Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park), the borough’s only Haitian-American elected to a legislative office, and normally a staunch advocate on issues near and dear to Haitians, today dismissed the ongoing protest of Hillary Clinton‘s scheduled commencement address at Medgar Evers College (MEC) as much ado about nothing.
Bichotte made her comments in response to KCP’s story on the Haiti-based organization, Komokoda, protesting Clinton’s scheduled June 4 speech outside the school last week. The group alleges Hillary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, through their Clinton Foundation, stole millions of dollars in funds earmarked for Haiti in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Asked to comment on the allegations, Bichotte, a strong Hillary supporter in the November presidential election and loyal Democrat, dismissed the protest, saying there are more significant issues facing the Haitian community right now due to the current Trump Administration.
“There are many pressing issues that our country is facing right now such as healthcare and immigration. In particular for the Haitian community is the issue of Temporary Protective Status (TPS), and the integrity of our democracy. I think it is important that we place our focus on these issues right now and no doubt, the many other challenging issues that will be coming our way as a nation,” said Bichotte.
But City Council Member Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood), who was not a supporter of Clinton as the Democratic candidate for President, thinks that the former Secretary of State has some things to answer for and not just her loss of the Presidency.
“I absolutely support her [Hillary Clinton] right to speak, but I understand why some Haitians are protesting. If truth be told, a lot of people should be protesting it. A lot of people in certain communities have been supporting them [the Clintons] without really understanding some of the things they have done. Obviously they have done some good, but they should be held accountable for a lot of things, which is why I couldn’t support her in the primary. I supported Bernie Sanders and even now her and the Democratic party are repeatedly ignoring why we lost,” said Williams.
Williams went on to say that moving forward Democrats should realize what actually happened during the U.S. Presidential election and realize that Clinton wasn’t a good candidate and is accountable for a lot of what happened during the election.
In regards to the accusation that Clinton Foundation siphoned off money earmarked for Haiti, Williams was dubious.
“I can’t say for sure what happened, but I can say for that [Clinton] foundation and a whole of others there should be an accounting of where the funding went. They are part of it,” said Williams.
Among those lawmakers and officials that have not gotten back to KCP to weigh in on the issue include Congress Member Yvette Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Brownsville, Sheepshead Bay) and Democratic District Leader Josue Pierre – both ardent supporters of Haitian-American issues.
But political support or not, Komokoda has vowed to continue fighting against Clinton’s appearance until her invitation and honorary degree is rescinded. In fact, the group is planning to be at the graduation ceremony protesting until the end.
Although MEC, 1650 Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights, is a part of the City University of New York (CUNY) public schools system, it serves a predominantly black student body in a neighborhood with a large number of Caribbean-Americans.