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25166: Hermantin (News)Cable show aims to introduce region to the new generation of Hai (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <email@example.com>
Posted on Sun, May. 22, 2005
BROWARD TV | HAITIAN PERSPECTIVE
Beacon of a new era
Cable show aims to introduce region to the new generation of Haitians
BY DARRAN SIMON
Growing up in Brooklyn, Edna LaRoche was always proud of her Haitian roots.
A former journalist who now lives in Pembroke Pines, she was troubled that
the perception of Haitian Americans as ''boat people'' seemed more prevalent
in South Florida.
''Obviously everyone would like to come over on a plane and be born into
this life of privilege,'' said LaRoche, host and producer of a new cable TV
show profiling successful Haitian Americans. ``It is not a reality for
everyone to be born into a life of privilege. You take what you are handed
and you run with it.''
LaRoche's show, The New Haitian Generation, will debut on the Broward
Education Communications Network, or BECON, on June 13 and run three times a
week, said Anne O'Connell, BECON's public relations and fundraising
The ''boat people'' perception doesn't apply to all, she said. Besides,
LaRoche added, what's important is what you do with your life when you get
to the United States.
''They need to know that there are doctors, lawyers, teachers,
entertainers,'' said LaRoche, 44. ``We are out there.''
LaRoche has never done a television program. She did theater in high school
and college in New York and felt comfortable on camera. She also worked in
advertising and for New York Magazine.
She taped the first show last year for the school district network. Two
tapings are scheduled for Friday.
It will be broadcast in English, instead of Creole or French, so others can
''It's really geared toward everyone,'' said LaRoche, a native New Yorker.
``I am inviting other nationalities to get to know us better.''
South Florida has several magazines, radio and television programs
showcasing some of the more than 160,000 Haitian Americans in Broward and
Miami-Dade counties. Haitian Americans are moving into more professional
careers, and asserting their political clout.
Ronald Surin, a local attorney, said there is always room for shows like
''I think anything that generates media coverage, whether it is radio,
newspaper or television, that portrays the Haitian community in a positive
light, is welcome and much needed,'' said Surin, who was born and raised in
LaRoche's allegiance to her culture was cultivated in the Brooklyn
brownstone she grew up in, the only child of the late Olivena LaRoche. The
LaRoche brownstone was the first stop for a family who came from Haiti
before they moved out on their own.
A lot of people don't realize that LaRoche is of Haitian descent. When she
worked at New York Magazine, a co-worker was surprised to find out LaRoche
had Haitian roots.
''Edna, I didn't know you were Haitian. I knew you were different,'' the
co-worker said. LaRoche was surprised at the comment. She felt her colleague
had preconceived notions of Haitians. But she didn't feel the need to
''That was his ignorance, not mine,'' said LaRoche who left New York
Magazine in 1990.
She moved to South Florida in 1991 and worked as a reporter and in marketing
in South Florida before pitching the show last year. Friends embraced it.
BECON loved it.
''The most exciting thing about The New Haitian Generation is the chance to
highlight such a wonderful culture that is a big part of the South Florida
community,'' O'Connell said. BECON-TV will produce one show a month,
The guests on the first show were Marvin Dejean, vice president of business
development for Minority Development and Empowerment, and Junia
Jeantilus-Robinson, a community relations specialist and victims advocate
with the Fort Lauderdale Police.
LaRoche is finalizing guests for Friday's taping. Each show has two guests.
A realty company is her lone sponsor. She is searching for more and hopes to
launch the show in other markets. ''We are not all poverty-stricken people
who are just looking for handouts,'' LaRoche said. We are hardworking. We
just want better for our families.''