Three women holding placards to show support to First Lady Martine Moïse and wish rest in peace to Jovenel Moïse during a Peace Vigil Memorial at Little Haiti Cultural Center. Photo credit: Mackendy Image

As First Lady Martine Moïse returned to Haiti Saturday for President Jovenel Moïse’s funeral, she drew the admiration of many women, particularly those across the Haitian-American community. They watched the widow descend the private airplane, wearing all-black and a bulletproof vest, with a mix of empathy and respect.

“The only thing I saw was resiliency and strength,” said Linda Joseph, 44, of Miami, about the video of Moïse, whose right arm was in a sling, arriving at Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-an-Prince.

“She needs to be there for her husband’s funeral and she is there,” Joseph added. “Not anybody can do that. The fact that she’s a Haitian woman, I knew that’s what she would’ve done.”

Linda Joseph speaking at a Circle of Prayer for First Lady Martine Moïse in front of Jackson Memorial Hospital on July 16, 2021. Photo credit: Gregory F. Reed

Scores of Haitian-American women also took to social media to commend the widow.

Since the July 7 assassination, President Moïse’s body has been transported to Robeants Funeral Home in Cap-Haitien, where his state funeral is scheduled to take place July 23. Cap-Haitien is Haiti’s second largest city and the closest to President Moïse place of birth in Trou-du-Nord and previous workplace in Port-de-Paix.

As Moïse arrived to continue funeral arrangements, she was greeted by interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph and other officials. 

On Friday, a day before Moïse flew to Haiti, Haitian women in Miami held a prayer circle for her in front of Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she had received treatment after being shot in the attack that killed her husband. 

Linda Joseph, the Miami woman, was among the participants of that vigil and said a video of the prayer circle was sent to Moïse.

“We just wanted her to know that we were there for her,” Joseph said. “She’s our sister, she’s our aunt, she’s our mother. She’s us and we are her.”

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Onz Chery is a Haiti correspondent for The Haitian Times. Chery started his journalism career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He later wrote for First Touch, local soccer leagues in New York and Elite Sports New York before joining The Haitian Times in 2019.

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