By Alex Popa
Meredith Dubourg is a Haitian American healthcare worker with unique entrepreneurship goals. Her parents are originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but came to the States to build a better life for their family. Meredith was born in Brooklyn but relocated two more times throughout her life. Currently, she lives in Orlando, Florida, where she’s also working and building her business.
Living in the US as a bilingual child with a Haitian background has led to some awkward experiences for Meredith. She recounts being the butt of hurtful jokes during childhood. After moving to Florida, she often felt invalidated for not “looking Haitian.” But these experiences have only made her appreciate her heritage more. She told us she’s now aware of all the misconceptions people have about Haitians. She hopes to raise people’s cultural awareness about Haiti for a change.
Her Experience as a Haitian in the US
Meredith is appreciative of her life and opportunities in the US. However, she recounts how it wasn’t always easy finding her place here. People aren’t very knowledgeable about Haiti’s history and culture. Back when she was a child living in New York, it was even worse. She often felt misunderstood or out of place. Luckily, things are beginning to change. Meredith remains hopeful and wants to contribute to shifting social attitudes by educating others.
Experiencing mistreatment and learning about the unfair history of Haiti contributed to Meredith’s compassionate worldview. She knows what it’s like to be judged based on unfounded stereotypes. She explained: “I love being Haitian, and I recognize that it’s not only our people struggling. We all are. We don’t know what other countries go through and only see what the media displays. I try not to form opinions on any country or culture without doing my research.”
The Importance of Cultural Awareness
Meredith recognizes the positive impact of cultural awareness. It helps us all become more accepting and fair-minded toward other people. Acceptance and fair treatment are very important. Unfair assumptions often strip Haitians of opportunities they might have otherwise rightfully earned. She added, “A lot of people don’t know why our country is in the state it is. Knowledge is the best thing we can give someone.”
She’s trying to pass on the message about Haiti and urges other Haitians to do the same. She explains that “the world looks down on us without knowing the whole story. This keeps us all back, and it needs to change. I’m not ashamed of being Haitian. I know my history, and I’m proud of Haiti’s resolve and bravery.” She hopes her efforts and those of other Haitians will make the world a more accepting place for her people.
Meredith currently works for United Healthcare, helping people finance their healthcare costs, but she wants to build a business around her passion for Haiti and other cultures. She dreams of opening a travel company. She wants to offer people the opportunity to experience the world’s beauty in the most authentic way. She added: “Many people think traveling is beyond their monetary means. I want to help regular, everyday people travel and have a great experience for an accessible price!” She thinks her budgeting experience has armed her with the knowledge she needs to make her dream business a reality.