Power Summit Speakers May 5-6, 2023
His leadership ability has been demonstrated through over two decades of service in the United States Armed Forces (Army) ultimately serving as a Platoon Sergeant (Sergeant First Class) training and leading troops in peace and combat theater, which earned him several recognitions, accommodations, and medals. During his service he discovered his passion for Food Science and Culinary Arts, and pursued a Nutrition/Culinary Arts education at Central Texas College, represented the Army internationally competitions, and received Gold medals and Best in Show. One of his centerpieces is still on display in the Army Quartermaster Museum in Fort Lee Virginia. Upon completion of his military contract, Mr. Cadet continued his service to the country as a Reservist and served as appointee to the position of Trainer for his entire Battalion.
In his civilian life he became a Catering Chef responsible for special events at Down State Medical Center (Down State) in New York City. Down State is where he witnessed gross unacceptable behaviors from management towards vulnerable workers, which catapulted his drive to cease the injustices of his peers. He had to right them being wronged, and challenged the employer as he joined employees in their struggles and organized them into proper self representation and unionization with 1199SEIU. Leaving union leadership overly impressed they asked him to join their rank to organize the Ditmas Park Care Center (formerly known as Flatbush Manor) another troublesome workplace, where his presence led to 1199SEIU's victory and ended a 7 year battle in just few months.
His noted philanthropy, acts of civil disobedience and protest are all historical. From the sweatshops in New York City's China Town, to Rockbottom Pharmacy, to the murders of Amadu Dialo and Patrick Dorismond, and the brutal beating of Abner Louima, he has led with others and stood strongly on the side of fairness and justice. Today one cannot differentiate the Union person from the community person in Mr. Cadet. In his tenor he has led many contract negotiations which substantially improved the quality of life of 1199SEIU's members and their families, providing leadership from New York to Florida on all fronts. Leading him to his current and long standing position as Vice President at Large with 1199SEIU.
His passion for politics has been an integral part of his public persona. Since 1992 Mr. Cadet has been part of every National and Local election. He pioneered the now recognized need of politicians seeking the Haitian American vote as a group activity; and demanded they presented on Haitian radio stations to speak to the needs of the Haitian Communities. He has insurmountably successfully created coalitions that empowered and supported candidates that ran on platforms of the causes of the people, and they have won their elections.
Raised by his Grandmother whom fought for the rights of the poor, he was indelibly ingrained with a social conscience. He has bought together community leaders, politicians, professionals, and workers to have respect delivered to their causes as one voice. When Cipha Sounds of Hot 97 disrespected Haitian Women, Mr. Cadet, was a member of the powerful 1804 Coalition that forced the radio station to play Haitian history on the sound waves for months, in addition to formal and informal public apologies from both the station and the DJ. Being a loving father to his five daughters (Grandfather to three grandsons and two granddaughters) he needed little motivation to demand respect for them, and stand by them in their fight for justice.
His humility doesn't allow him to stand in front of a microphone, but rather is his brilliance forces him to lead from behind, which brings his passions and the best out of others.
After 3decades of service to the Members of 1199 SEIU, Mr Cadet retired from his Union, but not from his lifetime commitement to his community.
Living by the credo, to whom much is given, much is expected.
MARIE LILY CERAT
A post-colonial scholar and culturally responsive pedagogue, Dr. Cerat’s research examines the effects of the exclusion of Haitian language, culture, and history in the education of Haitian learners. Her research articles have appeared in Rethinking Schools, the Journal of Haitian Studies, and the International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Her book chapter “Tell All the Others Our Story” is included in the Beacon Press upcoming publication: Education Across Borders: Immigration, Race and Identity in the Classroom (February 2022).
In addition to her scholarly activities, Dr. Cerat has a long history of organizing within the New York Haitian community. She is the co-founder of Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, which was established in 1992 to provide ESL and adult literacy instruction to Haitian immigrants and refugees. Today, the organization also offers leadership training to help community members develop the necessary skills to advocate on their own behalf for civil, educational, social, labor/economic, and immigrant justice.
GEORGES EUGENE FOURON
rODNEYSE BICHOTTE HERMELYN
She is currently the New York State Assembly Majority Whip, Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and serves on the following committees: Housing, Government Operations, Education, Governmental Operations, Health, Higher Education, Housing, and Ways and Means.She also sits on Governor Hochul's Domestic Violence Advisory Council and Mayor Adams’ MWBE Task Force.
Born and raised in Flatbush Brooklyn as a daughter of Haitian immigrants, heir to Haiti’s Slave abolitionist Jean Jacques Desssaline, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the first Haitian American woman elected in New York City; the first Engineer elected to the New York State Legislature; and the first woman to chair the Democratic County Party in Brooklyn.
Since Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn became a legislator in 2015, she has introduced over 200 pieces of Legislation, 34 of which became law, and has co-sponsored over 250 others.
As an Assemblymember and District Leader, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn has been an outspoken and ardent advocate on issues concerning her Assembly District and all New Yorkers, including (but not limited to) immigration, education, economic development, unemployment, education reform, healthcare access, senior citizen centers, affordable housing, school safety, women’s and LGBTQ rights, as well as other issues affecting the quality of life in the community.
