Even as a harsh spotlight shines on the controversial return of ex-President Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier – and the rumored return of another ex-president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide – the beleaguered nation of Haiti is bearing a terrible and underpublicized tragedy: An epidemic of sexual violence is occurring in the wake of the 2010 earthquake, according to a recently released report.
The report, “Our Bodies Are Still Trembling: Haitian Women Continue to Fight Against Rape,” tells a sad tale of increasing incidents of rape against Haitian women and girls. It says that there seems to be no immediate end to the terror in sight, and while there are grassroots efforts underway to help victims, international intervention may be needed.
Overcrowding, inadequate lighting and lack of security in displacement camps are all factors contributing to the problem, the report adds.
Its recommendations include the release of pledged relief funding so that Haiti can have the resources to cope with the crisis, and a call for greater accountability from the NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) receiving relief funds.
“Unfortunately, the only difference between six months ago and today is that sexual violence in displacement camps is only now being recognized as an issue, but still not much is being done,” said Lisa Davis of MADRE, a human rights organization, which released the report in conjunction with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the International Womens’ Human Rights Clinic of the CUNY School of Law.
MADRE has been working with KOFAVIV (the Commission of Women Victims for Victims) to aid the victims of sexual attacks. KOFAVIV is an organization established by and for rape survivors.
“Haitian grass-roots groups and their partners have been working tirelessly and at great personal risk to protect and empower women and girls,” explained Annie Gell, BAI’s rape accountability and prevention project coordinator. “However, the international community has largely failed to do its part despite its vast resources.”
Forum on IRS form for not-for-profits
The new form is designed to provide more detailed information on groups’ operations for founders.
The seminar will be held at the Savoy Building, 120 E. 149th St. (near Walton Ave.). Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., and the program begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m. To RSVP for the Form 990 session, visit www.communityuplink.net/990s.html. For information, call Adeline Mederios at (212) 983-4800, extension 122, or send email to
Get ready for LIME at Trinidad hotel
With Trinidad and Tobago‘s Carnival fast approaching, the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel is continuing its special relationship with the annual international affair by sponsoring “LIME” – an exclusive and all-inclusive festival event on March 2 from 4p.m. to 11 p.m.
Just prior to the climax of Trinidad Carnival 2011, the Port of Spain hotel will host LIME – an affair featuring Caribbean cuisine prepared by veteran chefs, a premium bar with frozen, mixed and novelty drinks, and top-flight entertainment.
The two-year-old Hyatt Regency is the island’s first new full-service hotel in 48 years. In 2009, outdoor showers were installed in front of the hotel to serve makeup- and grease-covered masqueraders who were provided with towels, T-shirts, warm robes and slippers .
Tickets for LIME can be purchased online at www.ultimatelime.com. For information on LIME, call (868) 623-2222. Visit www.trinidad.hyatt.com for hotel reservations.
‘RiseUp’ reggae documentary to air
“RiseUp: Reggae Underground,” a film on three struggling Jamaican musicians and an examination of the birthplace of the internationally renowned reggae genre, airs this week as part of the continuing “AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange” documentary series.
Created by filmmaker Luciano Blotta, the award-winning “RiseUp” makes its AfroPoP festival debut on Wednesday at 8 a.m. on the PBS World channel – Time Warner Cable Channel 164 and on Cablevision’s WLIW World, Channel 132. The show also airs Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The film features appearances by reggae greats such as Lee (Scratch) Perry, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. The film won Blotta the best music documentary award at the 2009 American Film Institute/Discovery SilverDocs.
Other showtimes for “RiseUp” are Thursday at midnight, Friday at 5 a.m. and 11 a.m., next Sunday at 5 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Author Edwidge Danticat introduces ‘Haiti Noir’ anthology
“Haiti Noir,” a compilation of moving fiction and mystery works featuring award-winning author Edwidge Danticat and new stories from 17 writers, debuts this month.
The collection will be featured in a number of book events in the city this month and February. Haiti Noir is part of Akashic Books’ noir anthology series, featuring brand-new stories set in distinct locations.
In addition to a work by Danticat, there are new stories from writers Rodney Saint-Eloi, M.J. Fievre, Gary Victor, Kettly Mars, Evelyne Trouillot, Marvin Victor, Ibi Aanu Zoboi, Josaphat-Robert Large, Marie Lily Cerat, Louis-Phillipe Dalembert, Madison Smartt Bell, Katia Ulysse, Nadine Pinede, Yanick Lahens, Mark Kurlansky, Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel, and Patrick Sylvain.
Danticat, author of “Breath, Eyes, Memory” and “Krik? Krak!,” wrote the introduction for the collection, which she worked while her homeland was suffering from the major 2010 earthquake.
“As I am writing these words, survivors remain huddled by the thousands in displacement camps, most shielding themselves from intermittent rain with nothing but wooden posts and bed sheets,” she wrote in the introduction. “Even before the earthquake, life was not easy in Haiti. There was always the risk of dying from hunger, an infectious disease, a natural disaster, or a crime. But there was also hope, laughter, and boundless creativity.”
