Reflecting on Haiti, Harlem, and History

Reflecting on Haiti, Harlem, and History

Who is Jesica Lindor?

Who am I? Ki es mwen ye? Qui suis-je? I am Jesica Lindor. I was born to Haitian immigrants and raised by a single mother in Harlem, a neighborhood rich with history and ethnic diversity. I received my Bachelors of Liberal Arts in Philosophy from Hamilton College and am pursuing a Masters in Special Education from Hunter College.

I currently work as a middle school special education teacher at Coney Island Prep through Teach for America. As a product of New York City public schools, I often felt as though the chances of success seemed like winning the lottery. I became a teacher because I believe that education was not about luck, but access to opportunities.

What are your dreams? What is the one dream that you will make happen, no matter what? Why and how?

I dream of crossing off all of the things that are on my bucket list! I am a very ambitious person, who hates having regrets. I hope to hold myself accountable for accomplishing everything that I endeavor to do.

Teaching abroad is a dream that I will make happen no matter what! It will allow me to combine my various passions: teaching, traveling, and learning languages. I wish to teach in France, Spain, or Argentina. I fell in love with Paris, France when I studied abroad as an undergraduate student. Since then, I’ve always wanted to go back.  I’d like to teach in Spain on Argentina because I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish. Learning Spanish is on my bucket list as well!

Tell us about your definition of success and why you think that’s the best definition of success; who does it apply to, do you embody it? Who embodies it? Who/what inspires you to be successful?

Success does not mean material wealth; rather, it is a lifestyle. Success means putting your all into whatever you do. It means constantly finding the strength to overcome obstacles. It also means staying focused in order to achieve an end goal. I find these types of successful people around me everyday: they are the janitors who work long hours in order to afford their children’s education; they are also the parents who work relentless to develop children of character and promise.

Not only does my mother embody my definition of success, she also continues to aspire me to be successful. As a child I witnessed the daily struggles that accompanied a single- parent who lacked a decent education. People often doubted her competence because she did not speak fluent English or have a college degree. Although her struggles enrage me, they also remind me that education affords me greater life choices.

Reflecting on Haiti, Harlem, and History

Reflecting on Haiti, Harlem, and History

How do you define physical beauty in a woman and a man? How do you define inner beauty? Which is more important or do you think they’re both equally important?

Physical beauty is something that one exudes. It is in a man or woman who has confidence. Inner beauty are the traits and random facts about a person that make him or her unique. Inner beauty is definitely more important to me. I guy who is drop-dead gorgeous is worthless to me if I can’t have an intellectual conversation with him. Inner beauty definitely makes a person more personable.

If you stood in front of the top ten most influential people of the world, what would you tell them?

If I stood in front of the most influential people in the world, I’d tell them that they must always give back. Behind every successful person are countless people who helped him or her to get to where he or she is. We need world leaders who genuinely care about their communities. We need leaders who do not need an incentive to help others.

If you stood in front of the entire African diaspora, women, men, elders and youngsters, and you had one piece of advice to give, what would it be?

If I stood in front of the entire African Diaspora and could give one piece of advice I’d tell them not to allow their ethnic or geographic differences to divide them or cause animosity. Growing up, some blacks felt compelled to prove that they were better than another group of blacks. For example, some black Americans believed they were superior to Africans or West Indians. This animosity prevented friendships from forming and prevented people from having the opportunity to learn from one another.

What needs work in our community?

Educating the youth is still something that needs work in my community. It’s maddening that many people in my community, and other low-income communities, still lack access to quality education. There are many problems that exist in my community. How ought we to fix them if our schools do not give our youngsters the opportunity to develop into problem solvers, critical thinkers, or self-advocates?

The book you would recommend to all Tamaji/50 Shades of Black readers? Why?  

If I could recommend a book to Tamaji readers, I’d recommend We Real Cool by bell hooks. This book discusses black men and masculinity in American society. I love that hooks challenges us to allow for a more flexible perception of black masculinity! I’ve recommended this book to all of my friends.

50 Shades of Black announces partnership with Tamaji Magazine

50 Shades of Black announces partnership with Tamaji Magazine

50 Shades of Black is proud to partner with Tamaji Magazine to bring you this new series of personal profiles.  ”50 Shades of Black | Africa” is a weekly column curated by Tamaji’s founder Aminata Diop.  The column features personal interviews with African-born men and women living throughout the Diaspora whose voices reflect a unique African perspective.  Be sure to tune in next week!

Posted on March 5, 2013 and filed under blog, tamaji, personal stories.