Rockland’s Haitian Cultural Heritage Preservation celebrates International Women’s Day

Rockland’s Haitian Cultural Heritage Preservation celebrates International Women’s Day

On Saturday, March 9, the Haitian Cultural Heritage Preservation put on their twelfth annual International Women’s Day celebration. Held live at St. Joseph’s Church in Spring Valley for the second time since the start of COVID-19, the event included speeches from female community leaders and a panel discussion.

While the event is designed for women to come in and out as they please, HCHP’s president of the International Women’s Day committee Berthilde Dufrene projected approximately 300 participants, the same number as last year.

“The theme this year is ‘Inspire Inclusion,’” said Dufrene. “That is what we are celebrating. In 2024, women are still experiencing a lack of inclusion. (The women here today) are being recognized for having the courage to speak up, to defend themselves, and bringing the issues to light.”

Honorees included Keynote Speaker Dr. Akia Blandon, a local chapter of the historically Black sorority Zeta Phi Beta, former rectory secretary Paulette Cadet, Rockland County Clerk Donna Silberman, immigration attorney Gisella Chavez, fashion designer Hope Wade, and the East Ramapo Lady Titans, who were the target of racially targeted slurs at a girls’ basketball game in Scarsdale on February 10.

“These women are selected specifically, either because they have broken a glass ceiling or because they meet this year’s theme of inspiring inclusion,” Dufrene explained.

Entertainment for the day included a Zumba Break with certified Zuma/Strong instructor Liliane Martelly, as well as a presentation from Rayon’s Praise Dance Kids.

The HCHP’s International Women’s Day event concluded with a panel moderated by general dentist Dr. Felicia Nicolas, with speakers including retired nurse practitioner Yrlande Simon, CEO and founder of With Your Nature Wellness & Weight Loss Jill Cruz, artist Judith Morales, financial planner Vedeta Hanley and art gallery owner Myriam Nader Salomon. Topics discussed included embracing equity in finance & wealth, nutrition, art & motivation and financial literacy.

“I think that women, as an integral part of our society, are not celebrated enough,” said Dufrene, when asked why she thinks International Women’s Day is so important. “In this time, we should not still be fighting for the things that we are fighting for, like violence against women, equal pay, gender equality, or just the opportunity to be at the table in conversation. We’re going to continue to grow awareness around that until we feel that we no longer have to keep begging or asking for it.”


HCHP Women’s Day Committee

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