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We Are The Caribbean

Caribbean Art is Coming to Miami

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Art Basel is the leading global platform connecting collectors, galleries, and artists. It originated in Basel, Hong Kong, followed by the Miami Beach sector that came about in the years following being established. It is known to be a driving force in supporting galleries as they nurture the careers of artists. The five-day event also serves as a commitment to increasing the transparency and accountability of the art market. Initiatives, including Art Basel Cities and the recently announced Art Basel Inside, overall are striving to create unique artist-led experiences and strengthen local art scenes. Throughout the whole Basel experience, guests have the options of which art they can browse through by paying attention to which scenes will be set and where. If you are looking to support your local Caribbean talent, there is opportunity for that at Art Beat Miami.

Art Beat Miami is an annual satellite art fair showcasing emerging and renowned artists from Haiti and around the world. Put on in the heart of Downtown Little Haiti, Art Beat Miami features emerging and renowned artists, painters, sculptors, art exhibits, murals, performers and musicians. The festival brings together multidisciplinary artists working in collaboration to highlight the culturally rich and diverse creativity of local artists and the Caribbean Diaspora here and beyond. It is an experience of art, cultural, exchange, food, fashion and music inspired by Haiti and artists worldwide. During Art Basel Week, the Little Haiti Community invites you to discover multidisciplinary works of art by internationally recognized artists at the Caribbean Marketplace of the Little Haiti Cultural Center. Enjoy live music, food, mural exhibitions, fashion shows, special events, and conversations with artists.

At Art Beat Miami, a half-dozen Miami artists present work focusing on Haiti. In its sixth year, the fair is hosted by Little Haiti Optimist, Northeast Second Avenue Partnership and Haiti’s Ministry of Culture and Communications. Among the Haiti-based artists included are Olivier A. Gantheir (OliGa) and Claudia Apaid, who came to our studio to chat with Patrick on the air about what they will be showcasing and their specific experiences with the art scene as a Caribbean artist.

Caribbean art has always reflected the region’s rich past and the various waves of migration.

Incorporating different styles of European art with its own culture, Caribbean paintings should be read as a collage of all the different periods of island’s heritage.

With the exception of Haitian art, critics suggest that it was only in the 20th-century that we witness evidence of the local creation from Caribbean artists.

It will be very exciting to see the modern take on history repeating itself through the hard work of all the artists showcasing their work at Art Beat Miami 2019.

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The art fair kicks off 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4th, with a free musical performance in the Caribbean Marketplace and runs through Sunday, December 8th. All events will take place at the Little Haiti Cultural Center and Caribbean Marketplace, 212 NE 59th Terr., Miami, FL.

Information at www.artbeatmiami.com / 305-492-7868

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Think of It This Way…

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To those who are paying attention, it is no secret that Haiti is in turmoil. A quick catch up for those who are unaware, protests leaders in Haiti have called the people to the streets after being fed up with poverty, scarcity and corruption. Year after year, the country continues to rank the poorest in the Western hemisphere; more than half the population lives on less than $2.49 a month. Thousands have continued to march since this all began which mostly just turns into riots as civilians spill oil and burn down anything in their way.

As you can imagine, many meetings, debates and acts of desperation have been put together to get these acts in the community to ultimately come to a stop, but nothing has helped. It is almost as if, unless something changes soon to make civilians happy, Haitians will just have to wait out the storm caused by themselves and/or their neighbors. Stanford classics professor Ian Morris does in his book, “War! What Is It Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots” suggest the thesis that human progress has been helped, rather than hindered, by war. In hopes of shedding some light over this darkness that is currently surrounding our headlines, that is the thesis we will explore as well.

For very obvious reasons this has been one of the worst times in Haiti’s history but, without this uprising many things wouldn’t be on their way of being reworked. Post this “war” stage, it is the hope that the community will be given what they want or, if not 100% satisfied, then at least some sort of compromise will be made to settled some of the hearts spearheading these riots. And, when the smoke has eventually cleared the city will need to be rebuilt. In that act, Haiti will have a brand new community to house their reworked economy. These things don’t happen overnight and are most likely very far from easy to set in stone and move forth with as simply as reading about the idea sounds, but when you have nothing left to fight and you are just waiting for others around you to make it stop, these are all hopeful places one can take their mind.

More internally rather than just for the good of the society, to endure these kinds of living conditions (where every day you come outside your home there is “war”) one has to give credit to their own strength. Moving forward, our people should be reminded of these times and how they kept pushing as a reminder of how powerful they can be facing any obstacle (as small as family issues or as big as this).

In all this, holding on to gratefulness is key. There are many things about their government and who stands with them that the people of Haiti are now aware of all because of these past trying weeks.

We continue to pray for the safety and sanity of the Island but also hope better is to come as there can be exciting life after such devastation.

