Father Gérard Jean-Juste receives an award for his struggle for the rights of refugees on the occasion of Martin Luther King Day
Port-au-Prince, January 16, 2007 (AHP)- The Haitian priest, Father Gérard Jean-Juste, received an award Monday for his spirit of liberty and his courage in the struggle for refugee and immigrant rights.
The Catholic priest, who worked for years at the Haitian Refugee Center in Little Haiti, Miami, has been in that city for several months to recuperate and receive medical treatment following his arrest and lengthy imprisonment by the interim government of Gérard Latortue based on his political affiliation.
Gerard Jean-Juste received the Spirit of Freedom Award award at a ceremony marking the birthday of the African American religious leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, who was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968.
The parish priest of Sainte-Claire de Petite Place Cazeau (in northern Port-au-Prince) participated in the ceremony alongside well-known figures such as Martin Luther King III, grandson of the American hero.
Florida state Senator Frederica Wilson opened the annual breakfast ceremony by encouraging reflection on the large number of people who have been killed in South Florida, especially black youths.
“The carnage must end. That’s what Doctor King would want us to do, take back the community from the hooligans, said Ms. Wilson.
In his remarks, Father Jean-Juste, described by Frederica Wilson as the Mandela of South Florida, advocated a new environment that offers young people a better life.
Let them stay away from this culture of death”, he said.