May Is Haitian Heritage Month — and Our United Way Is Launching a New Initiative!

Our Creole Initiative Empowers the Haitian Community to Live Healthy

Haitian Heritage Month is a nationally recognized in the month of May, and this commemoration offers a unique, festive opportunity for us to enjoy the rich culture, distinctive art and delicious food as well as learn the vibrant, joyful traditions of Haiti and its people.

The U.S. includes a large Haitian population, and around 50% of Haitians in our country live in Florida. Broward County has a vibrant Haitian community — home to 120,000 Haitian-Americans and the largest community in all of Florida.

United Way of Broward County wants to make sure our impact includes supporting and advancing the well-being of our Haitian-American neighbors, and our Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention is an essential way we promote mental health wellness and prevent substance use among our entire community.

Our United Way’s Commission supports recovery and treatment, but the primary focus of our teams is prevention. To us, prevention is protection, and united, we are saving lives. To fulfill our vision of a better, healthier Broward for every person in our community, we created CIAT (Creole Initiative Action Team)-Inyon Lakay — an initiative designed to bring awareness to and empower the Haitian community to live safe, healthy and drug-free.

CIAT-Inyon Lakay includes all sectors across our community — parents, young people, educators, medical professionals, media, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, business leaders, hospitals, schools, judges, policymakers, partner agencies, community, advocates and individuals with lived experiences.

The goals of CIAT-Inyon Lakay include:

  • facilitating conversations to promote well-being
  • encouraging collaboration and partnerships among all stakeholders
  • ensuring our entire community is engaged and working effectively to provide critical resources and facts to people in need
  • fostering a stigma-free environment around mental health and substance-use disorders

CIAT-Inyon Lakay is currently planning its first event— Leve Pi Wo (Pase) Stigma, Rising Above Stigma. This free, Creole-speaking event will be held July 24 from 9 am to 3 pm (location to be determined), and it will include speakers, panels of discussions, educational resources as well as a range of celebratory activities, such as live music, food, prizes and more.

Plus our CIAT-Inyon Lakay hosts recurring meetings on the last Thursday of every month from 2 pm to 4 pm on Zoom.

For more information on how you can get connected to the CIAT-Inyon Lakay, contact Frantz Millien, lead prevention specialist at United Way of Broward County, by emailing him at [email protected] or calling 954-852-2236.

We hope you join us in creating a better Broward for everyone who lives here — and Happy Haitian Heritage Month!