Voices for the voiceless

Dwa Fanm, a Brooklyn-based human rights organization, presents Voices of Women 2011, on Friday, June 17, 2011 at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, at Long Island University, Brooklyn campus, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The commemorative function will celebrate the lives and honor the contributions of Haitian feminist icons Magalie Marcelin, Anne-Marie Coriolan and Myriam Merlet, and singing activists “Toto” Bissainthe, Lumane Casimir, and Martha Jean-Claude.

Throughout the 1900s, Haitian singers Toto, Martha, and Lumane used their timeless music as a platform to depict women’s experiences, speak out against injustices and stand up for human rights.

Dwa Fanm

While those three passed away on their own time, last year’s devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12th tragically claimed the lives of Magalie, Anne-Marie and Myriam, three revered icons in the fight for women’s and human rights. Voices of Women 2011 aims to pay tribute to each of them by interconnecting their respective crafts and talents.

“We are honoring the activists through those singers because, through song, the story of women’s struggle can be immortalized,” reflected Dr. Carolle Charles, Dwa Fanm board chairwoman, who knew both Myriam and Magalie closely. “The feminists were artists and the artists were also feminists – by combining their contributions, we want to show the myriad dimensions of women’s lives and impact on society.”

Voices of Women 2011, a fundraiser to benefit the women and girls of Dwa Fanm, will begin with an hour-long cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m. during which guests will participate in a silent auction.

Starting at 7:30 p.m., a two-hour concert tribute will feature performances by renowned artists Buyu Ambroise, Felina Backer, Melanie Charles, Pauline Jean, Val Jeanty, and Michèle Voltaire Marcelin. For ticket reservations or sponsorships (reserved seating included), visit www.dwafanm.org/events.php.

Since it was founded in 1999, Dwa Fanm’s programs have helped empower women, young girls, and families at risk in the New York Haitian community, as well as the Caribbean and African communities at large. Dwa Fanm’s comprehensive programs have been developed in response to the urgent needs facing women and girls in the Haitian and broader black immigrant communities.

To this end, Dwa Fanm maintains five core programs that address three broad issues: Violence Against Women; Poverty; and Human Rights. Through service, education, advocacy and grassroots programs, Dwa Fanm works to end discrimination, violence, and other forms of injustice in New York City and abroad.

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