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A Tribute to Haitian Women - 1804 to 2004

Haitian women are the economic backbone of Haiti. They carry life over barren mountains, always walking. Over mountains, and more mountains, down two centuries of dry rivers and floods, past countless governments and through turmoil, they are there, walking. Walking to till fields, to build, plant, cook, carry water, nurture babies, domesticate animals, go to market, and now, work at assembly plants. Without roads, doctors or schools for their children, always moving, always working, surviving the mountains, forest, hills and valleys of Haitian life. Their identities and commitments expressed through actions not theories. But they have inspired and given birth to many movements.

Haitian women courageously marched along side Haitian men right into the mouths of European cannons to help eliminate European chattel slavery in the Western Hemisphere.

They not only took up arms, fought against slavery and won their liberty - they also won their voting rights before any other women in the Western Hemisphere. They are thus unmatched as pioneer in the struggle for human rights. They are the daughters of:

Anacaona. The valiant Taino queen who refused to be enslaved and died fighting for the liberty of her people.

Manbo Cecile Fatiman. The famous Haitian priestess who, on August 14, 1791, presided at the Bwa Kayiman ceremony with Boukmann, where Haitians decided, once and for all, to live free or die!

Ezili Danto. The spiritual mother of Haiti, symbol of Black independence, self-determination, justice, equality and freedom. Ezili Danto, the Haitian love and warrior goddess, is the spiritual presence and power behind the countless, unknown Haitian women who fought alongside Toussaint, Petion, Dessalines and Christophe to create the first Black Republic in the world. The first country in the world to publicly claimed Vodun as a national religion.

Today, Haitian women, these liberators, continue this long legacy as warriors, struggling daily to overcome the modern slavery of a world economy dominated by powers still hostile to their people's sovereignty and development. They are heroic leaders on the cutting edge of the human rights struggle at home and abroad.

Ayibobo pou ou Neges D'Ayiti Toma. Fanm vanyan, fanm zantray, fanm lakay. Onè e respè for all that you've battled, endured and overcome. I am Marguerite Laurent, happy 200th anniversary Haiti.

 

(c) December, 2003 by Marguerite Laurent. All rights reserved.

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