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LOCAL TRAINER USES FAITH WITH FITNESS

GOSPEL FITNESS: Ernie Tabuteau created Tabu Fitness to help people in his community learn to
embrace a healthy lifestyle while also learning about the Gospel.

MIAMI – As a kid, Ernie Tabuteau rarely saw people working out in his neighborhood. The Haitian-American grew up in North Miami and said “maintaining a healthy lifestyle was not typically discussed. It was not unusual, however, to hear about diseases.”

Fast forward to his graduation from the University of South Florida, after which Tabuteau’s dream was to reach as many people about a healthy lifestyle. Unsure of how to approach it, Tabuteau went to God in prayer.

The result is Tabu Fitness, a Christian-based business that not only encourages people to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle but also focuses on spreading the Gospel. As a certified trainer, Tabuteau promotes family fitness via a kid’s fitness class during the evening session to keep parents from worrying about babysitting while they’re working out. The kid’s fitness aspect has opened doors to help the kids excel in all sports.

Unlike other fitness organizations that offer the same diet regiment and the mundane workout plans, Tabuteau said, “his program is uniquely different.”

Tabu Fitness helps clients to heal the mind, which is where true change begins. Secondly, it builds the individual’s confidence; important before they can even think of losing weight while being encouraged by the Gospel. And, for people who are looking for a cost-effective way to get fit, the company offers affordable large group classes.

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March to protest suspension of TPS and DACA

On April 20, immigrant activists will march from Grand Army Plaza over the Brooklyn Bridge to Times Square in a “Days of Outrage” demonstration, pushing back against this government’s brutal policies toward immigrants — particularly from Africa, Haiti and Latin America.

Demanding permanent residency for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals holders, and the stopping of racial profiling in immigration enforcement, the “April 20 Coalition” brings together immigrant organizations from the African, Haitian, and Latin American communities.

TPS for El Salvadorans terminates Sept. 9, 2018, affecting more than 200,000, and for Haitians, TPS terminates in July 22, 2019, affecting about 60, 000. The Washington Post reported that nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants have taken advantage of the deferred deportation program President Barack Obama created in 2012.

At the announcement of the demonstration at City Hall last week, Margaret Tropnas recalled marching with other Haitians over the Brooklyn Bridge, “I remember when were on the bridge, it shook,” she said. “The magnitude of that march was incredible.”

Twenty-eight years ago on April 20, the Brooklyn Bridge trembled under the feet of 100,000 marchers protesting the Center for Disease Control (CDC) designation that Haitians, were high-risk for HIV and as a nationality could not give blood—with others that came to be known as the 4-Hs along with homosexuals, hemophiliacs, and heroin addicts. As a result of this remarkable demonstration, CDC removed that designation the following year. “This is a reminder of what can be done with unity,” Tropnas said.

Gerard Cadet, V.P. 1199 SEIU United Heath Care Workers East, spoke at the press conference. “Since the 2017 coronation of that number 45 (referring to the president), we have experienced a time that reflects all the bad memories of the past…. We are talking about the events leading to the holocaust in Germany, from 1933 until 1945.”

He went on to list previous erosion of civil rights, atrocities, and moral evils perpetrated in the United States: slavery, Japanese internment camps, Bull Connors (Alabama politician opposed to civil rights movement), reconstruction (after the civil war), the rise of KKK, and McCarthyism (use of false accusations).

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte also draws strength from that historic protest, “We are coming together as a community with DACA and TPS no longer being renewed — not just Haitians but Latinos, the Black immigrant community and all those affected by this administra­tion.” She said how these are tax payers who add value to the United States and that “this administration wants to rip them apart.”

“We’re tired of hearing insulting comments against people from countries of color,” she added. “We’re marching over the Brooklyn Bridge to let the world know that we’re going to continue to fight and demand immigration reform.”

Always speaking out for human rights, Public Advocate Leticia James emphasized, “We must denounce those who preach hate, including the president of the United States. We have to say it loud that all immigrants are welcome in this country.”

Organizers hope that all immigrant rights activists along with the Haitian community will support with their feet another epic march assembling from 8-9 am on April 20, 2018 — this time protesting the removal of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) and the non-renewal of DACA.

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Utah Symphony find classical musical talent in Haiti

SALT LAKE CITY — When a group of musicians from the Utah Symphony took off recently for a week in the Caribbean, they weren’t going there to hang out on a beach.

They went so they could put their musical skills to work helping young people in a downtrodden place. In one of the world’s poorest nations, they found something uplifting: pride, joy and musical talent.

“I think Haiti has a rich cultural history,” said concertmaster Madeline Adkins, one of 17 Utah Symphony musicians who recently put on a weeklong workshop in Cap-Haitien. One hundred young instrumentalists from towns and villages scattered across Haiti attended the free workshop held Sunday, March 25 to Friday, March 30.

In developed countries like the U.S., if someone aspires to play music at a professional level, there are many opportunities for lessons and advanced training. But in a poor country — especially earthquake-and-hurricane-ravaged Haiti — kids are lucky to get any high-level training at all.

“Music education in Haiti goes to a certain point, but it certainly doesn’t go to the university-conservatory level,” symphony cellist John Eckstein said in an interview at Abravanel Hall.

A couple of years ago, Eckstein recognized that he and his fellow musicians had the skills to provide the high-level training that Haiti needs. He organized the Utah Symphony’s first workshop in Haiti in 2017. On this year’s second trip, the Utah musicians were joined by several players from the Cleveland Orchestra.

Although their average age is around 22, many of the Haitian musicians are already teachers themselves. The visiting professionals from the United States found that many of the workshop attendees had considerable musical skills.

“It’s really impressive actually,” Adkins said. “A lot of them may have had lessons but some of them, a lot of things they’ve learned off the internet.”

She noted the contrast with aspiring musicians in the U.S.

“We’re so privileged to have lessons, many of us from childhood. And so (in Haiti) their dedication and determination is really inspiring.”

During the five-day workshop, American musicians conducted some individual lessons, but much of the teaching was in larger “sectional” rehearsals for each instrumental section of the orchestra. The climax of the workshop was a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in a free public concert conducted by Thierry Fischer, music director of the Utah Symphony.

“This is wonderful to have some professional people who work with us,” said John Carly Fils Menard, a young Haitian bass player who attended the workshop. “It’s an opportunity, it’s a gift, because here in Haiti … most of our schools don’t have teachers.”

Although the Utah musicians didn’t have much time to tour Haiti or to observe its poorest areas, they were well aware that many musicians at the workshop probably came from families with big challenges.

“I don’t see them in their everyday lives, but I know that it’s a struggle,” Eckstein said. “And so the fact that they have gotten where they’ve gotten is pretty remarkable.”

The Utah musicians donated their time and money to the trip, and they raised funds to pay for each student’s transportation, room and board for the workshop. They also handed out 20 musical instruments in Haiti that were donated by Utah Symphony supporters.

And they brought home a sense that their visit had done some good in Haiti.

“They treasure their arts there, it’s such a sense of pride and the joy that they bring to that,” Adkins said. “We get just as much out of it as they do. I think it’s really inspiring for us.”

Eckstein said Utah Symphony players are already planning to go back next year. Future goals, he said, might include the creation of a youth orchestra or perhaps a Haitian national orchestra.

“And we hope,” Eckstein said, “it leads to individual lives being, you know, bettered.”

 

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