Sak pase?! I’m Eve, a Haitian medical anthropologist by trade and am passionate about driving high performance in products, services, and initiatives in GovTech, Public Health and Policy, and Workforce Development both domestically and internationally. My journey has taken me from innovative startups to the government sector to partner with forward-thinking leaders and teams.

Serving as a Commissioner

As a Commissioner for the Mayor’s Commission of African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs in Philadelphia, I leverage my skills in agile strategy, leadership development, and user experience research to directly impact immigrant communities. I typically engage in brainstorming sessions with community leaders on how to sustain and grow their efforts, connect service providers to powerful community leaders, participate in events, disseminate information, and share community needs and successes in spaces where our voices need representation.

Meaningful involvement for me is not only hoping the work of the Commission advises the Mayor on policies and programs needed for the community are codified, but consistent amplification of our respective rich heritage no matter when, where, or how we got here.

Importance of Heritage

Caribbean American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich cultural contributions of the Caribbean in the US and the contributions are truly bountiful. Heritage includes the legacy of both physical artifacts and intangible attributes passed down through generations, creating a tapestry of cultural practices, traditions, languages, values, and histories. Celebrating heritage on American soil is vital for acknowledging these contributions and resisting the erasure that comes with assimilation. The West African Akan principle of Sankofa, which means “to go back and fetch it,” reminds us to honor and reclaim our heritage.

Celebrating Haitian Heritage

As a Haitian woman in Philadelphia, I am deeply grateful for the rich cultural diversity of the city and plan as I do during this month to celebrate Haitian heritage and deepen my knowledge of other Caribbean cultures. Haiti’s narrative as the “poorest country in the western hemisphere” bestowed upon us by global nations (i.e France, USA) since declaring our independence in 1804 overlooks its significant contributions in the larger French strategy to support the American revolutionaries against the British by providing substantial resources and manpower. Haiti’s profits by its production of two-thirds of the world’s sugar served as a fund the independence of the USA we live to see today. A little-known fact and interesting one, yes?

Embracing Our Stories

Embracing both the light and dark aspects of our past, present, and future allows us to celebrate who we are today and share our unique heritage. We are the legacy of past generations, maintained in the present, and gifted the opportunity to bestow all parts of that heritage to the benefit of future generations. I am especially honored to be in rooms and conversations that are tasked with translating how heritage can uplift standards of living in policy, not only for the Caribbean, but all communities in America.

Growing up as an African-Caribbean woman is filled with fond memories, and I believe a poem might capture a snapshot of my story thus far;

I am from | Kote’m soti

I am from epis
From castor oil and scotch bonnet peppers; piman
I am from black and gold tiles
The ginger-cinnamon infused tea bubbling on the stove
I am from coconut trees
The leaves of the sour orange tree whose long limbs I remember as if they were my own
I am from folkloric dances and education as the way out
From Marie Monique Castel and Anacanoa
I am from RaRa festival, eccentric storytellers and carnival
I am from
famn se poto mitan
Bondye pa paye le ou komanse; li paye le ou fini
Peh pah pah e peh dap pah deh dah fo’m al lan pays’m
I’m from soupe joumou on independence day
I am from the leaves of Little Haiti in Miami,
the strong trunk of Aux Cayes in southern Haiti,
deep nurturing roots of West and Central Africa,
Fufu, cassava, and labouyi
From revolutionaries
Not born but made with the notion of humanity
Birthed into my mother
Inescapable to me by blood
This is where I’m from
Now ask me where I’m going

Happy Caribbean American Heritage Month!