Welcome New Members and Other Community News

Welcome to all the new kiskeácity members who have recently signed up either through the feedblitz email newsletter, mybloglog or just through the various blog readers. It is great to know you're reading. I would love any and all feedback you may have, good or bad, so please make sure to speak your minds whether on email (kiskeyacity [dot]19997669 [at] bloglines [dot] com) or just by commenting on the site.

Congratulations to Harinjaka, a kiskeácity reader and fellow blogger from Madagascar who lives in France. In case you are not reading GV (shame on you!) Harinjaka just won the people's choice vote for best poem in the Global Voices Valentine's Day Poetry contest. The poem was in French too! Here it is for your pleasure:

l’Amour “MoraMora”

le soleil m’a prédit
que je croiserai ta route
mais que si tu n’es pas encore là
il ne faut pas que je m’inquiète
car tu entreras dans ma vie
façon doucement doucement

le vent m’a murmuré
que tu seras raffiné(e)
mais que… si tu n’es pas encore là
il ne faudrait pas que je m’inquiète
car tu entreras dans ma vie
façon doucement doucement

les oiseaux m’ont raconté
que tu seras réservé(e), très très soigné(e),
et surtout cultivé(e)
mais que … si tu n’es pas encore là
il ne faudrait pas que je m’inquiète
car tu entreras dans ma vie
façon doucement doucement

puisque tout est écrit
et puisqu’ils m’ont dèja tous dit
j’ai vraiment envie de croire
et même hâte de te voir
ne prend pas trop ton temps
façon doucement doucement

Click here for the full english translation, including an explanation of what Mora Mora means in Malagasy language and life. (View Harinjaka's blog.)

Also, I recently got the wonderful opportunity while in Miami for the WeMedia conference to meet another Mybloglog kiskeácity member and fellow blogger, Marvin Chéry. Marvin came with Karl of Karlito's blog, another member, and took some pictures of our dinner at Shoji Sushi on South beach, including the two yummy ones on this post. (View Marvin's tech-oriented blog and Karl's Haitan Music Industry blog.) Karl is pictured to the very right of the thumbnail.

Congrats also to Nightshift Chronicler and Geoffrey Philps for their lovely submissions to the GV poetry contest. (Geoffrey was the runner up for the people's choice, btw.) Scroll down here and look up their names to read their oeuvres.

Meanwhile, Jenn Carr, another blogger-reader just launched the Griot tour for Storycorps. See her blog WonNsaDaMaa to find out all about the launch and Storycorps Griot.

Special mention also for Lova (those damn Malagasies!) who just started a stint as Global Voices author. Lova will be writing a weekly post on what is taking place in Malagasy, English and French-speaking blogs of Madagascar for GV. He's already cranked out two: one on the recent Malagasy floods and one on French deportations of Immigrants there. Kudos, Lova! (View Lova's blog Rakoto's Rants.)

To Cathy Delaleu: I am reading your poetry and won't forger to invite you to the next (informal) Brooklyn Caribbean blogger gathering. To William Zick: Hope you are reading all of the Chevalier de St-Georges news possible on Jean-Claude Halley's Guadeloupe Attitude blog. (Dust off your French texts!) To Michael Deibert, thanks for the great Haiti reporting and personal comments. To Shel Israel, the kind words you wrote here and on Global Neighborhoods were much appreciated.

Ochan to my readers from Haiti, including my mom and bloggers Roody Edmé and Marcel Salnave. I love getting emails from you!

And to all my other readers who don't blog or whose names I don't know, please check in, email, sign up or send news so I can keep up with you! And of course, if it tickles your fancy, please feel free to comment, comment, comment. We speak, sing, snore and argue in at least three languages here...

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Masquerade Ball March 3 to Benefit Haiti-Based Fokal

My sister Laurette is part of GEMS, a women's group. They are organizing a wonderful Masquerade Ball this weekend March 3rd to benefit Haiti-based organization Fokal. Here is the official invite. Should answer all your questions about Fokal and GEMS.

Oh and in case you're not big on gowns or costumes, not to worry. I already asked and she said I could come in my cocktail dress. See you there!

On Saturday, March 3, 2007,
please join us for a Masquerade Ball.

Location: Adria Hotel and Conference Center
221-17 Northern Boulevard, Bayside, NY

Starting at 9PM

Contact: (201) 270-6345 or simplyGEMS2004@yahoo.com

This GEMS event will not only allow us to introduce ourselves to the community, but to continue our mission, by benefiting FOKAL.

