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Why ‘Naturalization’ Laws in the Dominican Republic are not just a “Dominican” Problem

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Haitian laborer in Domincan Republic 
By: Amberly Alene Ellis
Photo Credits: Amberly Alene Ellis


When Haitian representative of the Nation of Islam, Joseph Makhandal spoke at the Justice or Else March led by Louis Farrakhan in October, whispers and chattering from the lips of black and brown faces spilled through the National Mall.

Though the conflict of naturalization in the Dominican Republic is not a new development, the subject has recently surfaced in mainstream media outlets. At most, the coverage has been severely shallow. Many black and brown American people do not know the deep history of the issue or what it means for their own collective struggles in the United States.I argue for fighters against the devaluing of black American bodies to critically access the global infrastructures of racial injustice. In particular, these fighters for justice in America should examine how injustice is sustained for their very close neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Cuba Through the iPhone 6

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Masters of the Digital Divide: The Past and Future of Hip Hop in Cuba

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Hip hop lives in Havana. On late weekend nights, the sound of stereo systems may surprise you. Salsa, bolero and rumba can blend with the steady bass of the most up to date Hip hop tracks. It can also ease into old school Hip hop beat that could take any Hip hop lover back to the golden days. In Cuba, Hip hop music has played a particularly integral role in the shaping of a youth subculture. Hip hop music sprouted in the days of the ‘special period’ of Cuba. After the fall of the Soviet Union, in 1989, Cuba would never be the same.

Economic hardship drove youth to search for new ways of self-expression. For some young Cubans, the struggles expressed by African American Hip hop artists connected to the marginalization that blacks in Cuba would experience in the 90’s as the economic disparity and the lack of equal opportunities made it more obvious that the racial problem in Cuba were no longer something that could be concealed. Hip-hop would provide a voice to the voiceless. In Cuba, Hi…

Textures of Haiti

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New Adventures in Haiti and Dominican Republic!

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As of last week, I have returned from Port au Prince, Haiti. It was so hard to leave this time around. As usual, I am making adjustments to the Washington DC weather. I  tried my best not to think about the snow that would greet me upon my arrival! I finished up on the photography project that I started in  La Piedra, Dominican Republic last year. Here is a small sneak peak of some of the portraits that I took. There are so many stories to tell....