school in Haiti,
Institution Pédagogique Provision Divine is one of the many schools in Port-au-Prince that kept its doors closed on the second day of school on Oct. 4, 2022. Photo by Marvens Compere for The Haitian Times

My mother, like most immigrants to the United States decades ago, worked in a factory doing a menial job. As a teenager, I sometimes visited her at Luxury Braids, a garment factory that made embroideries for clothes, shoes and other items. I remember the place humming with loud fans and the dust from the sisal flowing through the air. Most of the workers wore masks and gloves along the assembly line. 

Each visit, I couldn’t wait to get out of the dank and dusty place to breathe some fresh air. 

“If you don’t go to school, this is where you’ll end up,” my mom would often tell me, as a motivator to excel in school. 

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Garry Pierre-Pierre

Garry Pierre-Pierre is a Pulitzer-prize winning, multimedia and entrepreneurial journalist. In 1999, he left the New York Times to launch the Haitian Times, a New York-based English-language publication serving the Haitian Diaspora. He is also the co-founder of the City University Graduate School of Journalism‘s Center for Community and Ethnic Media and a senior producer at CUNY TV.