Hi everyone! My name is Smerlene Mata.  

I have been residing in Brooklyn, NY for my whole life. Growing up I was a bit shy, which is why immersing myself in an arts high school is what helped me come out my shell. Attending Brooklyn Arts, I was able to be involved with various fundraising events for musicals and even got cast in four plays. I am currently attending John Jay College with a major in criminology and minor in law. I love the college experience because it has helped me grow mentally and independently. After college, I have aspirations of becoming a family or criminal defense lawyer. I believe that I am good at getting my point across and persuading someone to trust my opinions. What interests me the most besides law is spreading awareness about certain untouched topics as well as getting to the root of why they aren’t being advocated enough. This is why I am really excited about joining Haiti Cultural Exchange! I feel that I have enough experience to help HCX promote their cultural message while learning incredible things along the way. 

Due to the pandemic, I have had difficulties getting myself involved in advocacy projects I truly care about. Initially, I was excited about my placement with HCX because I wanted to enhance my writing skills. After learning more about the program, I am now hoping to become invested in raising awareness about social issues and maintaining Haitian cultural appreciation through the arts. I am also thrilled to make change by showcasing many new artists and meeting incredible new people along the way. I can’t wait to see where this program can take me!