France Francois' family immigrated to Miami, FL from Haiti to escape the brutal political oppression of the Duvalier regime. "Wet-Foot/Dry Foot", embargoes, human rights issues, and social justice were as much a part of her childhood as the pulsating beats of Celia Cruz, lasciviousness of Uncle Luke, and the crooning of Sweet Micky.
When she went off to college, it was no surprise then that she majored in Political Science and minored in International Affairs and Religion. It was in college that France became an activist. Long before Obamacare, she fought for healthcare subsidies for poor students when the university passed a policy mandating health insurance upon enrollment. In 2006, when the state of Florida tried to cover up the death of a young boy, Martin Lee Anderson, at the hands of detention center guards, she and a group of like-minded students formed the Student Coalition for Justice and led a sit-in in then- Governor Jeb Bush's office.
Throughout those experiences, she wrote. She wrote as an act of resistance, an opportunity to challenge the status quo, and a chance to corroborate the reality of marginalized people. When an all-white jury found the killers of Anderson "not guilty," the essay she wrote detailing how that rocked her faith in the justice system, launched her into graduate school at American University.
France's work has been featured in Huffington Post, Ebony.com, The Root, and other publications. During her time volunteering with refugees in Egypt and learning Arabic, her Black in Cairo blog won the 2010 Best Travel Blog award.
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, France took her Masters in International Development and Conflict Resolution and pivoted her energies to social issues in the reconstruction of the country of her birth. Haiti has painted her storytelling and activism with a sense of loss, a discomfort with injustice, a fierce dignity, and an ever-growing wanderlust.
France is redefining what it means to be a black woman abroad. Her insights into culture, policy, travel, economic development, and current events drive her commitment to social change with the power of the pen and the power of the people. She moves as largely and as freely as possible, writing for those who aim to know a country's roots, not it's resorts.
Having retired from her international development career, she is currently thriving in Panamá. She is unapologetically black beyond borders.