|©gambit New Orleans|
By Missy Wilkinson
Wadner Pierre, 28
Photojournalist/Author/Advocate for Haiti
Like many other journalism students at Loyola University, Wadner Pierre writes for the student newspaper The Maroon, does volunteer work, maintains a blog (www.wadnerpierre.blogspot.com) and hangs out with neighbors in his adopted hometown of New Orleans, where he's lived since 2009. But driving these activities is a singular mission to which Pierre, a native of Gonaives, Haiti, has dedicated his life.
"I became a photojournalist because you can use your communication skills to be the voice of your community," Pierre says. "I want to be the voice of my people in Haiti."
A contributor to Haiti Liberte, a Brooklyn-based Haitian newspaper, Pierre won an award from Project Censored in 2007 for his writings on poverty, human rights and injustice in Haiti. He has worked at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and the What If? Foundation, and served on the United Nations Special Mission to Haiti.
"The ongoing situation in Haiti is not the result of the earthquake, and it's not the result of the past 20 years," Pierre says. "It's because of the exclusion of Haiti in the international community for more than 200 years.
"I lived with the poverty; I have been obligated to be a part of it, and I was lucky to get a chance to move to the U.S.," he says. "My people are always in the center of my heart. Sometimes it's dark, but God and the love I have for my people helps me. I will always be able to talk and write and be a voice for my country." — Wilkinson