York marks International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination

A multimedia exhibition and a performance celebrating the life of the late Caribbean poet Louise Bennett (affectionately called Miss Lou)  Wednesday at The Underground are among York events marking International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – March 21, 2007.

                                     Right: Poet Miss Lou

The exhibition, called "Colonizin’ in Reverse: Louise Simone Bennett, A Commemoration", focuses on the beloved poet, storyteller and radio broadcaster in Jamaica who popularized the vernacular language of the Caribbean. Bennett’s poetry critiqued discrimination and social hypocrisy while bringing the voice of Caribbean working class people to the world. York gave her an honorary doctorate in 1998.

The exhibition, open from 10am to 4pm in The Underground’s Contact Room, is an interactive digital installation that sketches Bennett’s life and work. It includes videos of Jamaican cultural traditions, a documentary on the anti-colonial struggle in Jamaica and translations of Bennett’s work on Jamaican folk traditions. The installation includes interviews with Caribbean Canadian artists and scholars whose work has been influenced by Miss Lou.

Two discussions are scheduled between 4 and 5:30pm.

The first is about "Racialization of HIV/AIDS". Panelists are Dr. Winston Husbands, director of research and program development at the AIDS Committee of Toronto, and co-Chair of the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario; and Pablo Idahosa, a professor in the York’s Division of Social Science, Faculty of Arts, and director of the African Studies Program.

The second is on "Employment and Human Rights", featuring Diana Capponi, Employment Works coordinator at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Entertainment follows from 5:30 to 7pm. On the theme of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Art and Soul of Miss Lou, presentations will be made by Owen Blakka Ellis, Honor Ford-Smith, Denise Jones, Mutadi & Friends, and Nicole Anderson.

All events take place in the Contact room at The Underground, York Student Centre.

The Miss Lou commemoration is an initiative of the Community Arts Program in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies and the Caribbean Studies Program at the University of Toronto. The Office of the Ombudsperson and Centre for Human Rights at York and the Community of United Jamaicans, a York student club, have been instrumental in supporting the project and in mounting the event at York. Additional support has also been received from York’s Division of Humanities and the Faculty of Arts.

For more information, contact Linda Grobovsky, senior adviser, education & communications, Office of the Ombudsperson and Centre for Human Rights at York, by phone at ext. 55682 or by e-mail at lgp@yorku.ca.