Music and Poetry Unite Dominicans and Haitians

Clarivel (right) and sister Joyce (Photo credit by Maya Earls via The Haitian Times)

Clarivel Ruiz (right) and sister Joyce (Photo credit by Maya Earls via The Haitian Times)

Dominicans and Haitians came together for a night of music and poetry at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on Feb. 23. Clarivel Ruiz, the founder of the Dominicans Love Haitians movement, which hosted the event, told The Haitian Times’ Maya Earls what prompted her to start the movement.

Ruiz said the idea for the movement was seven years in the making, after discovering at home in the Dominican Republic that her grandmother was Haitian. Since then, she wanted to promote the similarities between the two cultures instead of focusing on the differences.

A poetry reading in English, Spanish and Creole kicked off the event, followed by musicians and artists who also spoke of their own experiences. Union Community College English professor Roberto Garcia, one of the speakers, described how he’s perceived in the U.S. versus in the Dominican Republic, and the negative response to his Gawker article on being an Afro-Dominican.

Tense relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic reached a peak after the latter passed legislation in 2014 that would render stateless many Dominicans of Haitian descent. With large populations of both groups in New York City, the controversy has generated protests and statements from public officials in the city.

Go to The Haitian Times to read more details on the event at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

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