CATEGORY: Community Leadership
PROFESSION/ORGANIZATION: Comissioner, Community Organizer/City of Austin Commision on Immigration Affairs
Elisse Jean Pierre has been giving back to the Caribbean community since her childhood. During high school, she served as the student liaison to the Haitian Association Foundation of Tampa Bay and also served the Hillsborough County Children's Board as a member of the Hillsborough Youth Collaborative where she had the chance to advise Hillsborough County and the State of Florida on policy language affecting youth.
While a student at Emory University, Elisse served as the public relations chair and later president of the Association of Caribbean Educators and Students (ACES). Her efforts as president increased the organization's influence on campus and within the state of Georgia as one of the founding universities in the Georgia Caribbean Students' Association.
Since graduating from Emory in 2014, Elisse has made quite an impact in Austin as the founder of the Austin Caribbean Cultural Exchange, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that strives to empower Austin's Caribbean community by stimulating the population's businesses and supporting local students.
Although Austin's Caribbean population is very small, Elisse has been sure to put the community in the forefront of the city's cultural initiatives. Elisse gained recognition from District 1 City Council Member Ora Houston and now represents District 1 on the Commission on Immigrant Affairs where she advises city council on policy that affects Caribbean immigrants and their families as well as other immigrant populations. She has also been a part of initiatives to highlight Caribbean music at SXSW Music, one of the largest music festivals in the world held in the city of Austin. Elisse continues to advocate for the needs of Caribbean immigrants and their families on a local level and is excited about the opportunities to represent the population on the state level.