By Tadia Toussaint
It’s no new fact that the Haitian Revolution is a historical event that not just Haitians, but many people of color are truly proud of and grateful for. It led the Western hemisphere to a time of change where suppressed groups, mainly Africans, started movements seeking freedom.
The Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX), a nonprofit aimed at preserving Haitian culture through education, arts and public affairs, launched their Fall/Winter program titled “Revolisyon” with a kickoff event at the Brooklyn Public Library, featuring an open reading by Haitian-author Gina Ulysse.
Ulysse’s book, ‘Why Haiti Needs New Narratives’, sparked conversations about what more can be done to make sure that these narratives are being heard.
“Gina emphasized the fact that media should play a strong role in ensuring that voices are heard in the mainstream media and that strong institutions exist within our communities,” executive director of HCX, Regine M. Roumain said.
Massive immigration of Haitians to the United States have been directly linked to the brutal dictatorship of the Duvalier regime, which also created political unrest in Haiti. This coming February marks the 30th year anniversary of the fall of the Duvalier government.
“Diaspora and young people growing up in Haiti, who didn’t know that regime have no context for what continues to happen in Haiti,” Roumain said. “The programming isn’t all about Duvalier but instead this theme about revolution and change and what all of that means.”
Roumain hopes that the people who consume the programming within the next few months leave the season with a fuller understanding, while putting Haitian history into the context of current events in the country.
“The struggle that our ancestors had to bear are the same symptoms that continue to plague our society,” she said. “Unless we explore it [the failures of the Duvalier regime], talk about it and remember it” Roumain said, “then we have a hard time unraveling it and moving forward.”
Why Haiti Needs New Narratives is available in English, French and Creole. For more information about future events on the agenda, including performances and film screenings, visit haiticulturalx.org/revolisyon