Did your parents pass on ancestral wisdom that played a role or suggests your spirituality?
I, Thamar Theodore, am Haitian-American. My parents were born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Colonized by the French, Haiti is a melting pot of African, French and Spanish influence. Haitians may speak French and/or Haitian-Creole. My parents were both educated in a country where they had to pay to go to school which was not a privilege for everyone. My mother, Ludy, a cosmetologist. My father, Wykenson, a musician, artist, and public figure. I was raised like a Haitian child in America. What I ate, how I thought, and even how I communicated was different from the “American” way. My Mom never wanted me to sleepover my friends' houses. She told me stories about bad spirits possessing people and paranormal activity she’s witnessed or was told. My protection was vital to her and therefore led to my Christian upbringing. I personally work on removing the stigmas that all Haitians practice voodoo for bad intentions. My parents appreciated various forms of art, especially music. I grew up in a musical household which is a reflection of nourishing their souls through cultural beliefs.
Our progress with discrimination is still deflated because white supremacy shifted more weight on oppression, taking credit for black success. have you experienced this blatant theft?
Taking credit for Black success and discrimination was never a new concept. This country has a way of constantly trying to re-write black history in ways to erase the past successes. Yes, President Obama was the first Black president but was never the first Black presidential candidate. Before Kylie Jenner was rocking cornrows, my ancestors were rocking cornrows as far back as 500 BC which signified religion, status, age, and ethnicity. Our culture is glorified, but there is an attempt to erase our history or overshadow it. My ethnic background and gender has been toyed with various times but understanding my past only makes my existence, authentic and significant. My ancestors had to shift culture to survive and the torch has been passed to me to do the same.
How long was the process of sponsoring your mom? What where the hurdles and hindrances?
I assisted my mother in her citizenship process for about six months which she attempted to do countless times on her own. She had once spent hundreds of dollars on paperwork to find out that the money order was never received and application papers were never processed. My mother had dealt with many disappointments fighting to get her papers in this country. Without citizenship, she had issues finding work and seeking resources to get aid as a single parent. I am proud to say that this past year, she finally acquired her residency after about 26 years of being in this country. For anyone to survive that long in this country astounds me which her circumstances. I call her an OG hustler.
Have you noticed a shift or popularity in using the term minority vs person of color?
I have noticed the shift to be politically correct and use minority over person of color which dehumanizes either way. Now I have a question: How am I a minority when I am part of the majority of the human race, “a person of color”? And for the record, color includes white too.
Have you visited your homeland? what do you know about Haiti’s history with weak efforts to address their long-standing human rights problems?
Haiti has a curse over it that has been constantly perpetuated. Being the first Black independent country has led Haiti to be punished and progression has yet to take place. My parents’ home has been written off as the poorest country, unsafe and full of turmoil when ironically so much of the opposite does exist there. The media demonizes that country which I believe is intentional and strategic. My existence is breaking that curse.
I have not been able to visit Haiti just yet, but I do feel compelled to assist in reconstructing Haiti on a systematic level. There are political issues that make Haiti vulnerable. My mother is saddened by the changes her country has endured and I believe she does want to help rebuild it. Getting her citizenship was for upward mobility and opportunity. She does not see herself living in Haiti again for the rest of her life but possibly for a limited time.
There are many funds that never reach Haiti due to people choosing to use this money for selfish greed. I refuse to send money and only resources unless I am personally helping an individual or family. The stakes that the money does not go where it belongs are too high. Haiti’s political issues have led to many loop holes where the problem is patched but never fixed. Here’s why:
“Already the vultures circle, using this tragedy as another opportunity to take advantage or worse, to engage in the pornography of suffering black bodies,” Willah wrote. “Now is not the time for tears, hand-wringing, there are lots of organizations that are quietly doing good work in Haiti that does not line the pockets of multinational aid corporations, or continue to fatten the Port au Prince elite.”
Any recommendations on where to give our money to?
Here are a few sources that are aiding Haiti’s recovery: Gaskov Clerge Foundation, Foundation Aquin Solidarite, and The Three Little Flowers Center. Find out more information from this source link above.
Thank you Women.Weed.Wifi for a platform to tell my story. I cried, reminisced, and was born again from this interview. To all the ladies in the place whose past is great. Thank you.