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Beyond Place of Birth: Exploring the Essence of Haitian Identity

What truly defines us as Haitian? Is it our vibrant culture, our unwavering resilience, or something deeper? Identity is a concept that has been explored and debated by philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists for centuries. It is a complex and multi-layered idea that encompasses both our individual sense of self and our communal ties to a specific group or culture. As we navigate through life, our Haitian identity is a constant thread that connects us to our roots. But have we ever paused to truly unpack and appreciate the intricacies of what it means to be Haitian? Let’s delve into the depths of our identity and discover the key elements that define us as a unique and proud people. First and foremost, being Haitian is more than just being born in the motherland. It is a feeling, a mindset, and a way of life. It is a sense of resilience and strength that runs through our veins, passed down from our ancestors who fought and died for our freedom. It is a pride in our history and culture, from our vibrant art and music to our rich blend of African, French, and indigenous influences. But what truly constitutes our Haitian identity? Is it our shared experiences, language, and traditions? Is it our love for pikliz and griot? Is it our unwavering faith in the face of adversity? The truth is, there is no single answer. Our identity as Haitians is shaped by a combination of factors, unique to each individual. For some, being Haitian means growing up in Haiti, surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of the island. It means walking barefoot on the hot, dusty roads, sipping fresh coconut water from a street vendor, and dancing to Kompa music at family gatherings. It means having a deep understanding and connection to the land, carrying the memories of our homeland with us wherever we go. However, for others, being Haitian may entail leaving the country at a young age and growing up in a different culture. It may involve integrating into a new country, learning a different language, and adapting to new customs. These experiences do not diminish one’s Haitian identity. In fact, they add layers to our identity, offering us a unique perspective and a deeper understanding of the world. Yet, a question arises: can we, as Haitians, lose our identity over time? As we immerse ourselves in new cultures and environments, do we risk diluting or even forgetting our Haitian roots? The answer is no. Our identity as Haitians is not something that can be lost or taken away from us. It is deeply ingrained in our being, reflected in every aspect of our lives – from the way we speak, to the foods we eat, and the memories we hold dear. It shapes how we view the world and the values we hold close to our hearts. While we may adapt and assimilate to new cultures, our Haitian identity remains a strong and unbreakable bond between ourselves and our culture. It is our foundation and our guiding force, regardless of where life may take us. In exploring our identity as Haitians, it is also crucial to consider the perspectives and definitions of those outside of our community. As a Caribbean nation, we are often grouped together with other countries in the region, yet we possess our own unique history, culture, and identity. It is vital for us to educate others about our Haitian identity and resist allowing them to define us based on their limited perceptions. Likewise, we must take the time to learn about the identities of others, breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions. Through understanding and acceptance, we can celebrate our diversity and learn from each other. As Haitians, we have a rich heritage of oral tradition and storytelling, with proverbs passed down through generations holding deep wisdom and truths about our identity. Some may be familiar, such as “Dèyè mòn gen mòn,” meaning “Behind the mountains, there are more mountains,” speaking to our resilience in overcoming challenges. Lesser-known proverbs also hold significant meaning. “Kreyòl pa gen ajenou,” translates to “Creole has no kneeling,” signifying our unyielding pride and strength, even in the face of adversity. Our identity as Haitians is a complex and multifaceted concept, continuously evolving. It serves as a source of strength, resilience, and pride, reminding us of the sacrifices of our ancestors and urging us to continue the fight for a better future. Regardless of our knowledge of our history, our Haitian identity remains steadfast. We are fighters, born with a spirit that cannot be tamed. Regardless of where life may lead us, our Haitian identity is something to cherish, nurture, and fiercely protect. It is a precious gift that we must pass down to future generations, ensuring that our Haitian identity continues to shine bright and guide us through any challenge that may arise.

