Celebrating Haitian and Dominican heritage in Brooklyn

From left: Venny Etienne, fashion designer and CEO of Levenity Collection, LLC, Alba Mota, community and cultural activist, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Wendy Garcia, deputy commissioner, New York City Council Member, Farah N. Louis, Max Agenda Santos from the Aventura Band and Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Public Sector Leader and Chairperson of Haitian Roundtable (HRT).
From left: Venny Etienne, fashion designer and CEO of Levenity Collection, LLC, Alba Mota, community and cultural activist, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Wendy Garcia, deputy commissioner, New York City Council Member, Farah N. Louis, Max Agenda Santos from the Aventura Band and Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Public Sector Leader and Chairperson of Haitian Roundtable (HRT).
Photo by Orlande Fleury

Last week, with a Caribbean light refreshment consisted of Haitian and Dominican food, New York City Council Member, Farah N. Louis and Brooklyn Borough President, Antonio Reynoso partnered in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
“It is amazing and beautiful to see the diaspora coming together in unity and love,” stated several attendees.
Reynoso, Louis, and other elected officials presented “Quisqueya”: A Celebration of Haitian and Dominican Heritage. The ceremony took place on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the Brooklyn Borough Hall, located at 179 Livingston St., Brooklyn, NY 11201.

The guests celebrated the land of Hispaniola and underlined the historical similarities between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Quisqueya was the original name of the island given by the Taínos who were the indigenous people of the land before the European invasion. As a result of European colonialism, the original name was changed  and the land was later divided. Quisqueya, (“mother of all lands” in the Taíno language), refers to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

A sample of treats at the Hispanic Heritage Month event in Brooklyn.
A sample of treats at the Hispanic Heritage Month event in Brooklyn. Photo by Orlande Fleury

Reynoso was born in Brooklyn to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic and Louis, whose parents migrated from Haiti, was also born in Brooklyn. These two political officials wanted to empower the diaspora and mobilized the diplomatic officials, cultural activists, artists, and creatives within both communities. Although, there have been several horror stories regarding the inhumane treatment of the Haitian people living in the Dominican Republic, these two elected officials wanted to bring both communities together and celebrate their greatness and achievements.

Mercedes Narcisse, (left) New York City Council Member representing Brooklyn's 46th District and Rita Joseph, member of New York City Council for 40th District.
Mercedes Narcisse, (left) New York City Council Member representing Brooklyn’s 46th District and Rita Joseph, member of New York City Council for 40th District. Photo by Orlande Fleury

The invitation reads, “Every October, we pause to remember our forefathers and vast legacy of contributions to American society and culture. As descendants of Quisqueya, (“mother of all lands” in the Taíno language), we wanted to join forces to help cultivate new partnerships that will not only empower the diaspora but propel our dual-nation island forward.”

The honorees are: Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, public sector leader and chairperson of Haitian Roundtable (HRT), Alba Mota, community and cultural activist, Venny Etienne, fashion designer and CEO of Levenity Collection, LLC, Max Agenda Santos from the Aventura Band, and Wendy Garcia, deputy commissioner, Equity and Inclusion for the New York City Police Department.

Hispanic Heritage Month provides an opportunity for the community to applaud its pioneers and community leaders who are the future of our generation.

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