Haitian American Haitian Leaders

Meet Nancy Metayer, The 31-Year-Old Haitian American Woman Running For Mayor

Nancy Metayer
Nancy Metayer

Written by Erica Merasse

When someone can make a difference in their community, we should applaud them. Meet Nancy Metayer who is running for Coral Springs Mayor and ready to make an impactful change. I had the opportunity to interview her and now you all will get to know a little more about her and her want for change in Coral Springs.

Erica Merasse: Tell Me A Little About Your Background/Upbringing

I am a 31-year-old, proud Haitian-American and my parents are both from Haiti. My dad is from Gonaives and my mom is from Port Au Prince. I am a resident of Coral Springs. I went to Elementary and High School here. Later, after high school, I went to attend Florida A&M University in Tallahassee and then after pursued an internship at The White House.

From there I was given the opportunity to come on as an Associate and got into Grad School at John Hopkins. Then from John Hopkins, I went to intern at the Clinton Foundation and an opportunity then came from that. I was able to work for a non-profit organization called Operation Blessings and did that for a while. I then went on to work for another non-profit in Haiti where I helped become a liaison between the Haitian Government and the U.S. Department of Defense.

There was programming that was happening with the U.S. Comfort where they did surgery on a ship. There were primary care physicians do checkups assisting the Haitian people who could not afford to do it on their own, so they U.S. Comfort was able to provide this to them and I was happy to be a part of that program. That was a very fulfilling job for me, I enjoyed it so much. I then came back to Florida to reside in Coral Springs and continued working for non-profits. One of them was the YMCA and I worked as a Community Health Worker, and then I moved on to be a Climate Justice Program Manager for the Florida Majority. In that role, I assisted with disaster resilience efforts and climate change advocacy telling black and brown communities on how the climate change directly impacts them. So, I love my day job and now we are here!

I decided to run for Mayor of Coral Springs because I just saw the opportunity as a way for me to step in so people all across the country can see young people stepping in and I feel like it’s time for new generation of leaders to come in and make a change, and I wanted to be a part of the change. I threw my name in because I believe I am well qualified and believe there needs to be a breath of fresh air.

Erica Merasse: When Did You First Get Into Politics?

My grandmother played a pivotal role in raising us while my parents were working. You know the story; our parents work long hours so they can give us the world so I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. My grandma was very in tune with the news, not only in this country but also in Haiti. She always watched it when she was cooking or doing my hair.

I remember in the 90’s I would always question things like, “Why are these people all leaving Haiti”. And I did not understand why there was so much unrest in the country, and I would hear her talk about Aristide and things like that. I always wanted to hear her perspective on these things. She broke down politics in a very easy way for me. For someone who really did not speak any English, she able to gravitate to what was going on very well. Till this day my grandma calls me and say, “Nancy who are we voting for”? She was not able to vote in any presidential election until 2016. But prior to that year, we would talk about, who would be better for our community.

I remember ever since I was able to vote, we would have these discussions about who and why we are voting for someone. So, she is very pivotal in what I would call my political interest. Another person I would have to give credit to is a judge, his name is Ari Porth. At the time he was running for Florida House of Representatives and I was knocking on doors for him in 10th Grade on his campaign. He was really thankful that I was able to volunteer for him. And then I came on to be his intern when I moved up to Tallahassee, so it was kind of cool to knock on doors for him and then become his intern.

Erica Merasse: Why Did You Want To Run For Mayor?

I say, “Why not”!  I saw the opportunity and I saw that my city needed a leader. I remember when I made this decision on Christmas night, I did my research and I felt like Coral Springs needed a change. I thought the vision of the city needed to be fresh and I told myself that 2019 was going to be the year of risks. And to me, there is no losing in this for me. If I win, then I become the mayor of Coral Springs, and if I lose, I feel like little girls or Haitians can look at me and say, “If she can do, I can do it”! That to me is more important than anything! Just pushing our community to go forward and take that risk because someone is always looking at you.

Erica Merasse: What Is The Role Of A Mayor?

I look forward to working closely with the Commission. So, on the Commission, there are 5 people including the Mayor. I would be running the day-to-day functions of the city and making sure we implement the best policies for the city. The Mayor is the representation of the city. If something was to happen in the city, I would come forward and speak on it. As well as my other colleagues would help push the initiatives of the city and making the city a great place to live.

Erica Merasse: Who Are The People You Are Up Against? And How Does It Feel?

I am currently up against 2 former Mayors and another individual with a marketing background. It makes me feel empowered because I am the only female of color in the race and I am the youngest as of now. The person that has the marketing background is 36 and I’m 31. I can bring forth a lot of change an idea. Again, I’m running against 2 former Mayors where one of them was my Mayor when I was in High School, and so I remember taking pictures with him. To me, I understand it’s going to be a challenge, but it’s one that I’m willing to take.

Erica Merasse: What Are Your Plans As Mayor? What Are The Changes You’d Like To See?

One thing that is near and dear to my heart being that I am an environmentalist, is that I want Coral Springs to be an environmental leader. I want to ensure that our infrastructure can withstand horrible weather like a hurricane. I want us to be doing everything in our power to become more energy-efficient and making sure the community understands how recycling benefits them. I want to ensure that we are a staple when we talk about environmental sustainability. I also would like inclusive economic growth and public safety.

Erica Merasse: What Piece of Advice Would You Give To Someone Who Is Looking To Get More Involved In Their Community?

One piece of advice is, one prepares yourself and knows why you’re running. Understand the city your running in and that you’re doing it for the right reasons. When you become this mayor, commissioner, state rep, make sure that you reach back and grab someone in your community and mentor them and walk them through the process. Me walking through this process is hard enough, and I have amazing friends who are in this world but having someone who could’ve mentored me through the process would have been great.

And lastly you are your biggest supporter and you are your biggest critic. You need to be sure that you support you 110% when everyone else is doubting you because you’re going to pull yourself out when no one else is supporting. This is also such a huge sacrifice and you are going to have to sacrifice a lot of yourself and where you want to be. You’re going to miss birthdays and you may miss parties, but you must make those sacrifices.

Erica Merasse: When Does Voting Begin?

This election is considered a special election. It’s happening March 12, 2019. There is no early voting and you must vote at the prescient on your voter registration card lists. The prescient are open from 7 AM to 7 PM so please make the effort during that time, and if you know you won’t make that time request a vote by mail ballot. It is important to vote, this is what hurts us when we’re like “oh I’ll just vote on election day”. If you know your day is going to be hectic request it in advance and be sure to vote!

Erica Merasse: What Goals Do You Have For 2019?

One of my goals is to continue doing the work in the community, be an advocate for black, brown, Haitian, marginalized, vulnerable communities and be a voice for them. And one is self-care and being sure I take care of myself. Practice meditating on a regular basis, eating healthy, and getting back into the gym because I love to tun and haven’t been able to run in a long time so I would love to start that again.

Erica Merasse: Any Last Words?

A quote I got from a woman was, “If you’re prepared to win, you must be prepared to lose”! Essentially, you’re not only doing this to win, but you’re also doing this to make sure that you pave the way for someone else. If you lose to get in there and try again, don’t give up. I appreciate her telling me that because even if this doesn’t work out for me, I know this doesn’t stop me. I will continue pushing and continue being an advocate, and who knows you’ll probably see me in 2020! I am a proud Haitian-American and I hope this paves the way for other Haitian-Americans to know that anything is possible!

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