In the midst of the turbulence caused by new immigration laws, the Miami Book Fair hosted a riveting discussion titled “Chaos and Community: The Impact of New Immigration Laws on Haitian Refugees in the U.S.” on May 7, 2023. Among the esteemed panelists were Gepsie Morisset-Metellus, community activist and co-founder of the Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center; Edwidge Danticat, acclaimed Haitian American author; Paul Novack, a former mayor of Surfside and a distinguished attorney known for his extensive work with refugees and the Family Action Network Movement; and Leonie Hermantin, director of communications and development at Sant La. The event was a comprehensive exploration of the historical and current challenges faced by Haitian refugees in the U.S., with a particular focus on those who arrived in 1972 and their ongoing struggle for justice and equal rights.
Paul Novack’s participation in the event was a testament to his unwavering commitment to advocating for refugee rights. His insights, drawn from his professional experience and his work with the Family Action Network Movement, added a unique perspective to the discussion. Novack’s contributions to the discourse underscored the importance of community support and solidarity in times of chaos. His work, both within and beyond the U.S., including disaster relief projects for Haiti, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, is a testament to his dedication to public service and community integrity. This event served as a platform for Novack to further highlight the critical role of civil rights leaders, Black leaders, and people of various faiths who continue to play a crucial role in advocating for refugee rights.