Laurette Backer
Rose-Vony Duroseau
Nadja Giglio-Joseph
Farah Lamarre
Michele Lamarre
Jackie Prosper-St. Fort
Aster Tekabe
Kherlyn Veillard-Marcel
Cassandre Lamarre Williams
Tickets: $75.00/per person
(includes mask, cocktail hour, dinner, and wine)
GEMS was established in 2004 by an enthusiastic group of women who felt a need to create a place in which women of diverse yet familiar backgrounds could come together to create a support structure that would encourage the exchange of ideas; promote self-sufficiency by way of lucrative investments and business ventures; and implement programs and scholarships that will impact the well-being of our community for years to come.

FOKAL, Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libete/Fondation Connaissance et Liberte, is an independent foundation in Haiti supported by the Open Society Institute, and other international and local organizations.

It provides a range of educational, human development and economic activities to local communities and community civil society organization in the country. It has become the leading independent organization shaping the future of Haiti.

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Hyphenate This! Where's the Hip in Hip Hop Again?


Excerpt from January 18, 2007 Can't Stop Won't Stop email Newsletter by Jeff Chang:


Over the last four years, the Can't Stop Won't Stop blog has become one of the best loved rest-spots on the hip-hop information superhighway. No BS, no faux outrage, no bland recountings of uneventful weekends.

Emphasis here on the phrase "the hip hop blog you don't have to hate." When a foremost hip hop blogger and theorist has to sell himself that way, has hip hop lost its hipness?

Meanwhile Cora Daniels just published Ghetto Nation: A Journey Into the Land of Bling and the Heart of the Shameless. Excerpt from her website:

With Ghettonation, acclaimed journalist and author, Cora Daniels, takes on one of the most explosive issues in our country today in this thoughtful critique of America's embrace of a ghetto persona that is demeaning to women, devalues education, celebrates the worst African American stereotypes, and contributes to the destruction of civil peace.


Her investigation exposes the central role of corporate America in exploiting the idea of ghettoness as a hip cultural idiom, despite its disturbing ramifications, as a means of making money. She showcases Black rappers raised in privileged families who have taken on the ghetto persona and sold millions of albums.

Are we finally fed up?

Top: "I Had a Dream" (my title) by Mr. Case
Bottom: Cora Daniels, courtesy www.coradaniels.com

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Mathieu Eugene, Councilman ... Maybe Not

Says the New York Times:

Dr. Mathieu Eugene, made history on Tuesday when he became the first Haitian-born person elected to the Council. But when his lawyer asked the Council to delay Thursday’s scheduled swearing-in ceremony until the results of the special election were certified, questions erupted over Dr. Eugene’s eligibility to serve because he did not live in his district on election day. Dr. Eugene’s lawyer, Paul Wooten, said he had since moved into the district.

But election law experts interviewed by The New York Times yesterday were split on whether that satisfied legal requirements.

Someone forgot to do his homework.

Full Story

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Hyphenate This! Councilman Eugene & the Jamaican-Haitian Connection

Yvette (and her mother Una) Clarke saw Mathieu Eugene to victory in the special 40th Council District election in Brooklyn. (The seat was vacated by Yvette Clarke when she was elected to Congress.)

Interesting quote by Una Clarke (who was forced out of city politics by term limits) in
this Flatbush Courier article:
“Caribbean-Americans want to chart our own destiny. I think it is the immigrant dream and the immigrant experience that as soon as communities become mature enough, they take on responsibility for themselves.”

And then by Congresswoman (Yvette) Clarke:
“To the community, I want you to feel empowered today. In just four months, you sent a daughter from Jamaica to Congress and a son from Haiti to the New York City Council. We have come of age not only socially, not only economically, but politically. And, as we take our seats at the table, no one will be left behind.”

Sounds like the Congresswoman is looking ahead to future congressional elections by courting the Haitian-American vote.

Full Flatbush Courier article.

Photo: Caribbean flags for sale at Dance Africa 2006 in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

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Dr. Mathieu Eugene Elected to NY City Council

Dr. Mathieu Eugene won the 40th Council District seat to the NY City Council, becoming the first Haitian elected to the Council. This is great news for the Haitian community in NYC which has had a hard time getting it together politically in the past couple of decades.

