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Honoring Hertz

Haitian born Painter & Advocate for Sickle Cell Disease

Hertz Nazaire was born on October 2, 1973, in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. At the age of nine, Hertz, who preferred to be called Naz, moved to Brooklyn, New York and soon after Bridgeport, Connecticut. As a young child, Hertz was diagnosed with sickle cell disease, a genetic illness affecting an estimated 100,000 in the United States and millions worldwide.

While living in Bridgeport, Hertz, who was already fond of drawing, fell more in love

with his craft. Nazaire’s love of drawing and art was further encouraged by the support of his art teachers at Westhill High

School in Stamford, Connecticut.

“Sickle Cell drew me to art because it is so peaceful.”

While in his 20’s Naz faced a setback, he lost his eyesight for two weeks. This traumatic event

resulted in turning away from painting for three years, a gift he loved dearly, yet it motivated

him to focus on poetry. During this time, he struggled with his health and was homeless for

eighteen months.


The Waiting Chair Project: Holman Prize Winner, Hertz Nazaire

Homelessness & partial vision loss would not silence the voice of this Warrior.

A powerful advocate for those who are visually impaired, those who struggled with depression, and those who fought daily to obtain humane treatment and quality medical care, on Friday, October 29, 2021, Naz passed the torch for others to continue the race.



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