As the Chair of the MWBE Subcommittee, Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn has been instrumental in the passage of laws she sponsored to help MWBEs thrive and succeed. Just some of the Assemblymember's sponsored MWBE-related bills signed into law in 2022 include legislation to: prevent fraud and abuse within the MWBE Program (A9259); allow businesses to use MWBE Development and Lending Program funds to refinance existing debts (A6420); and doubling the discretionary spend threshold on state contracts to $1M without a need for competitive bidding (A10459).
As a new mother to a healthy baby boy, who previously lost a son in 2016 after being turned away from a hospital in a high-risk situation, Bichotte Hermelyn is committed to ending the maternal healthcare crisis and addressing maternal mortality disparities disproportionately affecting Black and minority women. The Assemblymember sponsored The Jonah Bichotte Cowan Law (named after her late son), which establishes requirements for treatment when a mother comes to a hospital with concerns about being in pre-term labor. She is currently sponsoring/co-sponsoring several bills to ensure all women receive the high-quality maternal healthcare they deserve, including Mickie’s Law (A10659) which would ensure mothers who encounter fetal deaths get treatment and remove a dead fetus, especially in the event of an emergency.
In 2022, some legislative highlights on those fronts included her introducing and co-sponsoring Sedrick’s Law (A7016), a bill passed into law to require the MTA to maintain cameras on our train platforms; sponsoring the enacted Carlos’ Law, which prevents unscrupulous construction firms from taking advantage of the working-class, especially immigrant workers, by increasing the penalties for criminal corporate liability for the death or serious physical injury of an employee, a felony or misdemeanor, by a fine of up to $500,000 while expanding the definition and protections of “employees” (A4947B).
Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn also introduced several international civil rights resolutions. A crowning achievement of her first term and a dream come true has been the establishment of the Haitian Studies Institute, at Brooklyn College, making it a historic win for the state of New York.
In 2018, Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn debuted on CNN addressing former President Trump’s disparaging remarks about Haitians and Africans. Working with community organizations and fellow elected officials, Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn helped established the Little Haiti Cultural and Business District in Flatbush, Brooklyn and the unveiling of a street co-naming of Rogers Avenue to Jean-Jacques Dessalines Blvd and rededication of the co-naming of Nostrand Avenue at Newkirk Avenue to Toussaint L’Ouverture Blvd. She recently funded and re-named an MTA station to Little Haiti Newkirk Ave. Train Station. She also introduced a resolution to exclaim May as Haitian Heritage Month.
She earned and holds an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, a BS in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Buffalo, a BS in Mathematics in Secondary Education, and a BT in Electrical Engineering both from Buffalo State College. She is an alumnus of the famed performing arts school, LaGuardia School of Music and Performing Arts. She is attending Brooklyn Law School as a juris doctorate candidate and is expected to receive her law degree in 2024.
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn lives in Brooklyn where she is happily married to her husband Edu Hermelyn and enjoying motherhood with their son Daniel Jean Jacques Hermelyn.
ELSIE HECTOR HERNANDEZ
Since the media is concentrating too much on the negative side of Haiti because they are always saying that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but they never tell us why. They never really highlight anything else, she decided that instead of concentrating on poverty, she would concentrate on the beauty and other positive aspects of Haiti. Elsie currently lives in Chicago’s South Side, which is home to the largest concentration of Haitian Chicagoans in the city.
LIONEL JEAN-BAPTISTE, JUDGE
In March of 2011, he became the first Haitian-American to be sworn in as a Cook County Circuit judge. Beyond his career, “Jean-Baptiste has always maintained his activism,” the application continued. His service in support of Haiti included “a seven-year internationalcampaign to amend the Haitian Constitution to secure dual citizenship for all Haitians born, anywhere in the world, to a Haitian mother or a Haitian father,” she noted. He is dedicated to mobilizing Haitians in the Diaspora, helping our brothers and sisters develop the nationEvanston City Council members approved on Dec. 13, 2021 an honorary street name, a portion of McDaniel Avenue between Crain Street and Dempster Street as “Honorable Lionel Jean-Baptiste Way, for Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste, recognizinghis contributions as the City’s first Haitian-American alderman, as well as the early light he shined on the issue of reparations.
Director Jiha holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the New School for Social Research and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fordham University.
Since organizing the rally, which had more than 150,000 people participate, Ms. Joseph hasn’t looked back with her activism. Despite being a teen mom who was only able to attend college because of a full tuition scholarship, Ms. Joseph spent her twenties raising her children while organizing protests against police brutality and cuts to student transit discounts, even while working a full-time job. Since then, she hasn’t stopped working for her neighbors, both as a teacher at PS6 and as a community activist. Among many other successes, Ms. Joseph was able to provide for her school financially, securing hundreds of thousands of dollars for technological improvements that help thousands of children receive a better education, including funding from then-Borough President Eric Adams, Senator Kevin Parker, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, and then-Council Member Matthieu Eugene. Additionally, Ms. Joseph was appointed by State Senator Kevin Parker to serve as Chair of the Neighborhood Advisory Board and has been a part of the Citywide Participatory Budgeting Committee, thanks to an appointment by then-Council Speaker Corey Johnson. Council Member Joseph is focused on improving public schools, fighting for affordable housing, combatting the climate crisis, and achieving real criminal and social justice reform for New Yorkers.