Commissioner Holness shares journey in first BHM Zoom

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BSU president senior Tai Precilla moderated a Zoom call with Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness Feb. 9. “At first, the idea of moderating such an important event was nerve racking. However, once I began speaking to Commissioner Holness, I was able to relax,” Precilla said. “I was interested and captivated by information that Commissioner Holness discussed, so moderating felt almost like a conversation.” (Photo/Kayla Rubenstein)

February marks Black History Month (BHM), and Heritage began the tribute by hosting its first “Inspiring Stories From Leaders In Our Community: A Celebration of Black History Month.” With Black Student Union (BSU) president senior Tai Precilla leading a conversation with Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness Feb. 9, students and staff had the opportunity to learn more about a local Black leader. 

Precilla started the talk by introducing Commissioner Holness’ story. As a Jamaican immigrant who migrated to the U.S. at 17, Commissioner Holness graduated from Plantation High School and attended Broward College. From there, he discovered a passion for helping those in his community and ran for office. 

Despite facing challenges like losing two elections, Commissioner Holness earned the role of Mayor of Broward County and currently acts as Commissioner of District 9. 

“All of us face obstacles, regardless of race. It’s our will power that brings us to victory, even after so much defeat,” Commissioner Holness said. “You need a strong mindset to overcome your challenges. Once you’re prepared, you’ll get lucky.” 

In addition to politics, Commissioner Holness, father of sophomore Daylan Holness, has worked as a business executive, real estate agent, mortgage broker and activist for local civic organizations, such as the NAACP and Haitian American Leadership Organization. 

“My dad inspires me everyday to be someone greater and more successful than he is today. It’s a hard goal to set, but I know I can do it and, with him in my corner, I know I will do it,” Daylan said. “He also taught me to be appreciative and grateful for everything, and has taught me to be appreciative and grateful for everything.” 

Throughout the talk, Commissioner Holness highlighted the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity, and explained some of the challenges that he faced as a Jamaican immigrant transitioning from living in a country where he was a part of the racial majority to one where racial injustices occurred frequently. 

“Having conversations like the one we had tonight helps make the American Heritage community aware of what is happening in the minority communities that surround them. Commissioner Holness shed light on many initiatives that I’m not sure everyone was aware of,” Precilla said. “These also help get other conversations started, and help people become more of an active participant in their communities.”

Commissioner Holness also offered advice to those seeking to pursue a successful career. 

“No matter who you are, where you are, you can lead. It is not something handed to you, but something you earn,” he said. “Look for where there is need, and begin there.”

Continuing the series, the next talk Feb. 23 will feature Air Force Colonel Rudolph Moise. To sign up for the 7 p.m. event, click here.

“My dad is the most hardworking person I have ever met, and seeing him present made me realize the legacy of greatness from him that will be carried out through me and my children,” Daylan Holness said. “He is a great role model and inspiration for me to look up to when it comes to work ethic.” (Graphic/American Heritage)

As a senior, Kayla Rubenstein spends her fourth (and heartbreakingly final) year on staff as Online Editor-in-Chief, Business Manager and Social Media Correspondent. Wanting to make the most of her senior year, Kayla serves as the President of Quill and Scroll, Historian of Rho Kappa and Co-Historian of NHS, while also actively participating in EHS and SNHS. Outside of school, Kayla contributes to Mensa’s publications and volunteers with different organizations within her community. An avid reader, Kayla can often be found with her nose in a book when not working on an article for The Patriot Post or developing a project for iPatriot Post.

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