By Larisa Karr
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, two Haitian organizations will livestream a virtual panel discussion about the significance of Haiti’s independence as the world faces a racial reckoning.
The Haitian Times and Fonkoze, a Haiti-based financial empowerment organization, will broadcast the free event — titled “1804: Haiti’s Independence + Its Relevance Today” — via Facebook and Zoom on Jan. 18 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.
Panelists include Marlene Daut, a University of Virginia professor of African Diaspora Studies, and Carine Roenen, executive director of the Fonkoze Foundation. Macollvie J. Neel, The Haitian Times managing editor, will be the moderator.
Haiti declared independence from the French more than 200 years ago and remains the only uprising where people were able to remove their captors and establish sovereign freedom. It has since come to be known as a momentous historical event with significant impact on the Western Hemisphere. Over the centuries, Haiti has had a chaotic political history, including dictatorships, massacres, and occupations from foreign powers.
Now, as the world undergoes an overdue recognition and reckoning on race, Haiti’s history is often invoked as an inspiring event in the centuries-long, ongoing fight for racial equality.
On MLK Day, as the country reflects on the iconic leader’s legacy, each panelist will bring their expertise to the virtual talk for a nuanced and multifaceted discussion about Haiti’s role in movements to liberate and empower Black and brown people.
Daut has written extensively on the history of Haiti and the revolution, including a book titled “Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865.”
Fonkoze consists of three organizations: Fonkoze Financial Services, the Fonkoze Foundation, and Fonkoze USA. Together, they work to address the most pressing issues facing Haiti in the 21st century, including poverty, education, and health.
Neel has written about the Haitian diaspora in the U.S. and the impact of Haiti’s history and experience in the context of current movements like Black Lives Matter.
The 1804 Panel is the first in a series of live programming that The Haitian Times plans to hold throughout the year.
To register for the free event, click on this Zoom link.