by Veroneque Ignace, Founding Artistic Director of Kriyol Dance! Collective.
Edited by Marie Antoine, Kriyol Dance! Collective's Public Voice
During undergraduate studies at Williams College, I began to cultivate my interest in public health. As a Chemistry major, concentrating in Africana Studies, and engaging in intense dance study, I was involved in educational and practice-based experiences that supported rigorous learning and understanding of people, culture, science, and health. From hearing my first public health seminar at the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, to studying abroad learning about the Chilean health system’s structural inequity, to completing an honors thesis on inherited trauma, racism, health, and wellness, my passion for public health matured. These opportunities paved the way for the most impactful personal and professional experience I would have in 2015 post-graduation - the failure of my first community-based health initiative, Resist. Restore.
Immediately following Williams, I endeavored to co-build Resist. Restore. Inc., a “global-health-arts” initiative aimed at using community engagement, arts, and scholarship to address the multiple effects of trauma among people of African descent, living in under-resourced communities, in Haiti, Jamaica, and the United States. This initiative very quickly was organized as a short-lived non-profit organization.
Today, on the 8th anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti, I am being overwhelmed with emotions making it truly difficult to meditate, reflect, and pray for peace, for solace. The Resident-Alien-In-Chief continues to test these God-given nerves of mine with comments that, at minimum, solidify his existence as the Anti-Christ, as a racist bigot, and as the pink version of the mucous in the Mucinex commercials.
OVERTURE...With all that is happening in the world — the pending election of either evil or evil-er to the United States presidency, the ever-present process of gentrification in my own backyard, the slandering of Black women’s edges while they slay gold-medal rankings at the Olympics and my own personal struggles (e.g. to find proper hair moisturizer for my locs) — I feel almost guilty writing a piece whose purpose is neither to critique nor evaluate nor call to protest. SIKE. The goal of this piece is to simply reflect and that is important. I have no guilt about that.
Sak Rete Ou? (What's Stopping You? in Haitian Creole), holds space for reflections, meditations, poetry, video blogs, and capacity to captivate readers through creative writing. To the question, sak rete ou?, we respond "Nou Se Kriyol!" (We are the Children! in Haitian Creole), implying and calling on the strength, kindness, and revolution of our Haitian ancestors to move forward!