A group of Haitian-Americans were aware that Houston and several major cities in Texas were growing more and more attractive to Haitian-Americans. They, which includes co-founder James Pierre, decided to launch an organization to help keep Haitian culture and traditions alive. Houston Haitians United have mixers, cultural nights and other culture-driven events. They’ve even taken part in relief drives to help members of the Haitian-American community (and others) affected by Hurricane Harvey. The organization even sent a representative for Haiti at the Houston Caribbean Queen Pageant.
In Part I of our interview, we discussed the beginnings of the organization. In this last installment of the interview, Pierre shares his vision for HHU (as the organization is fondly called), and his perspective of Haitian-American population growth in the State of Texas.
Kreyolicious: Besides the popular cities like Houston, Dallas, Fort-Worth, Plano, Desoto, where in Texas do you anticipate a Haitian-American population increase?
The aforementioned Killeen Texas has grown exponentially, there are a lot of active military that relocate there and bring their families to Fort Hood which is the nearby military base. There is now a Haitian Restaurant in Killeen as of this year.
Kreyolicious: Do most Haitian-Americans who are in Houston go back to their state of origin after a while, or are they pretty much permanent in Texas?
It varies I’ve been here fourteen years and I’ve seen folks come and go, and this was before the restaurants, Kompa promoters and the conception of HHU as a hub for all things Haitian in Houston. Before that most people would get homesick and move back before interacting with the community. More than often people stay because of Houston’s of jobs, economic stability, and very affordable cost of living.
Above: Houston Haitians United sent these beauties to represent Haiti at the Houston Caribbean Queen Pageant this past summer!
Kreyolicious: Where does HHU see itself as an organization five years from now?
Houston Haitians United: Our plans for HHU are to continue to promote and uplift Haitians and our culture by creating and providing resources for the well-being and advancement of Haitians in Houston and everywhere our organization can reach. We want to continue to highlight Haitian culture and provide an avenue to which local Haitians, Haitian Businesses and Haitian organizations can network. We’re hoping that the buzz and locality of this organization will help a lot of relocating Haitians feel at home here in Houston, as well as be the driving force to help those Haitians who have been here for a while.