Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste (1947 – 2009) RIP

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Father Gerard Jean-Juste a gentle man, a liberation theologist and a true revolutionary who dedicated his life to fight for justice for Haitians in Haiti and the U.S died on Wednesday 27th May. Fr Jean-Juste was constantly harassed by the security forces and imprisoned by Gérard Latortue who along with the US and France were responsible for the overthrow of President Bertrand Aristide. In December 2005, he was diagosed in the US with lymphocytic leukemia but inbetween his treatments he continued to move between Miami and Port-au-Prince where he was always met with a huge welcome.  Though it has not been proved questions remain on the real cause of Father Jean Juste’s cancer.

I had the honour of meeting Fr. Jean-Juste twice in Miami  at the Veye Yo – the center he opened in the 1970s for Haiti refugees in Little Haiti. He and everyone at the Veye Yo were so welcoming and respectful it was a truly humbling experience. I was unfortunate to miss him in Port-au-Prince due to the August 2007 hurricane and mess ups with him trying to get to PAP and me trying to get back to Miami. Fr Gerry as he was known held people together. Every week people would gather and whoever had something to say would stand and speak about their joys, their problems in Miami and in Haiti. Everyone would listen. I cannot imagine the sadness of the people of Little Haiti who where part of his life and theirs his – he will be terribly missed – I do not know how his people will manage.

In this video he explains his decision to start a soup kitchen in Haiti – “It was like a cry in my heart. I had to perform a miracle.” He Did!