I am curious about who you are and what kind of work that you do; would you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Haiti and moved to the United States in 2009. I completed a four years college at the State University of Haiti; majoring in Journalism while working as a reporter and anchor on television. I have been involved in activism since I was in middle school through high school leading student committees as president. In college, I was elected Vice-Coordinator of a Student’s Association in Haiti “AHECS” where our mission was to defend the students rights and to advocate for better education. My passion for the women issues has increased after I had the privilege to work with an extraordinary woman, Marie Lawrence Jocelyn-Lassegue who has inspired me to be a feminist. She had introduced me to the reading of the works of tremendous feminists like Simone de Beauvoir, and Eve Ensler author of the famous Vagina Monologues. I worked as a Communication Technician at the Ministry of Condition Feminine and Women Rights where I become an advocate for women rights, justice, equal opportunities for men and women, equal education for children, and the participation of women in the political affairs. We worked in conducting researches, training on violence and discrimination against women and developing strategies to educate them on their rights and also bringing justice to them. It was such a difficult decision for me to leave everything behind, my carrier, my family and my friends to settle in the United States. I had a great path ahead of me. This is another story that I do not want to go through. As I strive to succeed in this new environment, I never gave up on hope. While attending Community College of Rhode Island, I worked as a Nursing Assistant. In 2015, I graduated with an Associate Degree in Paralegal. I believe that education is the only key that can open all doors. Currently, I am working on obtaining a Teacher Certification and entering the law school. I am still confident that with hard work anything is possible.
Actually, I am the Director Assistant of “Hope and Change for Haiti”, a non- profit organization that my husband and I along with some friends have created in Cranston in 2016 following the deadly hurricane that has struck Haiti. Our mission is to develop and implement sustainable projects to improve the quality of life of the people impacted by the natural disasters in the community of Paillant/Haiti. I am also an active member of Cranston Action Network (CAN). Recently, I joined the Democratic women’s Caucus as well as a member. I live in Cranston with my husband, Norly and my three sons Oliver, Kyle and Nolan. I am Episcopalian. My family and I go to St David’s On Hill Episcopal Church located in Cranston. I am trying to make a difference every day in everything I do.
The Woman Project has been working to pass a bill that codifies Roe V Wade into RI state law. We are interested in the ways that Reproductive Freedom impacts your life and the work that you do?
I would like to congratulate The Woman Project for its outstanding works in addressing women issues in RI. In 1920 with the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, women had finally granted the right to vote in this country. That victory was a result of long fights and struggles. It took over 50 years, regardless the rise of multiple women’s movements demanding gender equality the struggle has continued until Roe V Wade, to celebrate another major victory. Indeed, the Reproductive Freedom is a right that every woman has and we must continue the fight to ensure that this constitutional right would not have been taken away from us. As stated in the verdict of the 1973 case Roe v.Wade, the Supreme Court have indeed confirmed it is unconstitutional to deny a woman the right to decide whether to carry a pregnancy or not violated basic privacy and liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.
As a woman, it is my right to decide of having a baby or not. It is no business of any politicians. This is a personal issue between a woman, her family and her physician. The Reproductive Freedom guaranteed that right. It is vital that legislators in RI enact laws to codify Roe v. Wade into state law to ensure that women are protected. Personally, I was fortunate to have my children without major complications. However, I can’t imagine what would be like to have to go through complications and the urgency to make a decision while thinking about the restrictions of my rights by politicians’ interference. For instance, in Haiti any woman can have an abortion as she choose to. Most of the time, it’s between that person and her doctor. It’s a private matter pure and simple. Here, we still have works to do. In RI, a woman cannot have a tubal ligation without the authorization of her husband signed consent. It is unacceptable that in the 21st century, the relationship between woman and men reflect such a gap. Women are humans as men are and we can make our own decision. It’s time to treat us equally. No men need permission from anyone to decide about his body. Why should it be different for women? We need to seat at the table and take control of our destiny.
What about the lives of the people who you affect with your work?
At Hope and Change for Haiti, our mission is to improve the life of people that have been left alone in their poverty. Throughout our multiple programs, I am personally working on ways to socially, politically and economically strengthen women to empower them in getting back on their feet after they have lost everything. We have limited resources to reach our objectives, but I keep faith that people will understand the urgency to help by making donations to our organization “Hope and Change for Haiti” to facilitate our support to the needed.
I am trying my best to be a decent person. I commit to always be honest with people around me and I am not afraid to denounce what is wrong no matter where it comes from. I believe in justice and gender equality. I am a listener and an adviser but not judge.
When you think about your community what would you like them to know about Reproductive Freedom in RI? Why?
The Reproductive Freedom is when a woman can choose without any pressure to carry or not a pregnancy to term. And it is a personal and private matter. This freedom to take control of her body is the most important because a woman is a human being no less no more. That being said, no politician or government has the right to decide what is best for them. When it comes to women health and choice, it is unbearable that politic interfere. I would like to make it clear that the choice for a woman to decide what is best for herself is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. In RI, there is no state law that guaranteed this right. Such law is crucial for all women to ensure their freedom in regard to their choice. Women in RI rely only on RoeV.Wade. And as we know, Roe v. Wade is constantly under threat of overturning. Our legislators need to act to protect us. This is the reason why the Reproductive Freedom has to be incorporated into a state law. Indeed, we need to choose our representative and our senator accordingly to our expectations. Our legislators work for us. If they don’t want to do the job we elected them to do, we must vote them out. Vote people who share our values and fight for our rights.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to point out the fact that the black community in Rhode Island is underrepresented at all level and suffered greatly injustice and discrimination. Let’s not only talk about diversity we need to take action. It’s time to make room for people of color to have a seat at the table. So I encourage every men and women in power to ensure that no one left behind.