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Edgehill battle back to sink Newlands in District Cup semi-final thriller

Edgehill started very well on the front foot and took an early lead, Joel Ramm free-kick floated into the top corner over keeper Brad Rowley from an angle. Fifteen minutes in and it was the same combination – but this time Ramm from 25 yards put his laces through the pull, the swerve deceived Rowley to make it 2-0. Against the run of play the excellent Terry Day scored a quick fire double, finding space and smashing home from distance. Billy Logan restored the lead from close range to make it 3-2 at half-time. Second half Edgehill pressed on to get the game won however Newlands man of the match Day had other ideas, the frontman picked a ball out of the air and rattled a stunning shot into the top corner from 30 yards. With 10 minutes remaining Newlands took the lead, Day won a header and Tristan Mustoe lifted the ball over the advancing Edgehill keeper. ]With time running out holders Edgehill were looking for a chance and it came from the penalty spot, Ryan Colling fouled Joe Danby and well travelled striker Sean Exley smashed home. Thirty seconds later Logan found space to drill the ball past Rowley and the comeback was complete. Edgehill man of the match went to Kieran and Ryan Link who played days after their Dad Simon passed away. Edgehill boss Alec Coulson said: “Our deepest condolences to Ange, Kieran and Ryan plus the rest of the Link family, we had a minutes silence before the game in tribute to Simon who came regularly to watch his lads play for Edgehill and I’m so glad we got the result for him.” Newby claimed a 2-0 win against AFC Eastfield in the Frank White Trophy semi-final to earn a 5-4 win on aggregate. After a goalless first half, Ashton Peterson put the villagers ahead with a cool finish. Newby piled on the pressure, the Eastfield keeper making some superb saves, but Lucas Cooper was played through by man of the match Peterson, cut inside and smashed home for a late 2-0 win.

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RFK Jr.’s Campaign Prepares for a Pivotal Moment

More Must-Reads From TIME Biden’s Campaign Is In Trouble. Will the Turnaround Plan Work? Why We’re Spending So Much Money Now The Financial Influencers Women Actually Want to Listen To Breaker Sunny Choi Is Heading to Paris The UAE Is on a Mission to Become an AI Power Why TV Can’t Stop Making Silly Shows About Lady Journalists The Case for Wearing Shoes in the House Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time Write to Vera Bergengruen at vera.bergengruen@time.com

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Building Affordable Homes Out of Plastic Waste

More Must-Reads From TIME Biden’s Campaign Is In Trouble. Will the Turnaround Plan Work? Why We’re Spending So Much Money Now The Financial Influencers Women Actually Want to Listen To Breaker Sunny Choi Is Heading to Paris The UAE Is on a Mission to Become an AI Power Why TV Can’t Stop Making Silly Shows About Lady Journalists The Case for Wearing Shoes in the House Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time Contact us at letters@time.com

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US TB trial delivering oral vaccine to wild deer

The United States Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services (USDA-WS) is evaluating the ability to deliver an oral bovine tuberculosis (TB) vaccine to wild deer by deploying vaccine delivery units through Michigan. The vaccine trial began in late February and will continue into next month at 12 to 15 selected sites in part of Alpena. The units, consisting of alfalfa and molasses cubes containing an edible sphere with the liquid vaccine, are being placed systematically in crop fields where deer are frequently spotted, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The vaccines contain encapsulated liquid bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG), a weakened strain of Mycobacterium bovis. According to the DNR, BCG has been used for over 100 years to protect children from TB and is one of the most widely used vaccines in people around the world. These vaccine delivery units remain in place for up to two days, during which the sites are monitored, followed by the retrieval of any vaccines not consumed by the deer. TB trial results Several weeks after the units are placed, the USDA-WS will harvest deer from the trial area under permits issued by the DNR. Samples will then be submitted for analyses by the State of Michigan and USDA. The DNR stated that it will not allow vaccination of deer beyond the scope of this trial until broader-scale testing of deer for the vaccine becomes practical. There are no physical markers identifying deer that have ingested the vaccine, according to the DNR. Work conducted with penned deer prior to the trial has shown that BCG was not found in deer muscle tissue at any time it was tested, including 12 months after oral vaccination. In these studies, BCG was only detected in lymphoid tissue and intestinal organs. It is unknown exactly how long a deer would be protected, but a single vaccination would not last a deer’s lifetime. Protection in deer has been shown to last four months, however, it hasn’t been tested past that point. The DNR confirmed that vaccination sites are not near homes or yards and that unconsumed vaccine delivery units will be recovered.

