Haitian Heritage Month + Events
May is Haitian Heritage Month, and there are many celebrations underway this month to celebrate Haitian heritage and culture.
I’m pleased and honored to once again serve as Miami Book Fair’s Read Caribbean Coordinator and Program Director for the 8th annual Little Haiti Book Festival with Sosyete Koukouy, Inc. Each Sunday in May, we’re hosting a series of panel discussions, and ending the month with the popular Taptap Krik? Krak!, a family-geared program full of fun and song.
The first panel discussion on May 9 featured noted author Edwidge Danticat and Rev. Dr. Nathanael Saint Pierre speaking of Haitian Carnival: Art, Culture, and Religion. While it’s not Carnival season right now, the discussion includes ways Haitians weave resistance into the songs they sing during the festivities. The New Tropic featured an essay I wrote about Carnival in Haiti. WSFL-tv featured an article on the Little Haiti Book Festival and its upcoming events, which include panels on Creole and its regional variations and the importance of social media. You can find out more about the panels and activities planned for the month here.
The Palm Beach County Library System is also celebrating Haitian Heritage Month with a series of events this month including a garden talk, a discussion with Edwidge Danticat, a virtual tour of the Haitian American Museum of Chicago, a book club discussion, and Haitian music and storytelling. On May 7 at 11 a.m., I talked to the students about my new book, Empowered Black Girl: Joyful Affirmations and Words of Resilience. The students who registered early for the event received a free copy of the book. You can find out more about the Palm Beach County Library System’s month of activities at their website.
While we’re discussing the topic of Haiti, please continue to encourage Haitian authors and purchase some literary gems—old and new! A brilliant new book, Remembrance, was released a few years ago. Edited by Nadège T. Clitandre, the book looks closely at the earthquake that occurred in Haiti on January 12, 2010, and features remembrances by several notable Haitian authors, myself included. The book looks to honor the horrific loss felt by women after the earthquake, while balancing it with a sense of hope for a better future.
Please also be sure, if you have not already, to check out my book series Badass Black Girl, which addresses issues of concern for Black girls and young women. More information on this seminal title can be found below.
Whatever you have planned for May, there is time in the month and plenty of opportunity to celebrate Haitian culture!
A creator of safe spaces, and an initiator of difficult conversations, M.J. Fievre, B.S. Ed, spent much time building up her Black students, helping them feel comfortable in their skin, and affirming their identities. Her close relationships with parents and students led her to look more closely at how we can balance protecting our child’s innocence with preparing them for the realities of Black life. When―and how―do you approach racism with your children? How do you protect their physical and mental health while also preparing them for a country full of systemic racism? She began to research the issue and speak to school counselors and psychologists to find (and apply!) strategies parents and teachers can use with their children to broach uncomfortable but necessary topics.
M.J. is the author of Badass Black Girl, a daily dose of affirmations for Black Girls.
“You'll come away from Badass Black Girl feeling as if you've known the author your entire life, and it's a rare feat for any writer.” ―“Mike, the Poet,” author of Dear Woman and The Boyfriend Book
#1 Gift Idea in Teen & Young Adult Cultural Heritage Biographies, Publishers Weekly Select Title for Young Readers.
Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.
Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you will confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss.
Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help you nurture creativity, positive self-awareness and Black girl bliss. This journal honors the strength and spirit of Black girls.
Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek to inspire and ignite discussion. You are growing up in a world that tries to tell you how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages you to fight the flow and determine for yourself who you want to be.
Badass Black Girl helps you to:
Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations
Learn more about yourself through insightful journaling
Become comfortable and confident in your authentic self