Haitian community in Chicago remain uncertain as violence in Haiti escalates

Leah Hope Image
Friday, March 22, 2024
Haitians in Chicago remain uncertain as violence in Haiti escalates
While plans are being made to evacuate Americans in Haiti, the Chicago Haitian community remains uncertain as violence in the country escalates.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- While unrelenting violence continues to escalate in Haiti, members of Chicago's Haitian community fear what that could mean for their families back home.

ABC7 spoke with two Haitians who now call Chicago home.

Marleen Julien's work has intensified as the situation deteriorates in Haiti, and there is more demand for translations from Haitian Creole to English and vice versa.

Julien's company in Skokie, Creole Solutions, does those translations, and she employs 50 in Haiti, offering invaluable revenue for those families and their communities.

"They are very anxious, because they don't know what going to happen," Julien said. "I was talking with one of them the other day, and he was like, 'I'm so anxious. I'm scared. I don't know what the future holds.'"

Having been in Chicago for decades, Julien is still very connected to her native country and to its current troubles.

Armed gangs control more of Port Au Prince with the void in governmental leadership since 2021. Now, the airport and one of the main hospitals is closed there.

"The last time I watch the news, I spent hours watching the news, and I found myself crying," Julien said.

READ MORE | More Americans evacuate Haiti on a US-chartered helicopter flight, State Department says

Patrick Brutus represents the Coalition of Haitian American Organizations in Chicago.

"It's very disheartening to see people suffering... and feeling as if we are helpless here in America," Brutus said.

He reminds Chicagoans of a connection to Haiti with the city's founder Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable, who is originally from Haiti.

"While we want to see peace restored in Haitian, it's also an opportunity for the city of Chicago, the county of Cook County and the state of Illinois, all stakeholders to understand the conditions for the people in Haiti and be a little more sympathetic to our plights.

Those in the Chicago area continue watching the situation in Haiti, and continue to wait and hope. In the meantime, trying to help Haiti migrants settle here and find ways to offer support to those still in the country.