Lack of Education in the Caribbean

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Fortunately for those living in the states, education is heavily enforced. So much so that officials will come knocking on home doors in search for children who are no longer attending school in hopes of flipping the narrative. Unfortunately, though, our kin in the Caribbean cannot relate. Education in the Caribbean, most specifically literacy, is very rarely stressed at all. If you go, great. If you don’t, not many areas get those visits previously mentioned, so, children kind of just go without. The circumstances are most times so much more different though. Most children are needed to work back home, in fields or wherever they can find to keep their families supported. Though that reasoning is totally understandable, it could be doing more harm than good in the long run.

Individuals aren’t fully to blame for just deciding a life without schooling is the route they will take. Most Caribbean islands have kids take a placement test once they make it to a certain age (usually around their teens) that acts as sort of a divider between the “high achieving” and “lower achieving” students. The score you get on the exam either allows you to continue on an educational path (teachers, doctors, engineers, etc.) or suggests that you should go after a trade (a jeweler, mechanic, contractor, etc.). This act, depending on the individual could but both them and the society in jeopardy.

Most obviously, individual lose the ability to understand essential information. That can be for jobs or just in regular day-to-day life. Lower income then comes from lower quality jobs due to lack of schooling, but this idea can be reworked depending on the person because there are now so much more people starting successful businesses of their own. Little value is then given to education which in most cases will lead to generations after generations repeating the same cycle. Most importantly, for individuals who let it affect them in this way, lower self-esteem can be experienced which then gets into the conversation surrounding mental health and it is very clear how harmful not having a positive relationship with your mind is.

As far as society is concerned, since literacy is an essential tool for individuals and states to be competitive in the new global knowledge economy, many positions remain vacant for lack of personnel adequately trained to hold them. The higher proportion of adults with low literacy proficiency is the slower the overall long-term Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate which provides an economic snapshot of an economy and growth rate. It is also believed that the difficulty understanding societal issues lowers the level of community involvement and civic participation.

All of this isn’t known without individuals and organizations working towards rising these low rates concerning education in the Caribbean. People are traveling to teach, hosting workshops for growth and spreading awareness on the topic in hopes that more will learn about the help they or others they know can get.

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month

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Starting with diabetes, November is a very heavy month for awareness of detrimental diseases. We now, with the millions of other Americans effected, will put our focus on epilepsy. One in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point during their lifetime. It is one of the least understood of all the neurological diseases, yet it is the fourth most common. Epilepsy may occur as a result of a genetic disorder or an acquired brain injury, such as a trauma or stroke. During a seizure, a person experiences abnormal behavior, symptoms, and sensations, sometimes including loss of consciousness. During this month, many organizations join together to provide information about research, prevention, treatment and resources to fight epilepsy.

Epilepsy, unfortunately, has a long history of misunderstanding and stigmatism. Evidence of individuals suffering epilepsy in ancient history attributed it to spiritual or demonic possession. In fact, Hippocrates, the great Roman medical practitioner, shunned the notion that it was a supernatural phenomenon and believed that it derived from the brain, had hereditary aspects, and that how it presented itself in childhood also determined how it affected the rest of the individual’s life. Unfortunately, Hippocrates wasn’t believed until well into the 17th century, when the notion that it wasn’t demonic or spiritual possession finally subsided. But, the stigma associated with it continues to this day. One of the goals of National Epilepsy Awareness Month is to separate the disease from its historical and false reputations. Many countries still believe that it’s a sign of spiritual possession and, until 1980, individuals suffering from epilepsy weren’t allowed to marry in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), Sometimes we can prevent epilepsy.

  • Prevent traumatic brain injuries

Brain injuries are a frequent cause of epilepsy. Make sure you are riding safely in cars, using seatbelts, and on bikes, using helmets. If injury does happen, because avoiding such things are sometimes impossible, taking good care of the injury may help reduce the possibility of flaring up the disease.

  • Lower the chances of stroke and heart disease

These include eating well, exercising, and not smoking. These health actions may prevent epilepsy later in life.

  • Get vaccinated

Immunizations also lower your chances of contracting the disease as well.

  • Wash your hand and prepare food safely

An infection called cysticercosis is the most common cause of epilepsy world-wide. It is caused by a parasite and it is prevented through good hygiene and food preparation practices. Health screening and early treatment for cysticercosis can prevent epilepsy.

  • Stay healthy during your pregnancy

Some problems during pregnancy and childbirth can lead to epilepsy. Follow a prenatal care plan with your health care provider, like your doctor or nurse, to keep you and your baby healthy.

Epilepsy is usually treated by medications and in some cases by surgery, devices, or dietary changes. Many organizations stand with you and will help in any way they can (financially, psychologically, etc.) as you fight to normalize the return of your seizure if you do happen to be diagnosed.

