It all started in the 1980’s growing up Haitian in Miami Dade Florida. “Cat Eater”, “Voodoo girl”, “Witch craft” “banana boat” and the list goes on. We not only experienced racism and prejudice from whites but blacks as well. Though our skin color was the same we had it the worst. Never really understood the big deal. My mother came into this country on a raft taking her 8 days to travel from Haiti to Miami. An incredible voyage to say the least. In hopes of a better life in the new world.
Many lost their lives on that faithful voyage. Dehydration, insomnia, seasickness and disease were just a few of the issues people faced. She left her mother and father and all her siblings in a dire quest to find “better”. She grew up in one of the most impoverished villages in Haiti. Leogane Haiti to be exact.
Dream BIG, Dream BETTER!
As my mother became a young woman she would often assist her aunt in the fish market place. They would go fishing and grow various items to make ends meet. My grandfather, who was a sugar cane farmer of many acreages of land, never sent a red cent for the care of my mother. It was customary to send the boys to learn a craft as opposed to sending the girls. A girl was more useful tending to house chores and rearing children.
However that never stopped my mother from dreaming. She would have a reoccurring dream about the deep blue sea but never understood what it was about. She never left her village enough to know what was really out there. She over heard people speaking in the market place about this risky voyage. The voyage was to the United States, which meant freedom from poverty.
My mother who could not read or write and who never left the confines of her village, decided to take a chance and see what was out there. She courageously embarked on the journey to the “unknown”. This little fishermen’s boat which held no more than 100 people, set sail on the big deep blue sea. Bold as she was she joined in with hopes of better ahead. She set out on the first trip only to have to return due to people getting sick and the amount of fatalities but returned a few hours later to try again.
They set sail once again, my mother holding on for her dear life on this little boat, what we modern day folks would refer to as a banana boat in the 1980’s.
My Haitian Is Beautiful!
Yes my Mother, my shy, sweet mother was part of this courageous voyage. With limited knowledge, money and family she made it to the United States. She met my father and conceived me. She knew that God would not have allowed her to make it this far just to have to turn back. Now pregnant with me in an unknown land she was granted asylum.
She was determined to make it in the U.S. and soon sent word home to her frantic family that she had survived the 8-day journey. Couldn’t read, write or speak English but she made it. She started working in a factory and taking classes immediately. She held her own convictions, if God allowed me to make it where others were denied then I have to excel and give him all the glory.
Which brings me back to being raised Haitian in Miami in the 1980’s. Despite all the taunting and ridicules by others, my mother went through too much for me not to excel. She kept us at home, in church and school. She often shared that she was not privileged to go as we are here in this country. I would often times come home to teach my parents what I had learned that day in school. I did most of the reading, writing and talking. I give credit to my teachers who understood the struggle and went the extra mile to make sure I did well.
As an adult, I hear people say often, you don’t look Haitian. I would ask why. Is it because I am well in speech, or educated? They could never give a response. Well I would say My HAITIAN IS BEAUTIFUL. My Haitian sacrificed everything to get here and I intend on making sure that those who didn’t have the opportunity, seek to maximize their true potential in their country.
My Haitian is Beautiful is an non-profit organization that celebrates the beauty in our Haitian culture. We take pride in our beautiful exotic features as well as honor our accomplishments and contributions to the world.
We are building all-girls schools in impoverished villages in Haiti. Educating our girls to be trailblazers for the generations to come.
“Why We Do It:
To end human trafficking and exploitation facing our world’s most isolated and vulnerable communities in the U.S. and villages in Leogane, Haiti by strengthening youth and families in health, education, sports and economic developmental!
To provide mentorship to young Haitian-Americans in our communities that are being bullied because of their ethnicity. To embrace,educate, encourage and empower our generation Haitians to excel beyond limits.
Help make a difference today