Letter from the HLN (English Version)

Dear HLN Sisters,

On July 23,  we lost a dear sister, a well-known and widely respected member of the Haitian diaspora.  Professor Racine, to the students she taught during her decades-long tenure at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), “Maye” to her relatives and friends, Mom to her daughter Mikaele and to her son, the Honorable Karl A. Racine, Mrs. Racine passed away peacefully on July 23rd in Philadelphia.  She was surrounded by her loved ones as she has always been during her long illness.

For years, Professor Racine was an iconic and towering figure, not only in the Washington DC area where she lived and worked, but also in many other states such as New York and Florida and overseas,  particularly in Haiti and in Canada.  Professor Racine was an activist who marched for civil rights in the US; she marched against the dictatorship in Haiti; she worked tirelessly for the rights of Haitians and other refugees and for all oppressed people; Professor Racine co-founded or chaired several non-profit organisations, most notably the Haitian Refugee Project, the Washington Office on Haïti, Friends of Haïti, Fonkoze, the Lambi Fund of Haïti, and most recently the Akademi Kreyòl Ayisyen.  Marie-Marcelle “Maye” authored a book about Haitian Women titled “Like the Dew that Waters the Grass: Words from Haitian Women” and published numerous articles on different subjects.  Professor Racine participated in numerous conferences the world over; she belonged in literary and cultural clubs; she was also a passionate book and arts collector.

Those who had the immense privilege of knowing Professor Racine admired her intelligence, her classy demeanor, her humility and humanism, her willingness to help wherever she could, her outstanding knowledge-transfer skills, her boundless energy that only a series of strokes could slow down. 

Professor Racine was preceded in death by her husband Etzer and is survived by her son, the Honorable Karl A. Racine, DC’s Attorney General, her daughter Mikaele, her husband and children, her beloved sister France Buteau and thousands of friends and acquaintances.

We, at HLN, salute this “*mapou*” we were privileged to have known.  Please join us in saluting her memory.  Whether you knew our sister Maye or not, when you read this note please observe 30 seconds of silence followed by loud applause to thank Professor Racine for her service to family, to country, to community, to her students, and her friends to whom HLN extends our most heartfelt sympathy.

Day is done, Maye.  Thank you, Mèsi anpil and Rest In Peace!

We will not forget you.

Written by Mrs. Gladys Longchamp on behalf of Haitian Ladies Network Steering Committee
Ariel, Karen, Kysseline, Nadine, Nashley, Phara, Rachel, Syncia, Thamar, Theola

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