves,” Celestin said. “We hope this country will recognize this.”

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“It’s a huge deal,” said Philippe Armand, vice president of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America, who flew to Savannah from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. “All the Haitians who have gone to school know about it from the history books.”

Though not well known in the U.S., Haiti’s role in the American Revolution is a point of national pride for Haitians.

After returning home from the war, Haitian veterans soon led their own rebellion that won Haiti’s independence from France in 1804.


The Siege of Savannah

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The Siege of Savannah on October 9th, 1779 presents the Revolutionary War as a world conflict more than does any other engagement of the Revolution. The memory of this battle also reminds us of the fact that significant foreign resources of men, money, and material contributed to the eventual success of the cause of American independence. French, Polish, Native Americans, African slaves, free men of African descent, Germans, Hessians, Austrians, Scots, Welsh, Irish, English, Swedish, and American and West Indian colonials also participated as individuals or whole units in this most culturally diverse battle of the war. For six weeks this diverse force was assembled in three armies to contend for the possession of Savannah. This battle resulted in the largest number of casualties the allies suffered in a single engagement.

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The presence of the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue as the largest unit of soldiers of African descent to fight in this war is worthy of commemoration. The fact that their number was made up of free men who volunteered for this expedition is startling to most people and surprising to many historians. Their presence reminds us that men of African heritage were to be found on most battlefields of the Revolution in large numbers. As a new and relatively inexperienced unit, the Chasseurs participated in the siege warfare including the battle of September 24th and the siege of October 9th.

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The Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint-Domingue served as a reserve unit to American and French forces fighting a British contingent. As battered American and French soldiers fell back, the Haitian troops moved in to provide a retreat.

Twenty-five of their number has their names recorded as wounded or killed during the campaign. Over 60 were captured in the fall of Charleston eight months later. The British Navy captured three transports carrying Chasseurs; these soldiers were made prizes of war and sold into slavery. Other members of this unit were kept on duty away from their homes for many months as part of French garrison forces. A subsequent unit of Haitians was a part of the French and Spanish campaign against Pensacola where they faced some of the same regiments of British troops that their comrades faced in Savannah.

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The efforts of Haiti to secure its independence from colonial rule beginning in 1791 are remarkable for the fact that what began as a slave revolt was to ultimately succeed in prevailing over the resources of the French Empire and to form a government of Western Hemisphere Africans. Haiti, much smaller in population than the United States, was attacked by armies as large as those sent against America by Britain. The Haitian victory over the legions of Napoleon was achieved with much less foreign assistance than the United States enjoyed.

Henri Christophe

Henri Christophe, Click to enlarge

Many key figures in the Haitian War of Independence gained military experience and political insights through their participation in Savannah — most notably Henri Christophe, a youth at the time but in his adult years a general of Haitian armies and king of his nation for fourteen years. Many of the Haitian soldiers later fought to win their country’s own war of independence, crediting their military experience in Savannah. Influenced by both the events of the American Revolution and the rhetoric of the French Revolution, the people of Haiti began a struggle for self-government and liberty. The first nation in the Western Hemisphere to form a government led by people of African descent, it was also the first nation to renounce slavery.

Sources: Haitian American Historical Society, We Haitians United We Stand For Democracy, Wikipedia, and the Associated Press.


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Houston Swears In First Openly Gay Mayor Annise Parker

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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Houston Is Largest City to Elect Openly Gay Mayor

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


New York Times/James C. McKinley Jr.—Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor on December 13, 2009, as voters gave a solid victory to the city controller, Annise Parker.

Cheers and dancing erupted at Ms. Parker’s campaign party as her opponent, Gene Locke, a former city attorney, conceded defeat just after 10 p.m. when it became clear he could not overcome her lead.

Twenty minutes later, Ms. Parker appeared before ecstatic supporters at the city’s convention center and then joked that she was the first graduate of Rice University to be elected mayor. (She is, by the way.) Then she grew serious.

Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the door to history,” she said, standing by her partner of 19 years, Kathy Hubbard, and their three adopted children. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office.”

With all precincts reporting, Ms. Parker, the city controller, had defeated Mr. Locke 53 percent to 47 percent.

Annise Parker, the city controller, arriving at her election night party.

Throughout the campaign, Ms. Parker tried to avoid making an issue of her sexual orientation and emphasized her experience in overseeing the city’s finances. But she began her career as an advocate for gay rights in the 1980s, and it was lost on no one in Houston, a city of 2.2 million people, that her election marked a milestone for gay men and lesbians around the country.

