On September 24, CLACS and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service hosted the talk Colombia in Flux: The Challenges of Peacebuilding in the Midst of Violence and Insecurity, by Arlene B. Tickner, professor at the School of International, Political and Urban Studies at Universidad del Rosario, Colombia. The talk was the first of the Fall semester’s presentations as a part of the working group Colombia: Past, Present and Futures. The conversation was moderated by Sonia Ospina, a Professor of Public Management and Policy at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Over three years after the signing of a historic peace agreement between the Colombian state and the FARC insurgency, the prospects for building a lasting peace in the country continue to be elusive. Professor Tickner discussed the main challenges that Colombia faces in the present, including the alarmingly high levels of violence committed by remaining violent non-state actors, including the ELN guerrillas, organized criminal organizations, and dissident factions of FARC. That, in addition to a lack of a security strategy, attuned to peacebuilding.
On Saturday, October 10 we had our second session of the Teaching Fellows program where we enjoyed a great discussion and presentation titled #MotherTonguesUnited: What Historically Undervalued Languages Teach Us About Freedom. Led by Kreyòl at NYU instructor professor Wynnie Lamour, it gathered from her background and experience teaching Haitian Kreyòl an understanding of teaching as a tool of protest.
Lamour started the session explaining the concepts of Onè and Respè in order to create a safe space for our discussions. Once we paid our mutual respect, Wynnie explained how she does activism by teaching a historically undervalued language such as Haitian Kreyòl. She explained the process and the reasons why she carefully weaved her path into turning #MotherTonguesUnited: What Historically Undervalued Languages Teach Us About Freedom into a continuing project that is still running. The necessity to create safe spaces for discussions about community and education through language was central to her analysis.
Wynnie also pointed toward how teachers must aid their students in taking up space. Centering their pedagogy on freedom in honest and authentic ways, fosters deep and critical discussions in the classroom. Honesty is important in establishing a base in order for students to feel appreciated and understood. Professor Lamour also emphasized the importance of technology and pointed at resources we could use as pedagogical tools. As an exercise, teachers went into breakout rooms where they exchanged ideas, looked at tools, and enjoyed discussions centering in freedom. Most shared their experiences in the classroom and thought about how to incorporate this new knowledge with students. I engaged in conversation with my group about how history has erased important historical figures such as women, black and indigenous people, and other disadvantaged communities. We used our tools to search for more information that could be useful in constructing curriculum that would help students to learn more about these topics.
On September 24, CLACS hosted a Zoom event for the launch of Guillén Landrián o el desconcierto fílmico. The book co-edited by Julio Ramos and Dylon Robbins, features essays by various authors on the recently re-discovered work of Cuban filmmaker Guillén Landrián.
Before the event, participants were encouraged to watch some of Guillén Landrián’s short films shot during the first years after the 1959 Cuban Revolution. The event featured presentations by the editors, and one of the book’s contributors, Cuban scholar Odette Casamayor Cisneros.
This book is the result of the rediscovery of the filmmaker’s production, which had been censored and afterward forgotten until a new generation of filmmakers and critics, around the year 2000, rediscovered it and transformed it into a figure of a major revision of the history of Cuban cinema of the Revolution.
This week from October 27th through the 30th, CLACS will be featuring insightful programming meant to spotlight indigenous film resources and archival research, the healing power of the written word and women of the Caribbean telling their stories, and lessons learned of social change from Indigenous Lideresas in Colombia. All of these events are being held virtually and registration is required in order to access them. Please visit the event links to RSVP and for more information.
Coming off of its successful first day and workshop, the 5th annual May Sumak Quichwa film showcase continues this Friday, October 23rd. Starting at 8 pm ET and live-streamed through YouTube and on their website. The overarching theme for this Friday’s showcase is Ayllukunamata Yuyay (Memories of Community o Memorias de Comunidad). These films will “speak to the continuity of relationships across migratory realities.”
