Ms. Similien-Johnson fondly remembers the first time she visited her grandmother as a child in Haiti. She said, "Growing up, the media's portrayal of Haiti did not align with what I had seen as a child. It's still a beautiful country despite its current struggles. This book is my way of paying homage to my grandmother and revealing the captivating charm and beauty of Haiti."
Ms. Similien-Johnson met Dominican Artist Paola Velez nearly seven years ago at a church in midtown Manhattan. Several years later, they reconnected, particularly after the news of hundreds of Haitians who resided in the Dominican Republic faced threats of deportation.
They decided to collaborate on this project to show that there’s beauty and power when two different cultures come together for the common good. Ms. Velez said, "Art and literature can impact and change how the world views minorities." Ms. Similien-Johnson agreed, and added, "The intersection of literature and art can empower men, women, and children to think and act courageously on how they can make a difference in their own communities and the rest of the world."
A graduate of Barnard College-Columbia University, Ms. Similien-Johnson is a recent recipient of the Caribbean Life Impact Award, which celebrates Caribbean and Caribbean-Americans who are leaders in their industries and communities, and whose efforts make New York and the Caribbean community a better place.
“Haiti Is” is now available on Amazon.com. The Book Reading and Signing will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2017 in Brooklyn, NY. For more information, and to RSVP, visit HaitiIsBook.eventbrite.com.