Miramar hosted its fourth annual Haitian Heritage Celebration May 17, featuring various works of art focused on the island nation and its people.
Guests at the Miramar Cultural Center tried traditional food, listened to Caribbean music and checked out the paintings and photographs created by local artists.
Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, Commissioner Darline B. Riggs and Haiti Consul General Stéphane Gilles said the free event was their way of supporting and celebrating the culture.
“My heart lies within this community – the Miramar community, the Haitian community. That is the honest truth for me,” said Riggs, the city’s first Haitian-American commissioner, told the audience.
Commissioner Maxwell B. Chambers, who was born in Jamaica, said the Haitian community were the first people to take him in when he moved to Florida.
“This means a lot to show that we have come a long way and to celebrate the Haitian Heritage Month,” he said.
Guests ate pikliz, a Haitian pickled vegetable relish as well as Haitian grilled chicken at a buffet.
Isaie “Zeek” Mathias had some of his artwork displayed at the event. He said his photographs presented Haitians in a positive light – smiling and simply enjoying life.
“I’m very proud that the city of Miramar would give me the opportunity to expose a different narrative of what you constantly hear in the news,” he said.
After the reception, guests who reserved tickets prior to the event watched a concert featuring Jean Caze, a Haitian jazz artist from Queens, New York.
Haitian-American Michaelle Ducles said the event made her proud of her heritage.
“It’s awesome to know that other people are helping us celebrate this month,” she said. “To know that we can celebrate [being Haitian], we can enjoy it, we can embrace it, it feels so good.”