Now though, let's hope that Dr. Eugene tackles issues important to his district and constituents and that he depart from local machine politics. That means, let's hope that he does more than simply rename streets after Caribbean figures. That of course is not just his burden to bear as those who got him elected must stand by him to support him while also holding him accountable.

According to the New York Sun, Dr. Eugene's main priority will be quality healthcare. That is a good start. Beyond that, the main point made by media about his track record is that he created a sports organization for youth. Hopefully there'll be more over time.

More about his personal background from the NYSun:

Dr. Eugene, 54, is the 14th of 17 children, a brother, Maxi Eugene, said. When the Eugene family began leaving Haiti, it split along gender lines — the women moved to Montreal and the men moved to Brooklyn. After attending medical school in Belgium, Dr. Eugene joined Maxi in New York in 1978, his brother said. Dr. Eugene's wife is a nurse; they have a 17-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter.

Also of interest, what this means for the future of the Haitian constituency in NY:

"You should see Haitians getting together more and more," Mr. Joseph, the co-founder and former publisher of Haiti Observateur, a French-and-English language newspaper published in Brooklyn, said. "They will find out when they get together they can have victory."

See full New York Sun article.

Other links:
  • New York Times article (Has great stats about Haitian community in NY, among other campaign and Eugene-related goodies.)

Photo: Haitian Store in Flatblush, in Brooklyn's 40th Council Disctrict. By satyadasa.

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Carnaval Here, Carnaval There, Carnival Everywhere

Photo by CaribbeanFreePhoto

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Goodbye Carnival 2007, Goodbye Tiga

The last time I saw Tiga (a.k.a. Jean-Claude Garoute) was 4-5 years ago in Haiti. As usual he was preaching and pontificating about art and the value of his various methods and schools. He was surrounded by the mill of children, women and disciples I had always known him to attract. I myself had been one of his students 10 years earlier as a teenager. Every saturday morning for several years, I traipsed up to Kaytiga near Place Boyer and --first as a student and later as an assistant -- attended one of his "artistic rotation" workshops for children. The method almost always disappointed parents eager to see their children draw or paint classically because Tiga was not about what he called "joli-joli" or nice figurative painting. Instead, he favored a complete sensory rotation in which children freely moved around from drumming to paint to clay and created what they fancied. The point was that Tiga believed in creative freedom and limitless expression.

When I saw him that last time, I can't say I was excited to hear the spiel all over again 10 years after leaving Haiti but it was unbelievable to see how his energy for life, art and the propagation of his teachings had stayed intact. The man was unstoppable!

And why wouldn't he be? All of his life had been spent creating safe havens of artistic expression and of daring bohemianism even under--and indeed despite-- the repressive Papa Doc years. The first institution he created was Poto Mitan in downtown Port-au-Prince in the 1950s I believe where he welcomed all and in particular groomed a whole generation of future modern Haitian painters including Philippe Dodard, Edouard Duval Carrié and Occénad. (It later became Kaytiga and survived to his death last December and through many different addresses.) And while he did Poto Mitan in the capital he also paired up with Maud Guerdes Robard to do the same in Soisson-La-Montagne, a rural area near Port-au-Prince but with farmer pupils -- a setting quite similar to his native Jérémie where he spent the first 6 years of his life. Basically, wherever he was -- in Haiti or abroad during his many travels -- Tiga spent his life bringing people of all walks of life together in spaces that invariably ended up being reminiscent of the Lakou, the unit of Haitian rural life.

I was shocked to find out about Tiga's death in January, one month after the fact. Death was so incompatible with the way he lived his life. It was in passing conversation with my mom who was then visiting. In many ways my mother Eddie Calvin Backer and Tiga are of the same ilk. People who spent their lives passing on knowledge and teaching people of all social classes, whether art as in Tiga's case or French, literacy and teacher training as in my mom's case. And just like one receives their mother's advice often begrudgingly only to find out later just how valuable and vital it was, I often received Tiga's teachings begrudgingly. Only to find out today as I mingle with Haitian-Americans full of questions about Haiti how lucky I was to have taken in his philosophy, that unique mix of Haitian artistic and folkloric sensibility laced with eclectic modernism.

