When school field trips were canceled due to the pandemic, Inez Barlatier and her family band, and other artists with the Miami-Dade Arts Education Collective, created virtual events for elementary-age students. Teachers can show Barlatier’s “Ayiti — Stories and Songs from Haiti” to their students during Haitian History Month in May. PHOTO COURTESY OF ADRIENNE ARSHT CENTER/PHOTO BY WORLDREDEYE

Miami musician Inez Barlatier said she had plenty of exposure to Latin and African-American culture growing up in Miami, but she was never exposed to Ayisyen culture in school.

Now, through her involvement in the diverse Miami-Dade Arts Education Collective, she can bring her stories about the Haitian community to all children.

Barlatier and the group’s other artists stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide virtual programming when school field trips were canceled.

The filmed performance “Ayiti — Stories and Songs from Haiti” will be available for teachers to show in their classes in honor of Haitian Heritage Month throughout May. It is just one of the Collective’s events for elementary-age students.

“We hope that students and teachers will learn new things about Ayiti (Haiti) that they wouldn’t normally hear, read or see in the media,” Barlatier said. “I would also like for Ayisyen (Haitian) students to learn more about their history to strengthen their identity and pride.”

The performance is a celebration of the vibrancy and significance of the Miami-Haitian community’s art, folklore and culture.

It is also one of gratitude.

“This opportunity and privilege weighs heavy on all of us,” Barlatier said.

“We take pride in this show because it is our history told from our perspective, not a spectator. It is not often that our voices are lifted. This is why the show has so much history within the music. Most people will hear things about Ayiti that they probably would have never known.

“Most of the time, I am the first black female musician students have seen in their life. Children need to see it to believe that they too can do it. The performing arts creates paradigm shifts in the minds of our future leaders,” Barlatier said. Continue reading

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