Dominicans Love Haitians Movement is utilizing performance and storytelling to reflect and reconcile with over 500 years of Eurocentrism. It is exhuming mythological injustices designed and instituted by colonialism, dictators and plutocrats to instil fear, prejudices and oppression. Using art as a vehicle for unravelling biases and bigotry; healing wounds instituted by racial stigmas and by creating spaces to manifest the possibility of and the ability to witness violent acts without deflection, amnesia, or suppression and voicing those acts so they no longer hold power or designate who we are as human beings.
The catalyst for the project was in 2009 learning that my father’s grandmother was Haitian, he kept this secret for over 70 years. In 2013 I then learned of the impending legislature 168-13 that would, retroactively from 1929, denationalize and leave stateless more than 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent. Therefore, the vision of the movement is to bring these complex dissonant experiences to the forefront through participatory art and facilitation to formulate dialogues, reflections and restore compassion and healing to create a future from an unimagined place and bring communion to the island of Kiskeya Ayiti.
The project challenges current thinking with respect to how Dominicans view their history. It utilizes language in shifting the current sociological framework of oppression. The name of the project in and of itself challenges the thinking that love can exist between two nations that have been at odds with each other since the 1800s. It is imperative to dismantle the myths of race that have been instituted and internalized as hard-core values and a belief that continues to perpetuate hate and separates people by creating “others” who are subsequently used as scapegoats and seen as less than human.
Clarivel Ruiz, Founder/Creator
Clarivel Ruiz daughter from Kiskeya Ayiti Bohio (aka Hispaniola aka the Dominican Republic and Haiti), raised in NYC on the ancestral bones and covered shrines of the Lenape people. In 2016 we initiated Dominicans Love Haitians Movement to celebrate the beauty of our commonalities and heal from the traumas of colonization.
We are alumni of Hemispheric Institute’s EmergeNYC, Culture Push’s Utopian Fellow, a Civic Practice Seminar participant at the Metropolitan Museum, The Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship at CCCADI, a 2019 Brooklyn Arts Council award recipient and an MFA graduate of CUNY, City College.