by Anne DeLello ’20 A&E Staff
Providence College students gathered in Moore Hall on March 27 to discuss and learn about the Hispaniola Effect. The event was put on by both the Board of Programmers (BOP) and the Afro-Caribbean Association, and it allowed students to share and learn about the island that is home to both Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
They started the conversation talking about the two parts of the island of Hispaniola, and where people tend to go when they emigrate from Haiti or the Dominican Republic to the United States.
Kingsley Metelus ’21 is one of the members of both BOP and the Afro-Caribbean Association who put on this event. When speaking, Metelus emphasized that the purpose of the event was to “celebrate the culture” of both Haiti and the Dominican Republic here in the United States, and more specifically here on the PC campus.
According to both campus organizations, the intent behind having events like the Hispaniola Effect is to do exactly that. Moreover, these events are meant to “emphasize unity” among students at PC as well as to get these students to “continue the conversation” when they leave the event.
There was a sense of camaraderie among students in the room, and the concept of continuing the conversation seemed to be promising. Moore Hall hosts many events like the Hispaniola Effect, and if the conversation from events like this one continues throughout campus, it may encourage a more diverse group to attend these events moving forward.
The event also had food, a major draw at any event hosting students, and a few dance performances as well. The traditional dancing was accompanied by lively music, making for a fun atmosphere in the room.
Michelle Garcia, a student at University of Massachusetts-Lowell, performed as well, showcasing her own spoken word poetry. Garcia is a self-described “Afro-Latina poet,” and she describes that “one of the struggles of being Latina is that we can’t speak Spanish” when growing up in the United States. She went on to say, “people try to take away you being Dominican or you being Hispanic because you can’t speak your language.” Garcia channels these messages through her poem, “Letters From a Poet to Her Mother Tongue.”
Garcia continued the conversation that began earlier in the night with the discussion of the history of Hispaniola. She showed that spoken word poetry is one way to keep the conversation going surrounding the island, and those who come to America from Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Metelus rounded out the event with a few poems about Haiti. The first poem, titled “Flight 1804,” consists of satirical guidelines for Haitians immigrating to the U.S., outlining the unfair opposition that immigrants face when entering the country. Another poem read by Metelus, “Black Magic,” addressed the stereotypes surrounding “voodoo” in Haitian culture.
The Hispaniola Effect brought together a group on the PC campus to celebrate this island of Hispaniola, and to ensure that there is conversation about it here at PC.