May Sumak began in 2015 through the Quechua at NYU student-led group, Runasimi Outreach Committee, and is currently co-organized by Sandy Enriquez and Charlie Uruchima who are both CLACS alumni. However, that will not be the only connection on October 23rd. One of the films featured this Friday is by another NYU CLACS alumna, Doris Loayza. Her film, Bronx Llaktamanta is scheduled to be the second film of the night. Doris will also participate in a Q&A forum, moderated by The Quechua Collective of New York, along with filmmaker Chaska Rojas-Bottger.
This week, on October 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, CLACS and the NYU Law School are presenting events that spotlight the groundwork of black activists and legal advocates for racial justice in Latin America and the US. The events will explore the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in the struggle against racism in black communities of South America, and revisit the historic dissent by US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, 35 years ago, that called for equal protection to Haitian immigrants and prohibiting governmental racial discrimination, respectively.
The 5th annual May Sumak film festival starts today, Friday, October 16th, and will be held virtually this year over the next consecutive Fridays, on October 23rd and the 30th of 2020, all starting at 8 pm. As in previous years, the film screenings and conversations with filmmakers are organized under the overarching themes of Away Pacha (Weaving Time and Space), Ayllukunamanta Yuyay (Memories of Community), and Sinchi Sapi (Strong Roots). The festival also includes trilingual Kichwa/Quechua community-oriented workshops called Laboratorio Runa Ñawi, designed to “promote the creation of audiovisual media in the Quechua-Kichwa-Andinx diaspora.” The first of these Laboratorios will be held on Monday, October 19th (en Español el Jueves, 23 de Octubre), and it will feature the Kichwa lens-based artist Eli Farinango.
On Saturday, September 12, the 2020 Teaching Fellows cohort held its first meeting of the year-long program, and we are excited to report that it was a success. The virtual meeting was attended by ten K-12 educators of diverse disciplines (history, language, and math), and various grade levels, who teach in different New York boroughs, Illinois, and Puerto Rico. The gathering led by program’s coordinator and CLACS Visiting Scholar Thomas Troisi, served to introduce the cohort to the schedule details, vision and goals, as well as to formally introduce the organizing committee which includes education experts and CLACS faculty members.
As we start the Fall semester, in the first week of the season, CLACS will be hosting public programming highlighting Latin American/Caribbean film, from Cuba and Brazil, featuring the scholarly work and commentary of faculty member Dylon Robbins.
On Monday, September 28 at 6pm, we will be hosting the launch of Guillén Landrián o el desconcierto fílmico. The book co-edited by Julio Ramos and Dylon Robbins, features essays by various authors on the recently re-discovered work of Cuban filmmaker Guillén Landrián. The event will feature presentations by the editors, and one the book’s contributor, Cuban scholar Odette Casamayor Cisneros.
Mikhael G. Iglesias L. – Candidato de Maestría, NYU CLACS
Más de 5 millones de venezolanos han dejado su país a medida que la crisis humanitaria se ha ido agravando, buscando mejores condiciones de vida en países vecinos. Las oleadas de emigrantes han estado presionando a los gobiernos de la región para que examinen qué políticas adoptar para atender la crisis que desborda la fronteras de Venezuela. Recientemente, bajo el contexto de la pandemia por COVID-19, el escenario migratorio se vuelve más complicado. Los venezolanos en otros países se encuentran en medio de la pandemia, afectados por el desempleo y la falta de acceso al sistema de salud pública por un lado. Por otro, sopesando las dificultades de retornar a un país que sigue en deterioro y que los discrimina señalándolos como “armas biológicas”.
La situación de los venezolanos que han salido de su país es complicada. El proyecto Migrantes y Refugiados Venezolanos del Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello reporta que muchos han salido caminando hacia Colombia, siendo aproximadamente 1,800,000 venezolanos en el país vecino (Ver gráfica para más detalles). En el caso de Colombia, nada mas el 43% se encuentra en una situación legal regular. Tan sólo unos 5 mil venezolanos han solicitado la condición de refugiado, de los cuales nada más se les ha otorgado a 140. Mas allá de la legalidad, el 90% se encuentra trabajando en el sector informal, lo que señala la condición crítica y vulnerable en la que se encuentran en medio de la fragilidad económica ante la pandemia.