This story also features in Le Floridien
This is not the kind of news expected during Haitian Heritage Month. That Sandy Dorsainvil, manager of the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, would be leaving the art and community center during the celebrations.
Sandy Dorsainvil announced on Friday May 26 that she was parting ways with Little Haiti Cultural Complex during a farewell ceremony at LHCC. The shocking news broke first on social media (Facebook, WhatsApp, etc) where Dorsainvil dropped a few days before the farewell event a digital flyer promoting a double event: the 7th anniversary of naming of Little Haiti and the opening of the art exhibit Bèl Fanm: The Beauty of Strength. In the same flyer was added, “We are also bidding farewell to Sandy Dorsainvil, LHCC Manger. Come join us as we celebrate her and her years of service to Little Haiti.”
This last part attracted more attention. That came as a shock since most people didn’t expect it.
People were asking why she was leaving suddenly, or if Sounds of Little Haiti (SOLH), the monthly music event Sandy launched in 2016 after Big Night of Little Haiti stopped, would survive her departure.
Sandy did not respond openly to online requests on social media. It seems like she was saving her words for the farewell event.
To those asking her directly what happened, she responded that “after 9 years at the cultural center, it was time to move on”, without giving more details.
About the Sounds of Little Haiti, Sandy said that the music event will not leave with her. “SOLH won’t go anywhere, it belongs to the community”.
“The work will not stop because I’m leaving”, will say Sandy Dorsainvil later when addressing the crowd of friends, journalists and community leaders who came to the event.
Sandy urged the crowd to continue to support the work at Little Haiti Cultural Complex and the Mache Ayisyen. “Continue to support and advocate for this space. It’s the advocacy we’re lacking right now”.
Sandy said she grew up in Little Haiti and started to work there at the age of 16 until she became the art complex manager.
Dorsainvil started working at the LHCC on September 11, 2013, as the complex’s Marketing and Special Events Coordinator. In 2014, she became its Managing Director.
“I love the work that I did at Little Haiti Cultural Complex, it’s been a labor of love.”
The LHCC Manager said she noticed that the neighborhood was evolving and more open to the world, but that she wanted everyone to be able to enjoy it.
Reassuring the community, Dorsainvil announced that she will not leave Little Haiti.
“I’m evolving, going on to new things but you’ll see me around. I’m addicted to little Haiti,”, she said.
“We are addicted to Sandy, ” will then say Gepsie Metellus, Santa La Executive Director, who opened the mic for everyone in the audience to “write a love letter to Sandy”.
Many members of the community paid a heartfelt tribute to Mrs. Dorsainvil, saying how they appreciate the work she did at the center.
Thanks for giving artists an opportunity, said someone in the assistance.
Muralist Serge Toussaint announced he’ll paint a mural of Dorsainvil in Little Haiti.
Carl Juste, son of Viter Juste, the man who named Little Haiti, said that Sandy has kept his father’s legacy alive.
It was supposed to be a celebration but it’s always tough for a farewell to be joyful.
One of the employees of LHCC said off the record that it was heartbreaking to see her boss go.
No replacement has been announced yet by the city of Miami.