News and Events

Massachusetts’ Haitian Community
Haitians first began arriving in the Bay State during the 1950’s and have continued to make Massachusetts a prime destination ever since. The area is favored due to its employment opportunities, quality education system, and safe environment. Strong Haitian communities can be found throughout Somerville and Cambridge, although the largest concentration of Haitians is found in the Boston neighborhoods of Mattapan, Dorchester, Hyde Park, and Roxbury.  As the Haitian community grows, members work together to help strengthen their community.

Did you know?

  • The Coalition is the largest Haitian organization north of the Charles River.
  • The Coalition is just one of many organizations in the Boston area established to better the lives of Haitian Americans.
  • Massachusetts has the third largest Haitian population in the United States and is home to an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 Haitians.
  • Many Haitians in the state work in the health care industry. Some estimate that up to 75% of all nursing home workers are Haitian. Other popular fields for Haitian immigrants are high-tech and teaching.
  • UMass Boston created a Haitian studies program and has a Haitian Studies Association:
  • Haitians in Massachusetts are becoming increasingly politically active. Important issues for the community include education, economic development, public health, and immigrants’ rights.
January 9th Gathering to Support the Calixte Family Over the Unexpected Loss of Kauffman “Tank” Calixte
January 2013 — On December 30, 2012, Kauffman “Tank” died by suicide.  Any loss of a young adult is tragic but when the death is related to suicide, it leaves many with a mix of emotions and confusion, especially for close friends and family but also for the community at large.  Kauffman was an active member of the community, a 2005 graduate of Somerville High School and a coach with the Pop Warner Football program.  The family has asked us to invite the community to come together at the January 9th event that will take place in the Healy School Cafeteria from 5-7pm, the Somerville Trauma Response Network and Riverside Trauma Center will provide information on how to cope when bad things happen.  Resources will be available on how to talk with children who have been impacted and how to support each other through difficult times.  There will be information shared in the large group and also a time for small group discussion.  Child care will be provided so that teens and adults can have an opportunity to talk in small groups.  Information will be shared in both Creole and English.Donations will be accepted – The family is also in need of financial assistance to cover the costs of funeral services.  The Haitian Coalition has assisted the family in setting up an account.  Donations will be used to pay for funeral services; any additional funds will go to Kauffman’s 4 children.  Donations will be accepted at this event or can be made at any Citizens Bank; checks can be made out to “Kauffman Calixte Fund” account # 1324692984For those of you who would also like to attend services:
A wake will be held at the Cota Struzziero Funeral Home, 197 Washington St., Somerville on Friday January 11th for family and friends from 4-8pm.  Funeral and Services will be held on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:00am at the Immaculate Conception Parish, 489 Broadway, Everett, MA.For more information or questions please contact: Patty Contente, City of Somerville 617-625-6600 ext. 4325 or Franklin Dalembert, Haitian Coalition 617-625-6400.


Board of Directors Welcomes New Officers and Members
December 2012 — The board of directors recently held elections that added some new faces among veterans, striking a balance between experience and change. New officers include:

  • President Mackenson Masse, an entrepreneur, who joined the board hoping to see Haitian elders explore all that Massachusetts offers in resources and physical beauty. “I want the Coalition to continue its ESL, literacy and citizenship classes.  Something else I’d like to see us do is to help seniors expand their horizons beyond the local area by taking trips to other parts of the state.”
  • Regine Chrispin, a board member working in the housing field, said, “I am looking forward to having the community more connected to resources and more involved, teaching members what they need to know about youth engagement, healthcare and voting.”

Chrispin Masse, and the entire board will work with executive director Franklin Dalembert and Coalition staff on strengthening and expanding core services and new programs.  They are excited about planned new twists on existing programs in civic engagement, entrepreneurship, immigration and more.


Keep visiting this homepage for updates on initiatives as they are introduced to constituents.  For more information on programming or to volunteer at the Coalition, please contact Franklin Dalembert at 617-625-6400.

Coalition Recognized With MLK Award by the City of Somerville
January 2011 — On January 17, the city of Somerville’s Human Rights Commission conferred to the Coalition its Martin Luther King award for exemplifying the ideals of community service and working to bring Dr. King’s dream to action.  Every year, the city requests nominations for the award from members of the community with these guidelines:  “The recipients of this award should have promoted human and civil rights; shown striving for equality, respect and dignity of all people; economic justice…and inspiring others to practice these ideals.”  The Coalition is the only social service agency in Somerville to be awarded the prize twice.
Press Clippings on Coalition’s Earthquake Commemoration Event and More
January 2011 — The Coalition marked the anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake by holding a commemorative event on January 14 at Somerville High School.  One-hundred-fifty of our supporters attended the event, which included an interactive memorial, moving testimonials and outstanding musical performances and more.  Please see below for the articles about the commemoration and other facets of our work.
At Memorial, a Call for Better Recovery
A Few Local Shining Stars
Friends of the Coalition Rally for Rebuild at Somerville High
The Haitian Coalition Successfully Leads Humanitarian Mission in Haiti
August 2010 — In partnership with non-profit partners and dedicated volunteers, the Haitian Coalition of Somerville concluded a successful humanitarian mission to Haiti in April.  During the trip, our delegation of 30 professionals delivered medical assistance and mental health counseling to 1,200 earthquake survivors; distributed supplies, food, clothing, beds, temporary shelter and other materials to 1,300 individuals; and provided CPR training to 60 women.  Please find below our report, which outlines the mission’s successful service delivery in the midst of persistent difficulties on the ground in Haiti.
Collaborative Humanitarian Relief Mission Report
April 7 Forum on Haiti’s Reconstruction
April 2010 — At the panel discussion “What It Means to Rebuild Haiti,” prominent community activists and scholars tackled issues and concerns that continue to impact Haiti in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake. Panelists discussed fallen buildings and damaged roads but also the deeper, long-standing problems that still plague the country.  For those who missed this important discussion, we include the below report summarizing the views presented by panelists at the event.
April 7 Report
Harvard Medical School recently honored Dr. Marie-Louise Jean-Baptiste (center in blue) its Service Award for her outstanding contributions to the local community. Dr. Jean-Baptiste, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at HMS and a physician at Cambridge Health Alliance, designated the Coalition as the recipient of a $1,000 donation from HMS on her behalf. Thank you, Dr. Jean-Baptiste and HMS, for recognizing our work.

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