Tag: Macollvie Jean-Francois

Best of Fi2WImmigration News

Listen to Stories from the Feet in 2 Worlds Documentary

Feet in 2 Worlds, Immigrants in a Global CityFor generations, immigrants who came to the US were forced to make a clean break with home. Today, with cell phones, the Internet, videoconferencing and cheap air fares, many immigrants remain in constant contact with their home countries. For them, the key to survival is not just learning how to live in America, but learning to live in two places at once.

Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes‘Tis) and set in New York’s immigrant neighborhoods, Feet in Two Worlds is an award-winning documentary featuring stories by reporters from the city’s ethnic newspapers, as well as WNYC reporters who regularly cover immigrant communities.

Read the story of how Feet in 2 Worlds got started.

Most of these stories have only been available to readers of small ethnic newspapers. Now public radio listeners have a chance to get an insider’s perspective on immigrant experiences in one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities.

This emotionally charged and sound-rich hour of radio features a soundtrack produced by DJ Rekha, an innovator in the city’s music scene.

Listen to stories from the documentary.

Human Smugglers Turned Kidnappers by Cindy Rodriguez

 

A Polish pharmacy in Brooklyn is an oasis for Poles far from home by Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

 

Videoconferencing keeps an Ecuadorian family together by Cindy Rodriguez

Remittances are an economic lifeline for Haiti by Macollvie Jean-Francois

Gay South Asians in New York City by Arun Venugopal

An African immigrant waiting for asylum by Marianne McCune

The program includes introductory and closing essays by Frank McCourt and pieces reported by:

Macollvie Jean-Francois, reporter, Haitian Times
Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, reporter, Nowy Dziennik (Polish Daily News) 
Marianne McCune, reporter, WNYC, New York Public Radio
Cindy Rodriguez, reporter, WNYC, New York Public Radio
Arun Venugopal, reporter, India Abroad
Producer: John Rudolph
Editor: Karen Frillmann
Technical Director: Wayne Shulmister
Associate Producers: Jocelyn Gonzales and DJ Rekha
Engineers: Rob Christiansen, Curtis Fox, Ed Haber, Jennifer Munson and Rob Weisberg
Project Director: Andrew White, Center for New York City Affairs

Originally broadcast in May 2005, Feet in Two Worlds won two prestigious awards from the Society of Professional Journalists—the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Radio Journalism and the New America Award, “for excellence in collaborative public service journalism during 2005 by ethnic and mainstream news media working together to explore and expose a subject of significance to ethnic or immigrant communities in the United States.”

In conjunction with the release of the Feet in Two Worlds documentary, the Center for New York City Affairs hosted a town hall on May 10, 2005 featuring panel discussions on transnational communities in New York City, excerpts from the documentary and music by DJ Rekha. The event was taped for broadcast on The Brian Lehrer Show and aired the following day, Wednesday, May 11, on WNYC 93.9 FM / AM 820 from 10 am to noon.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.

HaitianImmigration News

Fort Lauderdale: A Haitian American Feels Guilty for Not Being Able to Vote Obama

Wenda Desauguste

Wenda Desauguste outside a polling site in South Florida.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Macollvie Jean-Francois, Sun Sentinel reporter.

Something had to be done with those boys. As their parents voted inside a local church, the boys, about seven of them, ran around the parking lot and in an adjacent lot — impatient.

Wenda Desauguste, 25 and a football coach, stepped up. Within minutes, the boys were on the ground doing push-ups, spinning wheels and other exercises.

Desauguste said she and four other friends came to the church, at North Andrews Avenue and Northeast 13th Street, to vote — some of them for the first time.

“Who are we supporting, guys?” she asked the boys.

“Obama, Obama,” they said, puffing, while they continued with their exercises.

By then, the boys were sweating. The sun had burst through by mid-afternoon, after a temperate morning, and it now beat down on the few voters waiting outside the polling location.

Nelson Garache, 32, and Joseph Beautelus, 48, were also waiting there.

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HaitianImmigration News

Early Voting in North Miami: Long Lines and Lots of Patience

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL., NOV. 2 – By Macollvie Jean-François, Sun Sentinel reporter.

On the day elections officials said would break turnout records, Marie St. Fort stood in line around the corner from a North Miami library, squinting into a harsh afternoon sun. She was about 200th in line, waiting to vote early.

“Oh, I don’t care if it goes into the morning, I’ll stay right here,” St. Fort, 49, said. “I have to vote today. I have so many reasons to vote, I don’t know where to start.”

Like many others who showed up at crunch time, the Haitian-born mother of five said she had to get voting out of the way because she had too many errands to run Sunday —the last day to vote early in Florida— between attending church and other activities. As St. Fort shuffled along over two hours, campaigners came along, making last-ditch attempts to get their way with local amendments and even to give away free candy bars and lollipops. A local Haitian activist stopped by to see if anyone had any problems voting. One woman came bearing a tray of $1 hot dogs individually wrapped in foil.

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HaitianImmigration News

Haitians in South Florida: “Wi Nou Kapab” (Yes, We Can)

Jocelyne Cameau, an Obama supporter, at a Haitians for Obama event in Delray Beach.

Jocelyne Cameau, an Obama supporter, at a Haitians for Obama event in Delray Beach.

This story is by Macollvie Jean-François, a Haitian-American news reporter with the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale.

On a recent Thursday night at a Haitian restaurant near Fort Lauderdale, Karl Heintz held court at a table where he sat with a half dozen other Haitian men. Over a heap of bronzed chicken and mounds of rice and beans, Heintz, a 36-year-old small-business owner, gave a 15-minute synopsis of the presidential race and the candidates that would rival that of any cable news network political analyst. He went from Barack Obama’s 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention to Sarah Palin’s interview with Charles Gibson.

About a week later at the Palm Beach County Civic Center in Delray Beach, about 80 Haitian-Americans assembled for a Haitians for Obama rally. When a few people pulled out checkbooks to donate, Frantz Richard, 54, persuaded them to do it online instead. He keyed in their credit card and other personal information on the laptop right there at the reception area.

Excitement over Obama’s candidacy and disenchantment with the Bush administration have combined to push Heintz, Richard and other Haitians to actively campaign this year. Heintz said he’s not part of any formal groups, but he stays informed, has made nearly $500 in campaign contributions over several months, and he understands how close the election could be. (The 537 votes that cost Gore Florida in 2000 are becoming something close to a mantra, with many people alluding to them in cautionary tones.)

Haitian-American users on Facebook and MySpace, meanwhile, have been circulating information about the candidates for months. 

Within this mostly-Democratic voting bloc, most of the campaign events in South Florida are pro-Obama. Most Haitian-Americans support the Democrat unabashedly, citing his inspiring success in America as a black man with a “hyphenated identity.” His migration experience and his exposure to world cultures resonate with them as immigrants.

On the other hand, efforts supporting the Democratic ticket seem belated and less visible than during previous elections, for a variety of reasons— the online outreach option being one. Four years ago, you couldn’t drive two blocks in the traditional Haitian enclaves without seeing a storefront window plastered with red-white-blue campaign posters. However, quite a few Haitians for Obama groups have emerged since Hillary Clinton’s concession and the DNC. They’re now hosting fundraising events, handing our car stickers, and sporting t-shirts bearing Obama’s face with his “Yes, We Can” slogan in Creole: “Wi, Nou Kapab.”

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