Who decides what and who is Black enough? What does Black mean? Black is a racial identifier, but some people use Black refer to the African American culture… what makes my Black different from yours, is it language? Some of us speak Spanish, some speak French, others Patois or Portuguese, among others. That is the beauty of the African diaspora.

Dominican Republic expels at least 244 Haitians, including young children, in latest racist attack inspired by U.S. border repression, November 24, 2013.

A group of Haitians who had been living in the southwestern Dominican town of Neiba the past several years sought refuge at a police station because they feared further reprisals, Lissaint said. Police handed the group over to soldiers who drove them to the border and expelled them to Haiti on Saturday.

Migrant advocates said some of the people sent out of the Dominican Republic were eager to leave because they feared they would be more mob violence.

Jean-Baptiste Azolin, deputy coordinator for the Support Group for Repatriates and Refugees, said not all the people who were repatriated were picked up at the police station.

“Some of them were caught in the streets, with their children, and were sent to Haiti — like that, without anything,” Azolin said.

Workers for the Haitian government’s National Office of Migration greeted the expelled Haitians and others of Haitian descent, many of them mothers with their children, including a 3-day-old boy. They were taken to a shelter north of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where they received food. They were also each given the equivalent of $22 to help them return to their former Haitian towns.

“Some people (here) have their children in the Dominican Republic, and they don’t know where they are,” Fritz Jimani, one of the deported people, said in Spanish.

Hispaniola Panorama

A panoramic view of the island of Hispaniola in the foreground and Cuba extending to over the horizon. The sunglint is illuminating Haiti and the Dominican Republic while the thunderstorms persist in the late afternoon of the summertime day. Taken by the Expedition 17 crew onboard the ISS on Aug. 19, 2008

They say it came from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles. Fukú americanus, or more colloquially, fukú - generally a curse or doom of some kind; specifically the Curse and the Doom of the New World.

No matter what its name or provenance, it is believed that the arrival of Europeans on Hispaniola unleashed fukú on the world, and we’ve all been in the shit ever since.

—  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Today, LRI would like to pay respects to all the brave veterans in the over 500 years of Indigenous resistance to colonial occupation.

Cacique Caonabo (Taino) led a band of Taino warriors against the first Spanish settlement on Hispaniola, La Navidad, killing all the soldiers in the settlement. This is perhaps the first known act of resistance against colonial occupation.

Junot Diaz on Writing Untold Stories of the African and Dominican Diaspora

Do you feel a responsibility as a writer to remember in your work what history wants to forget?

“Me personally, in many ways, I come out of a history of such profound erasure and silence and evasion and trauma, you know, whether it’s like the deep history of the African Diaspora, I mean Jesus, like, it’s not as if we really have all the literature that we need to talk about chattel slavery and what it means to come out of a community that was bred and raped into existence or even more recently, to be someone from the Dominican Diaspora, where a 31-year, you know, tortured dictatorship and the stories that were never told and the silences that are more presence than presence, some of us are drawn to those things. I, myself, personally, find myself powerfully, powerfully drawn. Certainly I do feel that. ”

-Junot Diaz, December 17, 2012, 92Y

Black-crowned Palm-tanager - Phaenicophilus palmarum

Phaenicophilus palmarum (Passeriformes - Incertae sedis) is an endemic bird to the Hispaniola Island. It can only be found in Dominican Republic and Haiti. In the Dominican Republic is known as Cuatro Ojos (four eyes) by having three white spots around its eyes, contrasting with the black crown and face mask.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Rosa Gambóias | Locality: Parque Nacional del Este, Dominican Republic (2010)

“Florinda Soriano, affectionally known as Mama Tingo, a Dominican woman peasant, mother of 14 children, who was assassinated by a large landowner in 1974 fighting for her piece of land in the Dominican Republic.  She has become a national symbol of female courage, strength, and resistance.”

SOURCE: http://www.dwdc.org/index.php/programs-and-services/mama-tingo/

                    The Sermon   ( SLAVES IN THE CARIBBEAN )
Tell me, by what right do you hold these Indians
in such cruel and horrible servitude?
By what authority did you make unprovoked war
on these people, living in peace and quiet on their land,
and with unheard-of savagery
kill and consume so great a number of them?
Why do you keep them worn out and down-trodden,
without feeding them or tending their illnesses,
so that they die-or rather you kill them-
by reason of the heavy labor you lay upon them,
to get gold every day?
What care do you take to have them taught
to know their God and Maker, to be baptized,
to hear Mass and keep their Sundays and holy days?
Are they not men? Have they no soul, no reason?
Are you not required to love them as you love yourselves?
Do you understand this? Do you not feel it?
How can you be sunk so deep in unfeeling sleep?
—Antonio de Montesinos

Set in the Dominican Republic, Leticia Tonos Paniagua’s uniquely Caribbean retelling of Romeo and Juliet chronicles the love between a kind-hearted teenager, ostracized for his mixed Haitian-Dominican descent, and the beautiful sister of a local drug kingpin he’s hired to protect.

More than one million Haitians live next door to their homeland in the Dominican Republic. They are the country’s biggest minority, and face widespread discrimination despite the fact that as many as half were born there. Taking up the story of these migrants, many of them undocumented, Cristo Rey finds focus in Janvier, a kind-hearted teenager of mixed Haitian/ Dominican descent.

We meet Janvier in the chaotic streets of Cristo Rey, a crime-ridden barrio of Santo Domingo where the cops play by their own rules and turn a blind eye to the activities of those who pay them off. Proud of his Haitian heritage, Janvier shuns his lighter-skinned father and rebellious half-brother as he tries to carve out an honest existence. But he longs for a better life, free from police harassment, and enough money to reunite with his mother back in Haiti. When he gets the chance to make some extra cash playing bodyguard to Jocelyn, the beautiful younger sister of the local drug kingpin, Janvier finds it hard to refuse. But as the two develop an intense connection, Janvier is forced to make a difficult choice.

Director Leticia Tonos Paniagua brings together a talented cast of newcomers for this unique, Caribbean retelling ofRomeo and Juliet. Her leads are attractive and charismatic, but more importantly they feel genuinely plucked from the neighbourhood. With its percussive opening music, its sense of place and its depiction of a dangerous and urgent romance, Paniagua gives Cristo Rey the pulse of a hot city. 

[SOURCE: http://tiff.net/filmsandschedules/festival/2013/cristorey]