Letters to the Editor

Haitian women strengthen families

I have heard it many times: “When will we have ‘Haitian Men of Miami?’ Men need help, too. Look at our prisons, full of young black men.”

The fact is, from our inception in 1991, FANM has served low- to moderate-income families in addition to advocating for immigration policies such as Temporary Protected Status, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Long-Term Residents, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Haitian Family Reunification Parole and more.

FANM’s name was chosen to show that when we invest in women, the family benefits instantly. Our organization helps families going through hard times and gives them the tools to contribute to their own and the community’s transformation. We operate on a shoestring budget, but our partners and supporters, dedicated staff and board, believe in its mission and vision of helping everyone have a fighting chance — no matter who they are or where they are from.

Our Family Intervention and Empowerment Program provides mental-health counseling, domestic-violence prevention and intervention, healthcare access and an annual health fair supported by the Green Family Foundation and the Health Foundation of South Florida. These services strengthen families, and strong families make strong communities.

Thanks to the support of the Children’s Trust and the city of Miami, FANM operates three afterschool program sites: two in Little Haiti and one in North Miami. We partner with Miami-Dade County Public Schools for adult education classes. Our Community Economic Development Program helps clients build self-sufficiency by starting their own small businesses. FANM also conducts civic- and voter-education drives and assists clients in applying for citizenship.

How can members of the community join us in helping members of Miami’s immigrant community help themselves? By attending FANM’s 22nd Annual Gala, at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Caribbean Marketplace, 5925 NE Second Ave. in Little Haiti. The theme will be Celebrating Immigrants’ Contributions. Renowned author Edwidge Danticat will be the emcee, and Miami-Dade County Commission Chair Jean Monestime will give a keynote address.

We congratulate our honorees for their tireless advocacy on behalf of immigrants: State Rep. Daphne D. Campbell; Father Reginald Jean-Mary; Tony Jeanthenor; Odiane Medacier; Francesca Menes, MPA; Dr. Rudolph Moise; Romane Petit Joseph; Maria Rodriguez; and Marie Paule Woodson. To purchase tickets, go to fanm.org or call (305) 756-8050.

Marleine Bastien,

executive director,

FANM/Haitian Women of Miami