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Heather Roth’s Cotton Candy Cart Spins Gourmet Flavors While You Watch

When Heather Roth’s daughter, Margaret, asked to have cotton candy at her seventh birthday party instead of cake, she knew she had to make it happen. “I had to figure out how the hell I was going to make cotton candy,” she says. “That’s basically how Rosie Cheeks and the whole concept of the cart started — by being an experience for her and her friends.” Roth’s brand-new business, Rosie Cheeks Cotton Candy, offers gourmet cotton candy, spun live for party guests or events across the St. Louis area from a (very cute) cart. Roth offers unique flavors such as Aztec chocolate, chile mango, lemonade or peach. You can even add glitter. She says she was inspired by her work as a wedding photographer. “I see how much people love experiences, whether it’s somebody making margaritas right there on the spot, or seeing how excited people get with tableside guacamole. You know what I mean? Like, it’s really fun to just add something like this to sparkle at an event.” We recently caught up with the cotton candy entrepreneur to learn more about her unusual flavor offerings — and whether there’s such a thing as too much cotton candy. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. What’s your earliest memory involving cotton candy? It was definitely during circuses I grew up with like Barnum & Bailey. I don’t know how much they do it anymore, but that’s where I grew up and had cotton candy. It was always the prepackaged things that were pink and blue. How much trial and error went into fine-tuning your flavors? It’s been a whole year, and I’m still learning. It takes me a couple spins to kind of get going. It’s kind of like when you make a pancake and you flip it and it’s not the first one you want to eat. So it’s the same with cotton candy. I’ll start spinning and have to toss that one but my girls are like, “No, we’ll still eat it.” But yeah, it’s fun. Do you still eat it for fun today? Um, yes. I tried chile mango yesterday. I’ve got some ideas for the future I want to do. I just got to take baby steps on everything. But I do want to prepackage some things and so I’ve been testing out the length of time it stays fresh. I ended up eating at least five cans of chile mango. It’s really not for kids, my girls did not like it, but it’s definitely for adults. It was a good one.

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Tech Exec’s Interest in Lindbergh School Board Raises Concerns