What consoles me though is that in his lifetime, Tiga's very quality of almost never shutting up ensured that he did not only impact me but really a whole country. From the "post-naive" St-Soleil school of rural Haitian painters now known the world over to the modern school of the more cosmopolitan Port-au-Prince crop he mentored, many many more beyond me had the chance to take in his energy and spirit of expressive and artistic freedom.

So it made complete and total sense to me to find out that this year's Carnival was not only dedicated to him but also took on one of his favorite symbols, the sun, as a theme: "Solèy Leve" (Risen Sun). The sun was always present in his concepts. Saint-Soleil (Saintly sun) was the name of the painting school he made possible in Soissons La Montagne. Soley Brile (Burnt Sun) was the name of the technique he often used in his own paintings (using what I believe was a combination of ink and acid). And though my memory stops there, I'm sure any number of his other students can come up with any number of other solar references in his speech and ideas.

Now it's time for his former pupils to continue his work and legacy by firstly making sure that we document it for other young people in Haiti and elsewhere. Thank God we have blogs and the internet. It would be nice if all his former students took it upon themselves to use free online publishing of all sorts to make sure we or future generations don't forget his incredible spirit.

For more on Tiga's life and work check out Arnold Antonin's video documentary Tiga-Haiti: Rêve, Possession, Création, Folie.

Other Links:

Miami Herald Article on Tiga's Life

Top Photo: Tiga courtesy of Haiticarnival.org

Middle Photo: "La Ronde" by Dieuseul Paul in the Saint-Soleil style courtesy of artactif.com.

Bottom Photo: Painting by Tiga using the Solèy Brile technique.

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A Fat Tuesday For Haitian Tourism?

Two yeas ago at the Caribbean Studies Association conference held in Santo-Domingo, I found out that more is being done by the Haitian diaspora in Cuba and the United States to preserve certain Haitian cultural forms than is being done in Haiti.

This year's carnival, the last day of which --Mardi Gras [Fat Tuesday]-- is today, may be a long awaited departure from that trend. According to the Miami Herald, this year the Haitian government went all out and invested $2 million in the Carnival in order to encourage Haitian diaspora tourism in Haiti. Judging from the exponential growth in hits to this blog since I started blogging about Carnival three days ago, I guess the government is right that Haitians abroad are starved for any and all Haitian culture they can find. It seems that in the case of Haiti, the web is providing diasporans a way to stay in touch with their country. Hopefully, all the live online carnival (I know of at least 4 websites which were broadcasting), regained security, colorful costumes and the official website will indeed help bring more "dyaspora" home next year.

The Miami Herald quotes the tourism Minister as saying:
''We are making the statement that there is not a problem of insecurity in Haiti. Yes, there is insecurity in certain areas, but not in the entire country,'' said Tourism Minister Patrick Delatour. ``This is not a country either at war or one coming out of civil war.''

That's all good and this statement was long overdue. Here's my question to the Haitian government though, why can't it secure the country the same way it did during the 3 "fat"days of carnival all year long?

Photo: Haiti Carnival Official Website.

carnaval - mardi gras


More Carnaval (Jacmel Mas Videos)

Today is Carnaval Day 1.

Check out this wonderful podcast by Public International Radio which samples previews of rootsy Haitian carnival songs! Offers gossip on Sweet Mickey's fake retirement of last year (he is back this year anyway) and lots of well curated tidbits on Haitian culture and musical genres.

Also, more video. This time, excerpts of two band a pye i.e "mas" from January pre-carnival festivities in Jacmel. (Again, email and blog reader viewers, please come to the site.)

Watch Port-au-Prince Carnival live at sakapfet.com.

Update 2/19: You can also watch the carnival live at http://www.belradio.com/.

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Carnaval Is Here!

Carnival kicked off in Haiti today, one day earlier than usual so that the festivities will be for 4 instead of the usual 3 days!
There's tons of goodies on YouTube but I curated Kreyòl La's 2007 carnival song for you because they are featured in today's early kickoff on the Champ-de-Mars. Enjoy! NYC will hopefully get to hear it on the parkway on Labor day.

You can also watch the festivities live at Sakapfet.com starting Sunday Feb. 18 and check out Karlito's excellent preview of this year's festivities.

Update 2/18: Note that the official carnival site features all 24 carnival songs.

Update 2 on 2/18: Looks like Archivex Haiti is aggregating Carnival blogs and news. Sadly, no RSS or Atom feed!