Several smaller cities in other regions have chosen openly gay mayors, among them Providence, R.I., Portland, Ore., and Cambridge, Mass. But Ms. Parker’s success came in a conservative state where voters have outlawed gay marriage and a city where a referendum on granting benefits to same-sex partners of city employees was soundly defeated.

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Statement by Mayor-Elect Parker:

To my Friends, Supporters and all Houstonians,

In this campaign, I met many Houstonians.

I met fathers worried about finding a good job. I met mothers worried about crime. I met young men and women who only want a chance for a good education. Families worried about taxes. Homeowners who just want to protect the neighborhood they love. Hear me: the city is on your side.

I learned about the problems and the needs and the hopes of our city at the neighborhood level, where families work and live. This election has changed the world for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, just as this election is about transforming Houstonians’ lives for the better.

Let us begin from this moment to join as one community, united in the goal of making Houston the city it could be, should be, can be and will be. That’s what this city will be about under my administration.

Houston is a city that invites entrepreneurs – and shelters evacuees. A diverse city. A city built on dreams powered by hard work, creativity, common sense and cooperation.

Public service is a noble calling, and I appreciate that Gene Locke was willing to answer this call. He is a man who has been deeply involved in our community for many years and I hope he will continue to serve Houston. I wish for him and his family the very best.

Let me close by saying that while this is an exciting night, it is also a humbling experience. Our citizens deserve our best effort and I pledge to give them an administration that values honesty, integrity and transparency above all else. My administration will be concerned with only one interest: the public good.

Thank you so much. Together, we will make a difference.

Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Note: Though the race for Houston mayor is strictly non-partisan, she identifies as a Democrat, as did her opponent, Gene Locke.

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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President Obama’s Saturday Youtube Address 10/10/09

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WhiteHouse.gov—In his weekly address, President Barack Obama praised past and current political leaders from across the spectrum who have come forward to support reform. Doctors, nurses, hospitals, and drug companies have already expressed their support. In the past several days Governor Schwarzenegger, Mayor Bloomberg, former Senate Major Leader Bob Dole, and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, among others, have all come forward to say that the status quo is unsustainable and that now is the time to reform the system. They see that this is a not a Democratic or a Republican problem, but an American one in need of a solution.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 10, 2009

The historic movement to bring real, meaningful health insurance reform to the American people gathered momentum this week as we approach the final days of this debate. Having worked on this issue for the better part of a year, the Senate Finance Committee is finishing deliberations on their version of a health insurance reform bill that will soon be merged with other reform bills produced by other Congressional committees.

After evaluating the Finance Committee’s bill, the Congressional Budget Office – an office that provides independent, nonpartisan analysis – concluded that the legislation would make coverage affordable for millions of Americans who don’t have it today. It will bring greater security to Americans who have coverage, with new insurance protections. And, by attacking waste and fraud within the system, it will slow the growth in health care costs, without adding a dime to our deficits.

This is another milestone on what has been a long, hard road toward health insurance reform. In recent months, we’ve heard every side of every argument from both sides of the aisle. And rightly so – health insurance reform is a complex and critical issue that deserves a vigorous national debate, and we’ve had one. The approach that is emerging includes the best ideas from Republicans and Democrats, and people across the political spectrum.

In fact, what’s remarkable is not that we’ve had a spirited debate about health insurance reform, but the unprecedented consensus that has come together behind it. This consensus encompasses everyone from doctors and nurses to hospitals and drug manufacturers.

And earlier this week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out in support of reform, joining two former Republican Senate Majority Leaders: Bob Dole and Dr. Bill Frist, himself a cardiac surgeon. Dr. Louis Sullivan, Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush, supports reform. As does Republican Tommy Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. These distinguished leaders understand that health insurance reform isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, but an American issue that demands a solution.

Still, there are some in Washington today who seem determined to play the same old partisan politics, working to score political points, even if it means burdening this country with an unsustainable status quo. A status quo of rising health care costs that are crushing our families, our businesses, and our government. A status quo of diminishing coverage that is denying millions of hardworking Americans the insurance they need. A status quo that gives big insurance companies the power to make arbitrary decisions about your health care. That is a status quo I reject. And that is a status quo the American people reject.

The distinguished former Congressional leaders who urged us to act on health insurance reform spoke of the historic moment at hand and reminded us that this moment will not soon come again. They called on members of both parties seize this opportunity to finally confront a problem that has plagued us for far too long.