In line with the “spreading awareness” theme, comment any tips surrounding epilepsy that you may have received and would like to share.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

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November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes. This year’s focus is on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In our Caribbean communities, it seems as though diabetes is rampant throughout our people. In every village, there is either someone in our immediate families or friends we know of who have the disease. That is why we believe joining the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) in spreading awareness will do our community some good.

We would like to note that there are two different types of the disease. Type 1, you are born with. Type 2, you are the cause of (based on how you treat yourself).  About 1:5 people who have diabetes are unaware that they even have the disease at all. It very important to catch diabetes early. Overtime, high blood glucose damages the blood vessels, which can damage the organs that these vessels supply. As one would assume, this can lead to a variety of health complications. That is why you don’t normally hear of people dying directly from diabetes, you hear they died from a failure of “x, y, z”. But, as you now see, that started because of their diabetes.

Not to sound like every Doctor you’ve ever visited but, being overweight and living a lifestyle with a lack of exercise is no good for you. Those two specific risk facts are the leading causes of type 2 diabetes. Like many things, family history of the disease makes you more susceptible to contracting it where other may not be. It is helpful, if the resources are present for you, to figure out what health issues many people in your specific blood line have consistently had, just so you are aware. Even if the resources aren’t available (you are not a part of a close family to be able to get the information, nobody really paid attention, etc.), you can take blood tests to get a panel screening of your entire DNA make up.

Just as murphy’s law states, “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”, if it is in your cards to attract this disease, you will. Life continues (on a healthier route), because now we are learning how to live with diabetes. Naturally, when people are faced with a problem that they are not sure how to solve yet, the solution seems so out of reach. In this scenario, that is not the case. Living a life with diabetes but outside of regular hospital trips is possible. You can live with this disease and never feel the negative side effects of it if you want. That “if you want” is an ode to moderation and being dedicated to seeing your health thrive. That’s eating a more balanced diet, only having your favorite treats once in a blue moon and trying out a new activity you make like to get your body moving. The best thing is that, as Caribbean people, many of us have already grown up reaching to the earth for our nutrients. We just have to relearn those habits.

Haitian Music

Top 5 Chart Toppers: Island vs Island

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For an artist, “making it” in their hometown is a huge accomplishment but making it overseas is where the true success lies. This month, instead of picking a specific island to focus on, we will focus on them all to figure out which area of the Caribbean has the United States rocking the hardest, the history of how that style came to be and the journey it took to make it over.

Jamaica

Reggae originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s and quickly emerged as the country’s dominant music. By the 1970s it had become an international style that was particularly popular in Britain, the United States and Africa. It was widely perceived as a voice of the oppressed. Reggae was later embraced in the United States largely through the work of Marley—both directly and indirectly (the latter as a result of Eric Clapton’s popular cover version of Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” in 1974). The dancehall DJs of the 1980s and ’90s who refined the practice of “toasting” (rapping over instrumental tracks) were spare headers to reggae’s politicization of music. By doing so, these DJs extended the market for reggae into the African American community.

Trinidad & Tobago

Originating in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1970s, Soca music combines funk, soul, and calypso to create a style of music that’s both soulful and catchy. Credited with the inspiration for Soca is Trinidadian-native Garfield Blackman, who combined traditional calypso music with Indo-Caribbean music in the 1960s, a fusion that led to the Soca style nearly a decade later. The grooves migrated to the states as the people did. One person put on another and Soca became widespread.

Haiti

‘Haiti’s national music,’ compas (also known by the French as compas direct and as konpa dirèk [or simply konpa] by Creole speakers. The botched spelling “kompa” is a result of a phonetic misunderstanding between French and Haitian Creole). Often described as a “modern merengue,” compas is wildly popular throughout the entirety of the Caribbean; though because of Nemours Jean Baptiste’s musical contributions to the genre, compas direct is normally seen as rooted in Haiti. Today, kompa’s impact is far-reaching and felt all throughout both the Caribbean nations and the rest of the world.

Barbados

Calypso music’s history traces all the way back to the 1700s and continues to be seen as a way of projecting the voice of African, French, and Caribbean peoples around the world. The Calypso style of music incorporates many different instruments as well as vocals to create a harmonized melody, with soulful intonations similar to those of the African spirituals sung during the days of African slavery. In fact, along with Reggae, Calypso music has always been identified as the music of the oppressed – in the 18th century, it was performed by the slaves of French planters in the French Antilles.

Which of the following Caribbean grooves do you move to? Did you know its origin?

