Forry, a Boston Democrat who is in her seventh year in the Massachusetts Legislature and is well-respected in the Dorchester community, said she met Louis about four years ago. An estimated 70,000 Haitians live in Massachusetts and in the Boston area, with many residing in Dorchester, Forry said. She is the only Haitian American currently serving elective office in that state, she said. Massachusetts has the third-highest number of Haitian residents in America, trailing only Florida and New York.
Boston Councilman Charles Yancy represents part of the Dorchester community that includes the Eglise de Dieu de le Pentecote Libre, where Louis is pastor.
Louis, Yancy said, is a quiet man who often keeps a low profile. “But his commitment to the people and to Jesus Christ is not a question,” Louis said. “He has a great following and sensitivity for the people.”
Like many throughout the Boston area, Yancy said that he prayed over the weekend for Louis, Alphonse and Ragab. Yancy said he was not surprised to learn that Louis had asked the abductor to take him instead of a woman.
“In our eyes, he is a hero,” Yancy said. “We haven’t put together any plans, but I am sure he’ll get a hero’s welcome when he returns.”
Details of the group’s return to the U.S. have not been announced, and Louis and his family have declined The Root‘s interview requests. But family and friends have told other news outlets that they are excited about the release and anxiously await the arrival of Louis, his wife and the other travelers.
“At the moment, there is a lot of joy. I’m exuberant,” Jean Louis, son of Michel Louis, told Boston.com. “I have no words to express it. We believe in God. And let me tell you, He did not let us down.”
Denise Stewart is a freelance writer in Alabama.