Wednesday, October 1, 2014
BCRW, 101 Barnard Hall
Free & Open to the Public
Altagracia Jean Joseph is a 29 year old law student and human rights activist who is one of the Dominican Republic’s most outspoken youth leaders in the movement to defend citizenship rights for people of Haitian descent. Born in Batey Esperanza, one of the oldest “company towns” constructed to keep Haitian laborers close to the sugar plantations where they worked, Altagracia has organized with cane workers to improve their opportunities and living conditions. She has also worked as a community health educator, fighting the spread of malaria, dengue fever, malnutrition, and sexually-transmitted disease in these communities, where the government provides little or no public healthcare.
Over the past decade, Altagracia and others have fought legal battles to prove their citizenship while their government has moved to denationalize hundreds of thousands of children born to Haitian immigrants. Altagracia is currently a leader of the campaign “Soy Dominicano Como Tu” (I am Dominican, Like You), and has collaborated with several Dominican human rights groups, including Centro Bonó, Movimiento Unidos de Mujeres Dominicano Haitiana (MUDHA), and The Socio-Cultural Movement for Haitian Workers (MOSCTHA) to respond to this crisis. From 2013-2014, she was a weekly correspondent with an international Haitian community radio program, Lakou New York, helping to keep the Haitian diaspora informed about the ongoing challenges faced by her community and build transnational ties.
Hosted by Miriam Neptune, Barnard Library/IMATS