25, Capital One Bank Ambassador
I came here in 1993 from Haiti when I was very young, about 3 years old, with my uncle. My parents sent me here with my uncle and I didn’t know I had parents until I was 9 years old. I came on a plane with my uncle, and we lived with him in Rosendale. When coming here, he said he felt welcomed and there were a lot of Haitians coming here in 1992-1993. I think it is important to accept people from different places, not to say no one doesn’t, but I think it is important to have different people because it brings different ideas and different outlooks. Different flavoring to whatever you’re cooking up. Whether it’s an idea…sneakers…or clothing. When you have people who aren’t experienced with the outside world, it doesn’t leave room for creativity.
Why did your family come to the United States? My uncle brought me here because he knew there was nothing really going on in Haiti, and if he brought me here young, that I would have a better opportunity to help my parents moving forward. He brought over all his children and brothers and sisters since he’s the oldest in the family. The US has a name, ‘the melting pot’, ‘the land of opportunity.’ That really resonates with a lot of Haitians because they usually go to New York, Boston, or Florida. He felt there was a lot of opportunity and good schools here.
What would the U.S. be missing out on if you or your people were banned? They would be missing out on good food. Haitians have a lot of great shipping companies – so they ship a lot to the West Indies. A lot of big companies are run by Haitians, like money transfer companies such as Western Union. A lot of interpreter services would not be around if Haitians hadn’t been here.