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What Exactly is a Blog Again? (Video)

This video, Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us ties in nicely with some of the debates at/about WeMedia this year, especially the point that "we are the media." Made by Michael Wesch, an anthropology professor at Kansas State University it also answers the questions "What is a blog?", "What is xml?"and "What is web 2.0?" by charting the code developments that made blogs possible. Oh and did I mention it was just plain fun, exciting and empowering? (For those of you reading from blog readers or from email, you'll have to come to the site to view the video.)

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WeMEdia Session on "Soft Power"

This panel, held Feb. 8 at We Media Miami was about the distribution of power and what it's like to live and work on the internet. Here are the sound bites that caught my attention:

Jay Rosen
Teaches journalism at NYU.

"a traditional view of power sees power as a scarce resource (i.e. power of government or microsoft). power of guns money or institutions. soft power is not a scarce resource. it is an arrangement of people to get things done. the cost for like minded people to locate each other, share info, collaborate and make things is going down continually. people can do all kinds of things together that they could not do before."

"it's distributed because you can't go to where it's located to find it."

"lots of communities that didn't know they had numbers can now discover themselves and come together on the internet."

"the blog was just the leading edge of a self-publishing revolution. But it's the self-publishing part that is going to change the world ... because the publishing part used to be owned by big media."

"blogging was just the 1st thing that emerged that alerted us to this power shift."

He added that the audience is no longer atomized and can come together.

"let's take that and figure out how we do real reporting and have thousands of people come together and work on one story."

He added that in order to create online communities, you have to have a shared original vision. that shared original vision is what makes wikipedia work.

To the question "can soft power be sized up?" he answered no; the number of comments does not signify the extent of soft power.

David Sasaki

Latin-America Editor, Global Voices

Moderator Chris Nolan's words of introduction: "GV has become a kind of blogger's foreign news services. One of the more reliable foreign news services out there which is one of the reasons Reuters has decided to partner with them."

David's sound bites:
"soft power is the power to make yourself heard. 10 yrs ago that was reporters and columnists now everyone gets to make themselves heard because of google."

" I am against the echo chamber. what we really want is dialogue."

"a GV article is a collaboration of various stories." (example of jay rosen's point that future of the article is collaborative.)

Sure enough, the question whether GV supplements or replaces tradtional news came up and david explained that we are the aggregator that edits, unlike technorati.

Val Prieto

Babalu.org, conservative cuban site

has contributors from all over the country. didn't want cuban diaspora's story to be lost. has been doing babalu for 4 years. "we are now publishing stories from people in cuba who don't have a publisher or a blog." "we get their voices through email, text, voicemail etc."


two commentors in the audience stressed that having more diverse information online does not mean that things are being done about the information. (in other words, old-fashioned activism is still needed for the issues people care about.)

More of my WeMedia notes:
Internet & Community Panel

Photos by CarribeanFreePhoto

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Blog Your Way to a Better Country?

A summary of how Madagascar, an island nation on the East African coast, has gotten its blogging community in gear, from my GV post on Francophonie blogs in 2006. (Again, something the Haitian government would be wise to emulate, now that it seems to want to invest in country branding.)
Madagascar though lacking La Reunion's aggregator and French ressources, managed to pull together a very cohesive and active blogosphere with a collective blog Malagasy Miray, over a dozen active bloggers (this does not include their growing crop of English and Malagasy speaking bloggers), a blogger's meet January 5th, "Malagasyscopy", a "communal post" on Malagasy identity abroad to which over 20 Malagasy bloggers contributed their 2 cents. One wonders whether this incredible momentum is not owed to the government's recent efforts to refurbish the country's image but active, enthusiastic diasporans probably deserve credit too.

(Madagascar is an island nation in the Indian Ocean with a population of about 19 million.)

Two pictures of Anakao, Madagascar sunset, by Daniel Quip

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Global Voices Valentine's Day Poetry Contest


Global Voices is having a poetry contest. Just click on the above badge, read the instructions and enter your submission in the comments section. It can be in any language but would ideally have some regional coloring. Happy Valentine's Day!

Global Voices organise un concours de poésie pour la St-Valentin. Pour y participer, cliquez sur le badge ci-dessus et tapez votre poème dans la section commentaires. Votre poème peut être en Français et doit de préférence avoir une couleur régionale. Prière de me faire savoir si vous avez des questions sur les règles. Si suffisamment de monde le réclame, je promets de les traduire. Joyeuse St-Valentin! (Vous avez jusqu'à minuit heure du Pacifique ou GMT-8 pour vous faire entendre.)

