At CLACS at NYU we’ve been celebrating International Women’s Month by hosting The Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series all this month. So far, we’ve hosted Black Afro-feminist activist Fania Noel and rapper and spoken word artist Theresa Sophia Alphonse. Later this month we’ll be hosting Stephani Saintonge, an award-winning filmmaker & documentarian. To give the CLACS at NYU’s community more insight about the inspiration behind the series, Haitian Creole Language Institute founder Wynnie Lamour talks about Sanité Bélair and the deep historical roots that ground the events:
“Despite the invaluable contribution of many women in Caribbean history, their voices and stories have often been left by the wayside, having fallen prey to the whims of a society that often undervalues women. From providing the nurture needed by their communities to blazing new pathways, women have always lead the way for movements of great change.
The Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series was born out of a desire to celebrate and center the visionary work of contemporary Caribbean women. Sanité Bélair was a Haitian freedom fighter and revolutionary, and one of the few women soldiers who fought during the Haitian Revolution at the turn of the 19th century. Sanité, whom Dessalines described as “a tigress,” is formally recognized by the Haitian Government as a National Heroine of Haiti.
Just as the Haitian Revolution led the way for so many others in the Caribbean, the courage and fortitude displayed by Sanité during the Haitian Revolution was unparalleled and continues to echo in the spirits of many Haitian women today. Her passion and fire serve as inspiration for the three Modern-Day Revolutionary women being featured this month in the Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series: Fania Noel, Black Afro-Feminist Activist; Theresa Sophia Alphonse, Rapper & Spoken Word Artist; and Stephani Saintonge, award-winning Filmmaker & Documentarian.”
Mother Tongues United is an event organized by CLACS in partnership with The Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York (HCLI) and Port Academie to bring together educators, authors, and activists from different language communities to discuss the importance of the use of the Mother Tongue in Children’s Literature in the Caribbean.
At the center of the event will be the discussion of Creoles of the Caribbean’s struggle with overcoming the negative stereotype associated with speaking their Mother Tongue and the legacy of historically undervalued languages of marginalized people.
Participants will discuss what is currently being done to positively promote and preserve the Mother Tongue, and how their respective diasporic communities contribute to a shift in the perception of the language.
Guest panelists will include, among others, Riva Nyri Précil, author of “Anaëlle and The Mermaid”, Carmel Balan, founder of Port Academie, and Keisha Wiel, Papiamentu Scholar. The Panel Discussion will be followed by Professional Development break-out sessions focusing on Lesson Planning, Increasing Parental Involvement, and Cultural Sensitivity Training. Light refreshments will be provided.
Please join us Monday, October 17, 5:30 p.m. at the KJCC Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. A valid ID is required to enter the building.
This academic year, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies began offering Haitian Creole language classes to students at New York University. Students at Lehman College and Columbia University can enroll in the classes as well thanks to the Indigenous and Diasporic Language Consortium. Kreyòl is one of Haiti’s two official languages and is spoken by around 10 million people worldwide, including the large Haitian community in New York.
A course is not a course without a teacher, and on fall of 2015 we were delighted to welcome Wynnie Lamour to the CLACS faculty. Wynnie is the founder of the Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York, where she offers Kreyól language classes and cultural events. CLACS MA student Brendan Fields talked with Wynnie about her experiences and expectations regarding Haitian Creole at NYU.
On Tuesday, August 25th the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU (CLACS) kicked off the fall 2015 semester with a series of events to welcome a new class of students, and showcase to all NYU students its unique language offerings in Quechua and Haitian Kreyól. As a Title VI National Resource Center designated by the Department of Education, CLACS is part of the Indigenous Language Consortium (with the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University (ILAS), and The Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at Lehman College) which promotes the education of less commonly taught languages and NYU students can benefit from this unique resource.