We Are Elmont Founder and Public Allies New York (’14) alum, Karl Valere, featured in a recent interview:

“Let us not shrink and allow anybody even our own selves to make us feel small. Get big. Dream big. Do good.”

PUBLIC ALLIES

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When Karl Valere was growing up on Long Island, he remembers hearing a lot of anti-Haitian sentiment expressed on TV and across the world. His parents, who were born and raised in Haiti, would say to him: “We’re not what they say we are. We’re more than that. We have dignity. We respect ourselves and this country, and we love living in this country. That’s who we are. That’s why we’re here.”

Despite his parents’ encouragement, when he was about 7 years old, Karl admits that when someone would ask him about his background, he sometimes responded by saying he was Cuban. “I actually sort of bent under the pressure of the stigma that was associated with Haitians,” Karl says. “For me, that was a survival tactic.”

Today, Karl is not only proud of his Haitian heritage, but the 26-year-old young man has committed himself to fighting for Haitian and other Caribbean communities in New York. Karl graduated from Public Allies New York’s…

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