On Friday October 28th, Singer/Songwriter, Activist and LAKOU NOU artist, Sherlee Skai hosted the “Allies for Haitian Migrants: An Evening of Music and Conversation” event at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, NYC.
The evening began with a conversation amongst panelists Amy Andrieux, MoCADA Executive Director/Filmmaker; Pascale Solages, Human Rights Advocate/Representative of the Civil Society in Haiti; and François Pierre-Louis, PhD Professor/Writer/Activist. The discussion was moderated by Skai, whilst each panelist brought their unique perspectives to the conversation. The evening’s talks centered human rights issues and political turmoil in Haiti, why and how Haitians are fleeing the country and what the Haitian diaspora, in particular, those in the US, can do to support efforts in Haiti.
The conversation segment of the evening was followed by a presentation of “SITE NON YO, NOU PAKA BLIYE YO”: in English “SAY THEIR NAMES, WE MUST NOT FORGET THEM.” Through a visual storytelling collage, the pictures and videos recounted the stories of a few of the many Haitians killed by gang/political violence in Haiti, some very close to our diasporic community in NYC.
The night ended with live music from Sherlee Skai and Band (bandmembers include Gashford Guillaume (Drummer); Robert (Bobby) Raymond (bass); Rodney (Okai) Fleurimond (percussion); and Adam Iding (guitarist))—a spirit-lifting seal on a moving night.
The action items for participants of the event included: signing an open letter to NYC Mayor Eric Adams, reprimanding his treatment towards immigrants in NYC and to write a welcome letter to a Haitian migrant family arriving in NYC that weekend.
Another important action item was (and is) to take care of ourselves and each other. Fighting and advocating for human rights and political freedom in Haiti is emotionally exhausting work. It will not be done if it is not done together.
Links to further support Haitian migrants:
To Book Flights for Migrants Crossing the Border
To Make a Monetary Donation