“Haitian creativity has always been one of the country’s most identifiable survival traits,” Danticat continued. “Whether expressed in vibrant and colorful paintings, double entendre-filled spiritual or party music, or the poignant, humorous, erotic, lyrical (and yes, also dark) short stories and novels of its writers, Haiti’s more nuanced and complex face often comes across in its arts . . . I can honestly say that, in spite of the difficult circumstances in Haiti right now, I have never felt a greater sense of joy working on any collective project than I have on this book.”
On Wednesday at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway in Manhattan, Danticat will appear at a program of performances based on the Haiti Noir collection. The show, which begins at 7 p.m. in Symphony Space’s Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, features Anika Noni Rose, star of the move “Dreamgirls” and Stephen Lang of the movie “Avatar” performing stories by Danticat and Kurlansky.
There will be a question-and-answer session following the performance.
Tickets are $27; $23 for Symphony Space members and $15 for persons 30 years of age and younger.
Other Haiti Noir book events include:
• A reading on Thursday at the Brooklyn Public Library‘s Central Branch, at 10 Grand Army Plaza at 7 p.m. featuring Danticat, with Haiti Noir writers Cerat and Zoboi in the S. Stevan Dweck Center. This event is co-sponsored by the Haiti Cultural Exchange
• The MoCADA, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, 80 Hanson Place in Brooklyn, hosting a Haiti Noir reading on Feb. 23 featuring Zoboi, Large, Ulysse, and Cerat. This event is also co-sponsored by the Haiti Cultural Exchange.
For information on Haiti Noir, call Akashic Books at (718) 643-9193 or send email to
Honors for showbiz big at UWI benefit gala
Veteran entertainment executive Suzanne de Passe – and the University of the West Indies – will be the big recipients of this week’s Legacy Awards Gala, taking place Wednesday in Manhattan at The Pierre Hotel.
The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies’ Bob Marley Award will be presented to de Passe at the gala, which benefits the distinguished 63-year-old Caribbean university system. UWI has four campuses – Cave Hill in Barbados, Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and an Open Campus serving 16 countries.
Other gala honorees include Patrick Gaston, president of the Verizon Foundation (recipient of a AFUWI Special Award) and Caribbean Luminary awards winners: Dr. Michelle Johnson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Carlton Masters, ambassador to the Economic Community of West African States and CEO of GoodWorks International; Kaye Foster-Cheek of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, and Yolanda Lezama-Clark, who will be accepting a posthumous award on behalf of her father Carlos Lezama, founder of the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade.
For tickets and corporate packages, call (212) 759-9345 or end email to
Emeline Michel performing in Queens
Singer Emeline Michel, dubbed the “Queen of Haitian Song,” will be performing in Queens Saturday with the Haitian Mass Choir in a show presented by the Jamaica Performing Arts Center and the World Music Institute.
General admission is $25 and $20 for World Music Institute members. For information, call (718) 618-6170 and visit www.jamaica-performingartscenter.org.
Looking for ’40 Under Forty’ achievers
Outstanding candidates are being sought for the Network Journal’s 2011 40 Under Forty Achievement Awards.
Candidates must be “dynamic business and professional leaders” under the age of 40. Those selected will be honored at the 13th annual 40 Under Forty Achievement Awards and be featured in a special issue of The Network Journal. Persons 39 years or younger, before June 16, are eligible.
Visit http://www.tnj.com/40-under-forty/call-for-nominations for get nomination information.
Pol’s gospel tribute to MLK
The soulful sounds of gospel performer Lady Tramaine Hawkins filled the air at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Brooklyn College‘s Walt Whitman Theater, sponsored by state Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn).
More than 2,000 persons attended the free event, which was held in conjunction with New Hope Christian Fellowship. Following the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, there were also special performances dedicated to quake victims and their families living in central Brooklyn.
Reggae’s Gyptian has ‘HOT’ hit
VP Records’ performer Gyptian had zoomed into 2011 with his hit song “Hold You” being listed as the No. 2 song of the year on the HOT97 radio (WQHT-FM).
Last year, Gyptian did very well. He was named “Reggae Artist of the Year” at the 2010 Soul Train Awards and the 2010 MOBO Awards in the United Kingdom. For information on Gyptian, visit www.vprecords.com/Gyptian.
Caribbean Images honors Rev. King & community leaders
Caribbean Images TV honored a host of individuals at its held its 15th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Jr. Award Ceremony recently.
This year’s honorees, chosen for “empowering and improving the quality of life in our communities,” included former Gov. David Paterson; Felix Augustin, consul general of Haiti in New York; Rodneyse Bichotte, state Committee female district leader for the 42nd Assembly District; Dr. Bredy Pierre Louis; Rev. Samuel Nicolas, assistant pastor of Croisade Evangeliques de Pecheurs d’Hommes; Fritz Plantin, member of the Haitian national soccer team that played in the 1974 World Cup; Donovan Gopie, reporter and photojournalist; James (Rocky) Robinson, commander and co-founder of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corp.; the Haitian Nurses of New York organization and the 1199 SEIU/Haiti Relief Project.
For information the Caribbean Images Television, call (917) 8-5219 or visit us @ www.caribbeanimagestv.com.
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