History of NHAEON

founded in 2009

The National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON)

In the Spring of 2009, after the historic election of the first Black President, Barack Obama, the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON) was formed with the vision to unite elected officials of Haitian descent together from local, state, and judicial offices across the United States. Founded by the innovated minds of Marie St. Fleur, former Massachusetts State Representative who represented the Fifth Suffolk District, Massachusetts State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste, former North Miami Councilwoman Marie E. Steril, former Mayor Joe Celestin, former Mayor Philipe Derose, former Mayor Joseph Champagne, and former North Miami City Clerk Alix Desulme, NHAEON represents unification to further the renewed national and local focus on key legislative, diplomatic, security, economic and human rights issues in this critical part of the world.

Cojoined with Representative St. Fleur, City Clerk Desulme identified, connected with, and mobilized the membership database. With the increasing number of elected officials in Florida, they understood the immediate need to unify and collaborate with the new Administration. In the Fall of 2009, this was accomplished through the assistance of Senator John Kerry and Congressman Mike Capuano during the inaugural meeting in Washington, D.C. Through her dedication and resilience to NHAEON, all logistical and monetary obligations to the conference were financed by Representative St. Fleur’s campaign account. She believed that her dream for unification and representation of the Haitian disapora were far more critical than the expenditures affiliated with accomplishing such a strenuous task. Her goals were attained as all the Floridian elected officials, and those from all over were supportive and active in the strategic planning and success of that historic meeting. Through the many years that followed, the membership has grown and holds firm to the originating values and goals that it was founded upon. Influential members such as Linda Forry were elected in 2005 into the Massachusetts House of Representatives, then into Senate in 2013, and Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste of Cook County, Illinois, along with all the members of NHAEON who remain critical supporters to the fundamental values.

On January 12th, 2010, in an immediate need for action, NHAEON assumed mobilization tactics to ensure the health and welfare needed due to the earthquake that affected 3 million people in the country of Haiti. As a continued effort to provide training and strategy sessions for its members, NHAEON centers on fostering strong relationships with organizations to validate, educate, and empower our most vulnerable and disproportionate communities.

 In 2018, NHAEON conducted its Leadership Retreat and successfully hosted its members, staff, local organizations, and sponsors. The event epitomized NHAEON’s vision to progressively maintain its dedication to engage, promote, and support the Haitian community through effective and transparent leadership. 

Today as a mission, NHAEON is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization that engages Haitian Americans in the political process and amplifies their voices. It aims to enhance the lives of the Haitian Community by advancing civic engagement, social justice, equality, and equity. With a determined deposition, NHAEON continues to integrate civic engagement in the education of voting rights, immigration reform, and public safety.