In Liberia, while hope is an influential and potent force, it needs back-up. We can apply this lesson in Chicago, where so many youth do not feel hope–and we are dealing with our own epidemic of violence.
The first family we visited was a widowed mother with HIV and four boys. The second family we visited was a mother and a father of four. It was difficult for us having such limited abilities to help.
We are sad to learn that Margot Adler has passed away. She was a longtime National Public Radio (NPR) correspondent, author, and the granddaughter of Alfred Adler whose work inspired the founding of our School. She also was a friend.
As a person who can blend in as Dominican or Haitian, I have been completely impacted by issues of colorism and ethnicsim in the Dominican Republic. And I realize that racism needs to be addressed as a global determinant to health.
Following the fall of Communism, there were a great many social, educational, and economic needs to be addressed. Aeropagus Institute was created to meet local needs in the areas of education, social work, and counseling services.
We have had the opportunity to be involved with all three.
It breaks my heart and sunders my soul to observe the sex workers here, to see young girls and women the same age as my nieces wooing white male tourists for sex in order to eat, to have a roof overhead or beds to sleep in, to care for a sick family member, to survive. A selfish part of me wishes I didn’t know what I know.
This morning stood out apart from my typical graduate student morning. I woke up knowing that we were going to meet with officials from the United Nations. Our aim is developing a mental health assessment for refugees migrating to the Dominican Republic.
This has been my experience for the past two weeks in the Dominican Republic. Other women have been subjected to much worse, and you could spend hours listening to the harassment they’ve faced for their gender identities. This is among the struggles that transgender women face.
My experience as a volunteer working with Heartland Alliance in the Dominican Republic has been complex and very eye-opening. I thought I was aware of human rights issues here until I arrived and began immersing myself in the culture.
Hope is the backbone of equality. Through the lens of hope, it feels fitting to wrestle with my experience, and mixture of synchronous and conflicting emotions and reflections, attending yesterday’s Caravan of Pride in the Dominican Republic.
Today we attended the annual Caravana Orgullo GLBT (Pride Parade) in Santo Domingo. For some of us, it was our first Pride Parade ever; for others, it was our first Pride Parade outside of the U.S. We didn’t know what to expect.
Today, we enjoyed a free day visiting the beaches of Santo Domingo–from the private, quiet beaches, to the popular and controversial beach of Boca Chica, which we’ve learned so much about through our readings.
Today, we had the pleasure of visiting Caritas Dominican, a faith-based clinic that provides a multitude of treatment services, including mental health care to the poor and marginalized people.
Today we toured the socioeconomic spectrum in Santo Domingo, including two public hospitals. We discovered that military personnel serve to keep hospital visitors safe from crime, but also block some seeking entry to hospital services.
We believe that current systems steal away the future of too many young people—predominantly young men of color. We hope that through our REAL Justice initiative, we can reverse this trend.