(L-R) Juvanie Piquant of Council Member Rita Joseph’s office, Sabine Blaizin, Director of Programs at CCCADI, Council Member Mercedes Narcisse, Melody Capote, Executive Director of CCCDAI in front of CCCADI’s timeline. Photo by Biv Sanchez.
New York, NY – As Haitian Heritage Month comes to a close, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) invited New York City council members and of Haitian descent and their staff members to its East Harlem location to introduce its plan to create Lakay Se Lakay (Home Is Home), a CCCADI Haitian Immersive Year in 2024. The visit was an opportunity for council members to serve as thought partners in the creation process.
Council Member Mercedes Narcisse and staff representation of Council Member Rita Joseph’s office were among those present on May 24, 2023 at the CCCADI Firehouse, located at 120 E 125th Street in East Harlem, New York, to learn about the organization’s vision for using arts and culture as a tool to raise the awareness of Haiti’s vital and historical role in the liberation and legacy of the African Diaspora.
Mercedes Narcisse, Council Member for the 46th District noted that,
“Arts and culture plays such an important role in the quest for racial and social justice. I am pleased to join with CCCADI in celebrating the beauty and history of the Haitian people, many of whom I represent in the 46th Council District of Brooklyn. She concluded by noting that “When African descendants fought for freedom in Haiti, they were fighting for the freedom of all people. They were in solidarity with freedom movements across the Caribbean and Latin America; the descendants of all of those freedom fighters are within our NYC community, today.”
Through various multidisciplinary artists and culture bearers, CCCADI’s Lakay Se Lakay, seeks to center Haiti and explore questions of its history, identity and connection to African descendant nations in the Caribbean, Latin America and the U.S., regions that represent part of the global African Diaspora.
“This process of re-membering and rewriting legacies is an act of revolution. The artists who will be part of Lakay Se Lakay are changemakers in telling their stories. Their truths are narratives of passion and purpose which gives the world a new perspective of Haiti. Their existence, generations later, is a revolutionary act of migration, cultural preservation, and innovation,” said Sabine Blaizin, Director of Programs, CCCADI.
(L-R) Sabine Blaizin, Director of Programs at CCCADI, Juvanie Piquant of Council Member Rita Joseph’s office, Melody Capote, Executive Director of CCCADI, Council Member Mercedes Narcisse look at CCCADI’s Rhythm, Bass and Place: Through the Lens exhibition.
Lakay Se Lakay is set to launch in January of 2024, timed with the closing year of the United Nation’s International Decade For People of African Descent and the 220th anniversary of Haitian independence. As a 47-year-old organization that is dedicated to advancing cultural equity and racial and social justice for African descendant communities, CCCADI seeks to launch specific programming that uplifts the rich and powerful history of Haiti as the catalyst for igniting Black & Brown freedom movements in the Western hemisphere and beyond. With New York City boasting the largest concentration of Haitians in the United States, as well as one of the oldest established Haitian communities in the country, offering a year of intergenerational cultural affirmation and exchange supports the foundational strength of the future of this community.
The meeting builds off of April’s Legislative Convening for the New York City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC) featuring Council Member for New York City’s 36th District Chi Ossé as the keynote speaker. Held at CCCADI and organized by New York City arts and culture leaders representing organizations and communities of color, the convening highlighted the city’s inequitable distribution of funds toward organizations that serve as the hubs that invest in and cultivate artists of color. These leaders, including CCCADI’s Executive Director, Melody Capote, emphasized their ongoing call for council support in having organizations of color be brought up to a “level playing field” with their white counterparts.
CCCADI seeks to continue working with city council members to create strategies and solutions that result in advancing racial and social justice through the use of art and culture as a critical form of civic engagement.
The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), is an arts, culture, education and media organization that advances cultural equity, racial and social justice for African descendant communities. CCCADI’s programs serve children/youth, families, young professionals, elders, local and international artists, and practitioners of African-based spiritual traditions. Through our work CCCADI offers a collective space where African descendants honor the contributions of the global African Diaspora through exhibitions, performances, conferences, educational programs and international exchanges. Learn more at www.cccadi.org
Viannca Vélez firstname.lastname@example.org 551-358-3002