The powerful Kriye Bode community Peniel Guerrier has grown in New York City demonstrates his impact as a culture catalyst and sustainer of Haitian cultural arts. What we might not realize here in the U.S. is that the practices we have the privilege to study and enjoy in NYC are continuously under threat in Haiti itself. As The First Black Republic, Haiti has an amazing valiant history of Black independence and vital cultural practices. However, persistent entrenched colonial ideologies cast African-descended culture (and thus Haitian folkloric dance) in a negative light, the nation’s current ongoing political instability is fueled by U.S. intervention into Haiti’s self-governance. These factors create an environment in which dance and related Afro-Haitian culture are not valued or supported in society at large.
Having built up a strong community base and profound vision for Haitian cultural education in New York City over 20 years, Peniel is ready to bring the work back home. He has started constructing a building that will serve as a hub for educational and cultural revitalization. Now is our opportunity to invest in his vision, giving back and towards rich, culturally-rooted futures in Haiti.