That is what we are called to do at this moment. That is the spirit of national purpose that we must summon right now. Now is the time to rise above the politics of the moment. Now is the time to come together as Americans. Now is the time to meet our responsibilities to ourselves and to our children, and secure a better, healthier future for generations to come. That future is within our grasp. So, let’s go finish the job.

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Mayor Daley to Sign Abortion Protest Bubble Law

Posted by Audiegrl

ABORTIONprotestors-largeChicago-Sun Times/Fran Spielman—In a political about-face, Mayor Daley said Friday he would sign legislation creating a protective zone around Chicago hospitals and clinics to keep patients and employees from being hounded by “in-your-face” abortion protests.

In 1996, Daley ridiculed a proposal that would have given women entering Chicago abortion clinics an eight-foot buffer between themselves and the nearest protester during the Democratic National Convention here.

At the time, he denounced it as the equivalent of a “free trade zone” and said enforcing the buffer would require “measuring tapes…You’d get into arguments.”

What a difference thirteen years makes.

On Friday, the mayor said he would sign the permanent protective zone created by a divided City Council.

On Friday, the mayor said he would sign the permanent protective zone created by a divided City Council.

On Friday, the mayor said he would sign the permanent protective zone created by a divided City Council.

You’re just trying to make sure no one’s being harassed. …If someone is going into a medical complex and I disagree with them going there, I should not harass and scream and yell at them. It doesn’t matter whether it deals with the word abortion or anything else,” the mayor said.

There has to be some civility left in our society. Everybody has the right to demonstrate and picket. But, to use words and other things to frighten people going in to seek assistance — that is another question.

Daley said he anticipates a court challenge. But, he’s confident the ordinance drafted by his Law Department will stand up to legal scrutiny.

Many people are going into many of these medical complexes for other reasons as well—not just for that [abortion] reason,” he said.

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Gun Show Undercover: Illegal Sales At Gun Shows

Posted by Buellboy

October 7th Announcement of undercover investigation of illegal sales at gun shows

GunsGun Show Undercover—The City of New York launched an undercover investigation to expose how a dangerous loophole allows guns to get into the hands of criminals.

The vast majority of people who either visit or sell guns at gun shows are law-abiding citizens and dealers.

However, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms , and Explosives (ATF) reports that 30 percent of guns involved in federal illegal gun trafficking investigations are connected to gun shows.

This multi-state undercover investigation exposed how easy it is for criminals to buy guns at gun shows.

The City of New York investigated 7 gun shows in 3 states involving buys from 47 gun sellers using hidden cameras.

The investigation videos showed that 35 out of 47 sellers approached by undercover investigators at these gun shows sold guns illegally.

gunshowloopholeThe term “gun show loophole” is often used to describe the fact that federal law allows private sellers to sell firearms without background checks or record keeping.

While private sellers are exempted from running background checks no matter where they make the sale, this loophole is associated with gun shows because they are the largest and most central marketplace where these private sellers can easily connect with purchasers who wish to avoid detection.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Makes Chicago Olympic Bid in Copenhagen

Posted by: Audiegrl

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Prince Albert of Monaco at a reception following the opening Ceremony of the 121st IOC Session at the Copenhagen Opera House on October 1, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 121st session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will vote on October 2 on whether Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro or Madrid will host the 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo by Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images)

After arriving in Copenhagen, Denmark on Wednesday morning, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed a crowd at Chicago Mayor Daley’s welcome reception.

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY

AT MAYOR DALEY’S WELCOME RECEPTION

Admiral Hotel

Copenhagen, Denmark

8:03 P.M. CEST

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you, everybody. So, as my husband would say, we are fired up and ready to go in here. (Applause.) It’s a good thing. Well, first let me begin by thanking my dear friend, my chit-chat buddy, Oprah Winfrey. She talks about me coming here without hesitation. This is a woman who’s got a pretty busy schedule – taping shows, traveling across the globe, a woman with a full plate. I think that folks out there should understand how Chicagoans, even those who weren’t born and raised here, feel a passion about the city, so much so that we dropped everything – dropped everything – to be a part of this team. So I want to give Ms. Winfrey a round of applause as well. (Applause.)

One reporter asked me in a press briefing, “So, what do you think Oprah adds to the team?” I said, “Oprah is Oprah.” (Laughter.) What more do you have to say? I said every single city who’s bidding wishes they had Oprah on their team, and we have her, and we are grateful that she is a part of this endeavor. (Applause.)

It is so nice to see so many familiar faces. I mean, we really do miss Chicago. We’ve made a wonderful home in D.C. The girls are great; Grandma is good. Bo is no longer a puppy; he’s a big dog now. (Laughter.) But it’s wonderful to reconnect to my hometown.

