Today we’d like to introduce you to Junior Bernadin.
Junior, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I come from a family of Haitian immigrants that went to the USA searching for a better life. They worked minimum wage jobs but served as a phenomenal example of what it means to have a work ethic. Coming from limited means implies that I had to learn to be resourceful in my day to day activities. I knew what it meant for my parents to move almost every other year because the rent went up. I also have vivid memories of walking 1.5 miles to go grocery shopping every Saturday under the Miami noon sun because we didn’t have a car available to us. I learned the art of starting fires outdoors to boil water because our utilities were disconnected. I learned what it meant to smile in the face of adversity. I learned that I was black while I was in college because growing up in Miami, Haitians were not always accepted by the black community because we were immigrants from an impoverished country. This scenario would include experiences like “Haitian Day,” a day where you could be assaulted because you were of Haitian descent. We weren’t considered black; we were Haitian.
As I reflected on my life, I also knew what it meant to be spiritually sound at a young age due to the many religious and spiritual beliefs prevalent in my culture. I embraced life’s lessons and understood that I had a different walk from most. I was raised to in a manner that I would always know how to survive but would have to learn what it means to live as an adult. I have learned to use my experiences as a foundation to remind me of who I am.
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