“How can we collectively ensure that Little Haiti culture and character is not endangered with the expeditiously expanding (prohibitively) expensive development and rising cost of living?”
That’s the question from reader Michael Mercury Pearson that won the most number of votes, which means we’re answering it for you today.
Here are some of our recommendations for getting involved and supporting Little Haiti’s culture:
Check out these local organizations
Several organizations have been working to preserve an affordable community for longtime residents and small business owners. Many of them have organized on a regular basis to scrutinize land deals in the area, as well as major development proposals like the Magic City Innovation District.
Some countywide groups that are doing work in the area include Smash the Slumlords, Miami Homes for All, the New Florida Majority, and Catalyst Miami.
And some groups that are housed in the area and are primarily lead by Haitian Americans include the Family Action Network Movement, Concerned Leaders of Little Haiti, and the Haitian American Community Development Corporation.
The folks at Konscious Kontractors also host regular neighborhood cleanups, and other events centered around combating climate gentrification in the neighborhood and beyond.
All of those groups are working on various strategies to help preserve and create affordable housing, develop and purchase community land trusts, and to protect the rights of deeply-rooted property owners and businesses so they aren’t forced to move by rising rents.
And several of the above-mentioned organizations host community events and discussions on these topics, and if you keep up with them on social media they provide updates on when City of Miami and/or county officials are discussing or voting on some of these major projects and developments in the area.
Support local businesses
A fairly easy way to preserve the neighborhood’s culture and character is to support established businesses and help them remain afloat. There are local vendors in the Caribbean Marketplace at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, or longstanding shops like the Piman Bouk restaurant or Liberi Mapou bookstore.
There’s also mom-and-pop markets along Northeast Second Avenue like Pack Supermarket and B&M Market that will keep you fed and still give you a chance to show some support.
And if you’re looking to get more involved and have authentic conversations with community members, the Cultural Complex hosts Creole language classes for beginners.
Thanks again to Michael for posing the question and to all of you who wrote in with questions of your own! Stay tuned as we explore other South Florida neighborhoods this year.