Get Involved, Get Into It. — James Brown
Peace my People-
As some of you may know, I am in Haiti right now for the third time in my adult life after the quake last January. This time I am part of a film crew that is looking at housing issues, human rights and working for cultural-historic preservation through the lens of the Diaspora. This current team is composed of three activist artists (Michel Dessources jr., Malinda Francis, and Yours Truly) who derive from the African Diaspora on it’s move through the Caribbean towards the States, working to bring information directly to the global community about what is happening here now in order to build solidarity with and assist the movement. This is a look at the situation that carries the respect and vision of the people who are in the situation from people who understand and share their culture far more than those who have been misrepresenting.
During our time here thus far we have spoken to many Haitian organizations who are helping build a new Haiti, such as Tele Mobile (a film company that works to educate and encourage dialog among the Haitian public using the medium of film), The Maurice Sixto Foundation (working to change the social system that has created and maintained the exploitation of the poor in the form of live in domestic workers referred to as “restaveks”, while preserving the cultural ,historical and social contributions of the literary giant Maurice Sixto) and IJDH (Institute For Justice and Democracy in Haiti…representing the human rights of and organizing with people in the displacement camps who are having their rights blatantly violated).
We have also been privileged enough to speak directly with camp leaders (in Kafour and Kafou Fe) about their thoughts and what can be done to help give them a push to implement their visions for their communities more than one year later, as so many NGOs drag their feet and prolong a situation that is keeping them paid while the needs, sentiments and opinions of the population they are supposed to be helping are being ignored.
There are still more than 1.5 million people living in camps as the next election approaches and people do have opinions and insight that is not reaching those who are interested in the words of a nation that led the way for so many revolutions (including the American, Bolivarian and Cuban Revolutions), in a nation where the majority of the population is young people and where women outnumber men dramatically. The power of the people is alive and well here despite every attempt to destroy it. We are here to bring the lessons to you with new media so that you have a look at what kind of alternatives are possible as things shift on this planet with a chance to be involved .
We have witnessed new models for more sustainable living (such as Earthships, Straw Bale Houses, domes and uber shelters) and spoken to artists, historians and activists who preserve the legacy of Haiti’s resistance and strength such as: the graf writer Jerry, Boukman Eksperyans, Juanito (an empowering writer & singer with fire to uplift the people with), sister Bieena (Haitian history expert) and the foremost Haitian Human Rights attorney, Mario Joseph.
Please stay connected as we move through this journey. Although internet access is limited, we are constantly editing and preparing to post the next blog and update. Let’s combine our efforts and action across this globe, to show the people of Haiti that when we say that we care it is not in the usual short-term memory context of American popular involvement, but in lasting solidarity, action and dialog that involves the people that we talk about. Let’s pay homage and respect, show dignity and build together.
Take a minute and check these links, plus stay tuned as the journey unfolds in a slow crescendo over the next couple of weeks from our entrance to the amazing people we have been building with that you will not hear about in the corporate media. “Get involved, get into to it,” in the immortal words of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.
Let me know what this stuff brings up for you, if and how you would like to be involved and please stay in touch.
http://displacementcampsproduction.wordpress.com/ (Mali’s blog that is following our trip here)
http://www.youtube.com/ACDmediachannel (direct media from camps with photos & illustration)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_k-a2RCvLg (footage from Mario Joseph’s visit to Toronto…a good place to start before updates on the situation of human rights class action suites hit the blog)
Thanks for your time, your work and your good vibes and I look forward to continuing to work together to connect and move together to a future that is more hospitable to our planet and all of its residents.