1. To remember and honor the 250,000 plus Haiti earthquake victims; 2. To create immediate jobs for artists; 3. To bring the Haitian Diaspora and Friends of Haiti together as one; and 4. To raise needed funds for Kylti's cultural and arts projects.
When I left Haiti as a young 11-year-old in 1975, I remembered it to be this peaceful, quiet, and beautiful country.
I used to play soccer on the front porch of the house, and walk to my school at Seminaire without ever having to leave the sidewalks except for crossing the street. Back then, there were no overcrowding, very few street markets, nor the piles of garbage so common now throughout the capital city of Port-au-Prince and other main cities. On any given Sunday, I could count no more than 10-20 cars passing on my home street of Rue du Peuple, which is a block from the now destroyed Cathedral due to the earthquake of January 12, 2010.
I enjoyed being barefooted; looking at the smiles on people's faces as you walked passed them, always greeting each other as was customary in those days. As a young boy, I never heard about violent crimes (I learned later as an adult that countless political crimes took place), except for the occasional burglary, then again the whole community would run after the perpetrator and he would not get away.
I also recall that my preferred language was Kreyol since my friends were the kids "next door" who did not speak French. Plus, I don't ever remember telling stories, jokes, talking with parents, family even, and listening to our wonderful Konpa and Rasin music in any other language but Kreyol. French never entered my psyche, and I never made it a part of my Haitian identity, once I understood what that was and what it meant for me. I admit it is nice to understand French (to some degree), to communicate if I must (with incredible grammatical errors), but Kreyol is what identifies me as Haitian and what makes Haiti, Haiti.
There are many more stories I can share about Haiti in its "glory" days, bustling with tourism, beauty, incredible Caribbean light, and art that continues to this day.
That was the Haiti of the yesteryear, or Ayiti Chérie, as Haitians know it.
Since Haiti began on its path of "Democracy" after the departure of Dictator Baby Doc (Jean-Claude Duvalier) in 1986, Haiti has been on a slope of, and sometimes steep, decline towards an abyss we are observing today. The country has undergone countless coups, embargos by the United States and other countries, occupations, environmental, social and economic decay, and void of real political leadership. This void of leadership has become very apparent and pronounced as a result of the catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, at 4:53 pm.
I caution, therefore, that Haiti is not yet out of this continuous downward slope.
Long-time supporters of my work know and will confirm my commitment to Haiti and Haitian art since I ended my military career in 1994. Yes, I served 11 years in the United States Air Force and very proud to have served this country. I wanted to give back for the life that the United States afforded my family and me. Experiencing the ideas of freedom and the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are things I wish for every human being.
My contribution to society is doing what I can to improve it. In the case of Haiti, this need to serve Haiti began when I embraced my Haitian-American-Chinese identities as one, inseparable whole. It is a long journey as anyone connected to Haiti will attest that it is not an easy one.
My focus area has been in the arts. It is what I understand and know best. And I use this talent to promote Haitian and Caribbean art, to help artists develop their careers, and to affect positive change and economic potential. This endeavor was and is not without sacrifice, which I heartedly accept for my birthplace of Haiti.
I welcome anyone who wishes to support Kylti and its efforts to develop Haiti through the arts and culture. I am making it publicly known that I do operate for-profit enterprises that focus on promoting and advancing Haitian and Caribbean art. My activities and interests are intertwined, and so are my family's contributions, which has heavily influenced Haitian art. I assure you that no conflict arises where I essentially give to further the one and only cause of Kylti, which is that of sustaining and advancing Haitian arts and culture.
I invite you learn more about the work that Kylti is undertaken, to pose questions, to request information, because our success is the success of Haiti and the Haitian people. I would have no greater desire than to experience it during my lifetime.
Thank you all who visit this Web site and support Kylti.