Emerline Anselm
Emerline Anselm

NEW JERSEY, USA (30 August, 2018) – She's a community organiser, a teacher and lately, an "entrepreneur of circumstance". In a few weeks' times you will also call her special recognition awardee.

Emerline Anselm of the culturally rich and tight-knit north eastern community of Paix Bouche will be honoured by the Association of Dominicans in the Northeast USA (ADNExUS) at the charity's cultural awards gala in New Jersey next month, a charity fund-raising event for educational, medical and business development in Dominica.

Ms. Anselm, a teacher at Portsmouth Secondary School, launched Emonews on Facebook following the passage of Hurricane Maria last September, via which she kept Dominicans abroad up-to-date with the plight of those affected by the devastating storm.

"Emerline was the lifeline for the thousands of Dominicans in the Diaspora who relied on this one-woman media outlet for news of their families and friends in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, as she made it her business to travel through the villages for the sole purpose of searching out and reporting on the conditions of residents and their homes in the villages," says ADNExUS president Sylma Brown.

"We are proud to recognise this Dominican who put her countrymen first when they needed her most, and humbled that she has accepted our invitation to be honoured," Ms. Brown adds.

Emonews, which Ms. Anselm said began "as a social and humanitarian outreach", has since developed into a major source of news for the Diaspora. The page currently has over 9,600 likes and over 10,000 followers.

"I knew that my mother and daughter were safe and I was extremely grateful for that. I was also able to let my family abroad know that we were alright. I knew, however, that I was to get in contact with my loved ones. My love and appreciation of family, along with my love for my fellow Dominicans is what fuelled my post-Maria journalist efforts," Ms. Anselm said.

"Being selected for this award is something that I am extremely grateful for, and it is in a sense a cherry on top of the 'thanks yous' that I received from family members abroad who were able to gain some peace of mind after the hurricane."

In addition to the award to Ms. Anselm, ADNExUS will honour the Commonwealth of Dominica Improvement Association (CODIA), a non-for-profit formed in 2998, "for 20 years of dedication to supporting Dominican cultural preservation and for their efforts in enhancing the quality of life for our elderly and our youth".

In keeping with the calibre of the event, which takes place on Saturday 22 September at a new venue, the Montclair Womans Club in Montclair, New Jersey, this year's event will feature as the master of ceremonies, Nicole Brown, a second generation Dominican and City Council member based in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

The effervescent Know Your Culture Dance Troupe, along comedian Wilma Thomas and DJs Bolo and Supa Bell will provide entertainment at the 7pm - 11pm gala.

Tickets are available from group members, Know Your Culture Dance Troupe, the Northeast USA Wesley Chapter, the Dominica United Cricket Club and the North American Association for the Advancement of LaPlaine. Tickets cost $90 per person and will cover cocktails, open bar, dinner and entertainment.

The Association of Dominicans in the Northeast USA achieved 501c3 and 509a2 status in 2014. The Association exists to foster the development and execution of cultural, educational and community programs that connect Dominicans in the Northeast USA with Dominicans at home.