October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October means very different things to people depending on who you ask. Some are excited for the leaves and temperatures of the air changing, some love the spooky vibes that Halloween brings, but it is also a time of awareness for breast cancer. All month long, survivors and supporters wear pink to celebrate those who have been affected, remember those who did not win the battle and shed light on the disease as a whole. The information being shared is not to scare you, but to bring our little piece of awareness into your home so you or someone you love will not be so strongly shaken by breast cancer. Although we wear pink during October, the following information should be kept with you all year long!

Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. Though alarming to hear the words “you have breast cancer”, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, when detected at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate is 99%. Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.

Some early detection good habits include:

[vc_message message_box_color=”grey”]Paying attention to the symptoms and signs:

  • A change in how the breast or nipple feels
  • A change in the breast or nipple appearance
  • Any nipple discharge (clear or bloody)

[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_color=”grey”]Be sensitive to the sign of any breast pain:

As women, we become desensitized to discomfort because we brush off any weird aches and pains as our menstrual cycle just preparing our body for its arrival, but not this time. It is very important to be extra sensitive about pain in areas like the breast because it can be a sign of breast cancer and, if caught early, can save your life.[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_color=”grey”]Perform self-examinations:

Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.

Some lumps may just be breast cysts, which are still important to check because the different between a cyst and a cancer cell cannot be dedicated by the naked eye.[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_color=”grey”]Stay up-to-date with breast exams (as previously stated):

A mammogram is an x-ray that allows a qualified specialist to examine the breast tissue for any suspicious areas.

  • Women 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years.
  • Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their healthcare professional whether mammograms are advisable and how often to have them.
  • Women who have no symptoms and no known risks for breast cancer should have regularly scheduled mammograms to help detect potential breast cancer at the earliest possible time.

[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_color=”grey”]Instill healthy eating habits:

These acts will not completely prevent cancer, but it will help reduce your risks:

  1. Maintain healthy weight
  2. Stay physically active
  3. Eats your fruits and veggies
  4. Do not smoke
  5. Limit alcohol consumption

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Men are not to be excluded from this conversation. All people, whether male or female, are born with some breast cells and tissue. Even though males do not develop milk-producing breasts, a man’s breast cells and tissues can still develop cancer.

Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to check for and assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment.

May this information serve you more as you continue on your journeys. If you have found any helpful tips or article surrounding breast cancer, please leave us a comment with the information included.

Whether one lost their battle, are still fighting it or are in remission, today and always we commemorate those who have been affected by breast cancer.

U.N. Withdraws from Haiti

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As we know, Haiti is experiencing one of its worst social, political and economic meltdowns in years. The United Nations (U.N.), driven most by initial pressure from the United Kingdom with the United States and others supporting, is exiting after 15 years. The U.N. began withdrawing military soldiers in 2017 with the closure of its U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (known by its French acronym MINUSTAH).

MINUSTAH has helped the Police Nationale d’Haiti to restore control of many neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince once controlled by gangs. A smaller Mission, MINUJUSTH, followed on 16 October 2017, composed of police and civilian staff. MINUJUSTH will assist the Government of Haiti to develop the Haitian National Police (HNP); to strengthen Haiti’s rule of law institutions, including the justice and prisons; and to promote and protect human rights. The overall efforts of the U.N. family in Haiti, including MINUJUSTH and the UN Country Team, will be guided by a longer term, common vision under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, as peacekeeping gradually gives way to development priorities.

For decades, the UN has stood with the Haitian people, supporting them in their quest for democracy, stability, security and the strengthening of their institutions and responding to many humanitarian disasters (helping to rebuild the nation after the tragic earthquake of 2010 and after Hurricane Matthew in 2016). The security situation in Haiti has vastly improved since the Mission’s establishment in 2004: kidnappings are down by over 95% and rates of homicides are among the lowest since 2013.

The U.N.’s decision came as the political gridlock between Moïse and his opponents went into a fourth week with businesses and schools still shuttered, and Haitians unable to leave home due to the protests and burning tires and barricades cutting off cities. While urging all sides to talk, the U.N. has also found itself thrust in a political melee. Thousands of protesters recently marched to the U.N. headquarters in Port-au-Prince to demand that it stop supporting Moïse, who faced a fraud-plagued presidential vote only to be accused of corruption and mismanagement during his 32 months in the presidency.

But for all the success the U.N. points to, critics highlight its failures. They look no further than present day Haiti, where after the U.N.’s last foreign police unit, 130 officers from Senegal, left on Sept. 30, local police officers have had their stations and cars set on fire, and guns taken by protesters. But the U.N., which has failed to get to the root of the dysfunction due to sovereignty concerns, isn’t totally to blame.

Haiti had five different governments during the U.N.’s 15-year presence, and all failed to transform Haitian society. While Haiti was dysfunctional 15 years ago, many problems have worsened.

Today, nothing works — not the courts, not schools, not government ministries.

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