Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste

Founding member of the United Front of the Haitian Diaspora

Judge Jean-Baptiste is a son, a husband and a father.  He was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and immigrated to the United States at the age of 14.  After high school, he matriculated into Princeton University in 1970 and graduating with a BA in Political Science and certification in African-American History in 1974.  After college, he moved to Brooklyn, NY and worked as an elementary school teacher, an adjunct Professor and as the Director of Special Housing for NYC.

His activism in NY included the African Liberation Support Committee, the Committee against Dictatorship in Haiti, the Mobilization Committee Against Police Brutality and others.

Lionel eventually returned to his adopted home town in Evanston/Chicago, IL and enrolled in Law School in 1986, twelve years after college.  With a full time job as the Executive Assistant to the President of Malcolm X College, a City Colleges of Chicago and an active family, he graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1990.  Lionel practiced law for 20 years in various areas of law such as Immigration, PI, Probate, and Transactional Law and worked on special cases such as the major African-American reparations case against 17 US corporations in federal court.

In 2001, he became the first Haitian-American elected in the State of Illinois as Alderman/City Councilman of the City of Evanston and for 3 consecutive terms serving 10 years on the City Council.  In March of 2011, he became the first Haitian-American and sworn in as Judge by the Illinois Supreme Court.  Subsequently, he waged a hard-fought campaign to hold on to his seat as Judge and was victorious in the primary and general election of 2012.  He is currently a family law Judge.

Lionel Jean-Baptiste has always maintained his activism.  He is currently a member of the NAACP.  He is a founding member and past President of the Haitian-American Lawyers Association, a founding member of the National Haitian-American Elected Officials Network, a founding member of the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, the organization that waged a 7-year international campaign to amend the Haitian Constitution to secure Dual Citizenship for all Haitians born, anywhere in the world, to a Haitian mother or a Haitian father.

He is a founding member of the United Front of the Haitian Diaspora which in essence continues the mission of the Haitian Congress to mobilize the Haitians living in the Diaspora to reintegrate into Haitian society to help develop Haiti.

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