Sherlanda Telusmond, a senior at Florida A&M University majoring in biology pre-med, is on a mission to ensure that her Haitian culture is well represented at her HBCU.
Telusmond, a Broward County native, comes from a strong, close-knit family that is proud of their Haitian culture. Growing up, she was aware that the Haitian community faced discrimination and sometimes violence from people who didn’t understand them, but the foundation that her family set was strong enough to block out the hate and she was able to spread the love for her culture.
Telusmond became a student at FAMU in the fall of 2018 and for her and her family, this was an adjustment.
“With my parents, I was eight hours away from them, so they hated that,” she said. “They hated the fact that they couldn’t see me every day. They hated the fact I came to FAMU without knowing anybody.”
Now her family could not be more proud of her. Her brother, Jeffery Telusmond, a mechanical engineering student at Florida State, said, “Beyond the Haitian culture at FAMU, she embodies the culture very well. She’s a great woman and she is always willing to share what she knows. She’s also a great dancer.”
Shortly after her arrival, Telusmond became involved in an organization called the Haitian Cultural Club after a friend encouraged her to attend a dance troupe event across the street from her dorm. The dance troupe just so happens to be a part of the HCC and after that event, she fell in love with the organization and has been a part of it ever since.
Since her first interaction with HCC in 2018, she is now serving as the organization’s 2021-2022 president and she is also a part of Big Sister, Little Sister. During her time at FAMU, she has allowed her Haitian pride to shine through her participation in these organizations in the way she speaks and the way she treats others. She has come to realize that the impact that her Haitian culture has had on American culture is bigger than she imagined, and she believes that African American’s should make more of an effort to learn about not only their own history but Haitian history as well.
Telusmond is passionate about her culture and her friend Jordan Middleton can attest to her passion.
“She is, for lack of a better word, very proud of her culture,” Middleton said. “She is anything but ashamed. Always doing something to promote her culture and their customs. She loves where she is from and who she is. It’s honestly so nice to see someone who is so proud of who they are.”
Telusmond continues to make sure that her people are represented well, and she believes that as long as you stay open to learning about new things and new cultures, nothing can stop you.