Carmeleau Monestime’s passing comes about at a critical juncture for Haiti and for Haitians everywhere. The Doyen, or dean, as he came to be affectionately known, leaves long-lasting footprints on our community.
The pioneer of Haitian talk radio understood the importance of radio as a tool to inform and engage in South Florida’s growing Haitian community. The tireless advocate was always at the forefront of the fight to legalize early Haitian refugees, and he was a fierce opponent of the Duvalier dictatorship.
He also was a devoted political activist with whom we did not always agree and an astute entrepreneur who recognized the untapped market potential of the growing Haitian population. Monestime was a faithful community builder who sacrificed so much for the well-being of Haitians in South Florida and who understood the need to create sustainable community institutions.
Although he didn’t live to see the new Haiti, his legacy will forever inspire us to keep dreaming, keep hoping and keep working for a stronger Haitian-American community and, by extension, a new Haiti.
Gepsie M. Metellus, executive director, Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center, Miami