When I looked at the bid initially, I was overwhelmed by what a beautiful concept was presented. You know, everything about this bid speaks to what the city has to offer. Having the Games right along that beautiful, glorious lakefront; using the existing park structure to ensure that we’re making the kinds of investments and we’ll have the kind of wonderful leave-behinds that will benefit the city over the long run; the notion that Olympic athletes who visit the city will live centrally, they’ll be 15 minutes from any competition site, that they’ll be able to walk, ride or bus to some of the greatest cultural offerings that this nation, that this world has to offer – it will be an athlete’s paradise in so many ways, and we will have it at a time in the city’s climate that will actually be nice. (Laughter.) The lake won’t be frozen over.

So I am thrilled. I am proud of our bid, and I am proud of this team. And I have to ask you, are we ready to go with this, right? You ready to go? (Applause.)

This bid also means a lot to me personally because, as First Lady, as many of you know, I’ve made it a priority to bridge the gap between the White House and communities across D.C. and across the country. I’ve spent much of my first nine months trying to open the doors to the White House to kids who might not otherwise see themselves having access to these institutions, because that’s where I came from – communities like that where kids never dreamed that they could set foot in the White House, let alone live there.

So I’ve wanted to open the doors of the White House and bring new opportunities to so many young kids – kids living in the midst of power and prestige, fortune and fame, but never really seeing their connections to those institutions.

And Barack and I made a point of doing the same thing when we lived in Chicago – making the concerns of kids in all sorts of communities our own, because we have been on both sides of that bridge. In so many ways, we have lived full lives on both sides of that bridge. And for me, this is one of the best reasons I can think of to bring the Olympics to our city.

We need all of our children to be exposed to the Olympic ideals that athletes from around the world represent, particularly this time in our nation’s history, where athletics is becoming more of a fleeting opportunity. Funds dry up so it becomes harder for kids to engage in sports, to learn how to swim, to even ride a bike. When we’re seeing rates of childhood obesity increase, it is so important for us to raise up the platform of fitness and competition and fair play; to teach kids to cheer on the victors and empathize with those in defeat, but most importantly, to recognize that all the hard work that is required to do something special.

I remember watching the Olympics when I was little. I remember it to the T, some of those memories. And Nadia Comaneci is here, who – (applause) – and so many incredible Olympic athletes. But I remember, I told this story, when you scored that perfect 10, you bounced off the balance beam, off the parallel bars. I thought I could do that. (Laughter.) I didn’t know then that I would be 5’11”. (Laughter.)

But it was – it was an activity in our household when it was time for the Olympic Games, all of us gathered around the TV cheering on and being inspired by people who were doing things that were beyond belief. And I just think, wouldn’t it be great if that kind of spirit was happening right down the street in our community? Just think of that. Kids and communities across the city, in Austin, kids who grew up in Cabrini, kids who live so far from the city. Now just imagine if all of that was happening right in their own backyard. That’s what I think about. (Applause.)

It does something to a kid when they can feel that energy and power up close and personal. And for some kids in our communities and our city, around the nation, around the world, they can never dream of being that close to such power and opportunity. So that’s what excites me most about bringing the Games to Chicago – the impact that it can have on the lives of our young people, and on our entire community.

And I know that’s what all of you have been working for for these past few months. As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the President to come for these few days, so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home, and you have put together a phenomenal set of ideas that, no matter what the outcome is, we should be proud of as a city. (Applause.)

So now is the time for us to pull it through, you know. As Barack and I have looked at this, this is like a campaign. (Laughter.) Just like Iowa. (Laughter.) You got to – and the international community may not understand that, but Iowa is like a caucus, and you can’t take any vote for granted. Nobody makes the decision until they’re sitting there.

So the next few days really provide us with a real opportunity to hold some hands, to have some conversations, to share our visions, to make the world understand that this is an opportunity for the United States to connect to the world in a really important way at a very critical time, and for each of us to show them our passion and sincerity to be part of the world in a very special way, and to let people know that we understand that sports saves lives, that it makes dreams come true, that it creates visions in kids’ heads to make them think they can be the next David Robinson, the next Barack Obama, the next Nadia Comaneci, the next Oprah Winfrey. Those dreams have to start somewhere, and for so many, they start when they watch the Olympics. And if we can show people that we understand that power and that possibility, then they will have the confidence that not only will we have the city – the Olympics in a city that works, but will execute this thing with the kind of passion and openness and sincerity that the world so greatly wants to see in us.

So let’s get it done. Thank you so much.

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