The conservative outrage express is barreling hard toward the school board governing the Lindbergh School District, courtesy of a political action committee run by Martin Bennet, a Des Peres man who is the regional manager of an Internet services company that markets to schools. Direct mail flyers began appearing in the mailboxes of Lindbergh voters last week that were paid for by the St. Louis County Family Association Political Action Committee, which Bennett launched in January. The flyers promote the candidacies of David Randelman and David Kirschner, who are among the four candidates vying for the two seats on the eight-member board at stake in the April 2 election. Randelman and Kirschner are running on platforms demanding improved test scores and greater fiscal responsibility. The flyers attack diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, programs supposedly being overseen in the Lindbergh School District. The flyers define DEI as driven by a “huge need to re-educate our white students” and to “make social justice and anti-racism a priority in the district.” The flyers also claim that the district’s “emphasis on equity was not transparent” and that “academic rigor has declined in the district.” The St. Louis County Family Association Political Action Committee has so far raised nearly $20,000 in cash — with $10,000 of that sum coming in cash from Bennet, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records. In addition, Bennet made an $11,279 in-kind contribution to the political action committee, according to the latest MEC report. Bennet is the regional manager for Common Goal Systems, of Elmhurst, Illinois, an Internet learning company that markets a wide range of services to public and private schools. The SLCF PAC has so far spent $6,122 on direct mail, plus $1,939.74 each on the candidacies of Randelman and Kirschner — by far the biggest donations each man has reported receiving, MEC reports show. In addition, Bennet has made $900 in in-kind contributions to Randelman and Kirschner, MEC records show. Megan Fennell, the mother of two Lindbergh students, raised concerns about the divisive tone of the flyers. But her biggest issue is the potential financial conflict of interest involving Bennet, his company and any business dealings CGS might bring before the Lindbergh School Board. “The financial gain is my concern,” Fennell said of Bennet. “That a corporation is trying to buy seats on the board.” Fennell said she’s tried to contact Bennet, Randelman and Kirschner to express her concerns, but none of the three men responded to her questions, she said. “The silence is pretty aggressive,” she said. “Something’s up, but I don’t know what it is.” Bennet declined to answer a reporter’s list of emailed questions. “We are pretty tied up for several weeks due to the election, business schedules, and personal events,” Bennet responded by email. “But, thank you for reaching out and we appreciate our area’s journalists!” The SLCF PAC is connected to St. Louis County Family Association, a nonprofit group led by Bennet that has attacked DEI programs across St. Louis County, with a special emphasis on the Kirkwood, Ladue, Mehlville, Rockwood, Lindbergh, Parkway and Webster Groves school districts. The latter three districts were the sites of candidate forums the group sponsored last year. The Family Association’s website is a veritable theme park of right-wing culture war issues, with topics including “Gender and Political Indoctrination” and the “Sexualization of Children.” Bennet also started the group Tax Fairly, which fought against a 2020 Kirkwood School District bond issue. Bennet, in his email, suggested that the RFT review a series of websites his organization has set up dealing with the alleged academic decline in Lindbergh and other school districts and informing parents about “changes to gender.” Randelman and Kirschner also declined to answer the RFT’s questions. “Thank you for reaching out to me,” wrote Randelman, 45, an IT professional. “At this time I am extremely busy as we are in the last two weeks of the campaign and work. Perhaps we can catch up after the election, if it is still relevant?” Kirschner, 62, a retired oil company researcher and former Saint Louis University geology professor, wrote in an email that “I am somewhat surprised that the River Front Times is seeking to write an article so late in the election process…Given my focus on being elected, I will make myself available to you after the election, but not before.” The other two Lindbergh School Board candidates — Rachel Braaf Koehler and Megan Vedder — have raised $2,737 and $1,994, respectively. Koehler and Vedder have received endorsements from the Lindbergh branch of the National Education Association. Andrew Tolch, a Lindbergh parent who lives in Randelman’s neighborhood, says it “seems a little sketchy” that Bennet would use a political action committee he had set up to support the school board candidacies “of a different school district from where he’s at. That’s definitely one concern.” But Tolch’s primary concern is Bennet’s potential financial stake in the April 2 election’s outcome. “If your biggest donor is trying to sell your school district resources,” Tolch said, “we got a conflict of interest there.”

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Living in Peebles makes people proud, survey discovers

The exercise had two aims – to gather local opinion and to raise the profile of PCC. The results presented in printed charts were handed out at its recent meeting. Last month’s 1.5 hour survey by five interviewers in two locations, the High Street and Tesco, asked 99 people who stopped to take two questions. Question one asked: “What three things do you like about living in Peebles?” and question two asked: “What three things do you think could be improved?” The top three responses to question one were: Natural environment (countryside/parks) – 73 people, 26 per cent; sense of community/friendly people – 64, 22 per cent; and thriving High Street/independent shops and traders – 47, 16 per cent. Answers to question two were more evenly spread but the top three responses were: State of roads/potholes – 31, 12 percent; development (infrastructure has not kept pace with housebuilding) – 24, 9.4 per cent; and parking (insufficient/unenforced) – 21, 8.2 per cent. During last Thursday’s meeting one member joked that now the Scottish Borders councillors have seen the survey, “they can digest it and get it sorted”.

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