Diaspora

Powerful Haitian women: Karine Jean-Pierre, the first Black person … – caribbeannationalweekly.com

Karine Jean-Pierre is a French American political advisor and has served as the White House press secretary since May 13, 2022. She is the first Black person to be White House press secretary. She previously served as the deputy press secretary to her predecessor Jen Psaki from 2021 to 2022, and as the chief of staff for U.S. vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris during the 2020 presidential campaign
Jean-Pierre was born August 13, 1974, in Fort-de-France, Martinique, France, the daughter of Haitian parents. She has two younger siblings. When she was five, her family relocated into the Queens Village neighborhood of Queens, New York City. Her mother worked as a home health aide and was active in her Pentecostal church, while her father was a taxi driver, who had trained as an engineer. Jean-Pierre was often responsible for caring for her siblings (eight and ten years younger), because both parents worked six or seven days per week.
In her memoir, Jean-Pierre describes how seeing former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan give a keynote speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention altered the direction of her life and career: “She was the first Black woman in politics I had ever witnessed. In a world of pretty, pearl-wearing charmers, Jordan was substantive and authentic.”
Jean-Pierre graduated from Kellenberg Memorial High School, a college-preparatory school on Long Island in 1993. Her parents wanted her to study medicine, and she studied life sciences at the New York Institute of Technology as a commuter student but performed poorly on the Medical College Admission Test. Changing career tracks, she obtained a Bachelor of Science from the New York Institute of Technology in 1997. She earned a Master of Public Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in 2003, where she served in student government and decided to pursue politics
Prior to her work with Kamala Harris during the 2020 election and with the Biden–Harris administration, Jean-Pierre was the senior advisor and national spokeswoman for the progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org. She was also previously a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and a lecturer in international and public affairs at Columbia University.
During the Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign, Jean-Pierre was the campaign’s southeast regional political director and was the regional political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Obama administration’s first term, and National Deputy Battleground States Director for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign
Jean-Pierre lives in the Washington, D.C. with her partner CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, and their daughter. Her book, Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America, was published in 2019.
 
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