Charnette Orelien Has Made History in Irvington, NJ

The people in the West Ward of the city of Irvington, NJ has spoken loud and clear Tuesday night –when they elected Charnette ORELIEN to represent them in the Municipal Council.

A native of Haiti, Charnette ORELIEN migrated to the US in 1996; she has been a resident of that ward since.

She is a graduate of Essex County College, Rutgers University and Seton Hall University. Needless to say, education plays a major role in her life.

Tuesday night, she has made history. In the city of Irvington’s 320-year history, she is the first Haitian American to win a seat in the city’s Council. Mind you, more Haitians reside in the city than any other ethnic group.

Charnette has decided to challenge that seat in the West Ward because she believed she could win and make a difference in the lives of her constituents.

She has won the election imposingly. According to the website of the Essex County Clerk Office, a total of 946 voters voted in the West Ward, of which she amassed 456 or 48.20%; John F. Brown, the distant second person in line, obtained 291 or 30.76%.

This crushing victory would have not been possible had it not been for the outstanding work of her staff and ground team of volunteers, the Haitian-owned radio stations and her technology/internet team (on Facebook, Twitter, etc…) to mobilize the people in the West Ward and get them out to vote on Election Day.

The turnout was very low, compared to the thousands of Haitian registered voters residing in that ward. That shows we still have some serious work to do if we dream to elect a Haitian mayor in that city in the years to come. So the community outreach effort we had going on through the massive civic education campaign -which got Charnette to win -must pursue its course.

Anyhow, her campaign strategy must become the model to follow and impetus to capitalize on, for it has produced the expected results. She did not do anything the ones who preceded her, those who did not get the chance to get that far in their attempts, could not do. Maybe they did not know any better. Like it is said in our Haitian Creole, “sa w pa konnen pi gran pase w.”

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