When in doubt, wear red lipstick.
Last Sunday, I had the honor of attending the Amour Creole Trailblazer Awards ceremony in Elmont New York. A magazine dedicated to French-speaking Caribbean readers living abroad, specifically Haitians, Amour Creole, was founded by Esther Lafontant. “I love Essence, but I felt I was lacking something. I needed something I could relate to more– culturally speaking. I needed something to express our culture through fashion, beauty, and the arts,” Esther gladly told me when I asked her about why she started the magazine.
The Trailblazer ceremony was put together to honor three hard-working individuals of Haitian descent who are making a positive difference in the Haitian community. Marie-Yolaine Eusebe, Jihan Antoine, and Firmin Backer all work in different fields for different causes, but they have one thing in common: the passion and drive to help others. They are improving the lives of many Haitians and inspiring other people to do so as well.
Marie-Yolaine Eusebe was being award for founding her non-profit organization Community2Community. Her organization works closely with villagers in Haiti to advance their living conditions. She went to the little town of Petit-Goave and was able to help install pipes in order for the villagers to receive fresh, clean water. I’m not sure if you know, but clean water is a big issue in Haiti. That’s huge! I’ve heard people fight for buckets of water when I lived in Haiti. Having fresh water is a luxury we should all be grateful for. “We’re no special. We don’t have wings. We wake up in the morning just like you guys. If we can do it, so can you,” Eusebe said as she eyed the crowd. She is not only working with her organization, but she is encouraging others to start their own initiatives to think of how we can help our sisters and brothers back home. Her speech was truly amazing and inspirational.
The entire night was amazing. Being in a room full of people who are inspiring and passionate about what they do, and who are helping their community can’t fully be described in words. “L’union fait la force”- Unity makes strength is the Haitian motto, and that night was a pure example of that. I hope to keep in touch with these amazing individuals, and to, one day, do something just as extraordinary as them. Did I mention we got in a circle and danced to Boukman Eksperyans? You can take the people out of Haiti, but you can’t take Haiti of the people. Great night!
Men Anpil, chay pa lou.