Haitian American leaders throughout Miami-Dade County lend their support to Penelas citing a long trajectory of proven experience and collaboration with the community.
The Alex Penelas for Miami-Dade County Mayor 2020 campaign announced that Penelas has garnered the support of prominent Haitian American leaders from across Miami-Dade County. These endorsements are the latest addition to a growing list of more than 40 current and former elected officials and leaders, who have endorsed Penelas for mayor since he launched his campaign last year.
“I am proud to have the support of many Haitian American community leaders and elected officials in Miami-Dade, and I look forward to working with them hand-in-hand to address the unique challenges our community faces,” said former Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas. “As we work to move the County forward, it is imperative that all members of the community have representation and are part of the process. Our integral and culturally rich Haitian American community is key to achieving that.”
Endorsements from elected and community leaders include:
- Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime, City of North Miami
- Vice Mayor Alix Désulme, City of North Miami
- Councilwoman Mary Estimé-Irvin, City of North Miami
- Commissioner Paule Villard, City of North Miami Beach
- Dr. Emeline Alexis-Schulz
- Dr. Larry Pierre, founder and executive director of the Center for Haitian Studies
- Dr. Jean-Philippe Austin
- Maggie Austin
“Now more than ever, Miami-Dade County needs a tried and true leader to help us overcome the many challenges we will continue facing due to the coronavirus pandemic, particularly the ravaging impact on our small businesses,” said City of North Miami Councilwoman Mary Estimé-Irvin. “Alex Penelas has been able to lead our community through many great challenges in the past, and I have no doubt that he is the leader we need now to help our County emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.”
Penelas has long been a champion of the Haitian American community in Miami-Dade County. Most notably, he led the effort to ensure equitable access for the community across the County’s agencies, including the implementation of Creole signage at Miami International Airport, as well as requiring all County documents be made available in Creole with the goal of eliciting higher levels of participation from Haitian citizens in County government.
“One of the aspects that made my experience under Alex’s tenure as mayor so special was to see how much he cared about celebrating Miami-Dade’s diversity and ensuring representation from all corners of the County in his administration,” said Doctor Emeline Alexis- Schulz. Much of the platform that the Haitian American community has today is due to the programs, events, and initiatives Alex put forth to raise us up and give us visibility at a time when we had none. In today’s seemingly divided world, that type of leadership is needed more than ever.”
During his tenure, Penelas also made providing more economic opportunity for the community a significant focus of his work, which included creating the first Haitian chamber of commerce in Miami-Dade, an effort that has helped to spur small business growth over the years and has yielded job placement opportunities for the community.
Much of the Haitian cultural vibrance and presence we see today throughout Miami-Dade was promoted through Penelas’ leadership. In 2000, he launched the County’s annual Haitian Cultural Heritage Month celebration which kicks off every year on May 1. Today, municipalities and cultural centers from all over Miami-Dade participate in and host a variety of activities in honor and celebration of Haitian arts, music, and history, as well as Haitian American contributions to the community.
“In these trying and unprecedented times, building bridges within our community will be paramount to overcoming the adversities that lie ahead. Recovery will require solutions that are driven by inclusiveness, opportunity, and a long-term vision that ensures every person, family and business can emerge from this health crisis more resilient than ever before. Alex Penelas has delivered for our community time and time again. He has guided our County through many crises, and I am confident that he is the best candidate to lead us into a brighter future for Miami-Dade County.”
– Commissioner Paule Villard, City of North Miami Beach
“From day one, Alex has shown true leadership and commitment to doing what is best for all people in our community. As we face the uncertainty of what is to come in the aftermath of COVID-19, it is critical that we have a Miami-Dade County mayor who can navigate the challenges ahead with bold vision, moral courage, and a track record of proven leadership. I believe Alex Penelas is that person.”
– Dr. Larry Pierre, founder and executive director of the Center for Haitian Studies