African Dictators in Trouble

More panel notes to come on WeMedia. (I just got back to NY and have been catching up on sleep.) But in the meantime, check out recent articles on Global Voices about the unraveling of fellow dictators Lansana Conté in Guinea and Denis Sassou Nguesso in Congo-Brazzaville. As these regimes unravel with presumably weak legislative and judicial institutions, hopefully Guineans and Congolese will have the foresight to not focus efforts exclusively on building elections while neglecting institutions, a sentiment shared by Le Pangolin, one of the bloggers I cite, who says the Congolese opposition should shun elections-only change in favor of real in-depth change. (I'm not sure I'd go as far as he does but I do think elections alone don't do it as in the case of Haiti in the last 20 years.)


Guinea-Conakry: The End of a Dictatorship
by Jennifer Brea.
Congo-Brazzaville: How Long for Sassou Nguesso? by yours truly.

Photo: "Chimp Dictators" taken on the streets of Colombia by Invisible Consequential

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Vagina Monologues in Creole

The Vagina Monologues in Creole should be coming to Brooklyn soon. Finally! Several versions have emerged in the last two years, though none in Brooklyn that I know of. (That's right, Miami got one before we did. And of course several took place in Haiti.) For those of us who want to bring non Creole-speaking friends, hopefully the show will not have them asleep of incomprehension. We'll see. (It's promising that not all the actresses are Haitian, Linda Powell being a good example.) Oh and I've seen the names of both Eve Ensler the original author and award-winning author Edwidge Danticat on different versions of the program.

Update 2/18: It looks like Eve Ensler's participation is not a rumor.

More on the show:

Additional V-Day performance live in Haiti, April 3, 2007.

MASTER OF CEREMONY: Rosemonde Pierre Louis, Manhattan Deputy Borough President.

PERFORMANCES: Emeline Michel (VIP Champagne Reception Only @ 6:30PM) Adia Whitaker and Ase Dance Theatre Collective; Nadia Dieudonne and Feets of Rhythm Dance Co. and Goosy Celestin.

ACTORS: Edwidge Danticat; Jocelyne Gay; Berlotte Israel; Linda Powell; Michele Marcelin; Malie Hall; Carmen De Lavallade

FOR INFO: Dwa Fanm Website OR V-Day website.


We Media Miami Media

The conference has ended. My GV colleague Georgia has posted her We Media Miami pictures on Flickr. Check them out. I have more panel notes in store for you but for now I'm off to enjoy South Beach a bit, especially since the New York cold is awaiting me in a few days.

In the meantime, check out technorati's WeMedia tag for more media on WeMedia.


We Media Miami Session on Internet & Community

From left to right: Lisa Stone, Jan Schaffer, Rick Skrenta, Ian Rowe, Shel Israel.

The first session here at WeMedia tried to address "How communities real and virtual are changing through media. "

Here is what the panelists had to say. I was especially impressed with Shel Israel. And it was interesting that every time the topic of big media v. little media came up, the moderators somehow redirected the conversation. It is possible that that facilitated the flow of ideas but still worth noting, especially as chat room participants thought big media was overrepresented in the room. (Were they trying to avoid the dominance of that debate on last year's WeMedia?)

Shel Israel
Author, Naked Conversations
His main point (to mostly journalists I assume) was that we no longer deliver media, we are media:

"People are finding each other by shared interests and geography is becoming irrelevant. The demographic is overwhelmingly young."

"What happens when this online generation comes of age and starts replacing boomers like me and how do we [boomers] communicate with them?"

"WE (traditional media) don't organize what THEY will get anymore. The community is taking its power. YOU (big Media) need to join the conversation. You should all be looking at what the world looks like in 10-20 years when the young online generation comes into the workplace."

Ian Rowe, MTV
He stressed the balance between self-publishing and personal responsibility. (Specifically, he referred to the instance where someone became famous for posting a video on youtube of someone beating up a homeless person.)

"We find we have to meet young people on issues they care about."
"Total customization can actually be a danger to the citizenry."
"In 2012 we may no longer have short form programming. A lot more input from young people in terms of the creative process. We want to reward positive behavior."

He added that MTV still wants to assure that there is a top down package coming to young people because they don't want them to only get info that they want, which might make their view of the world more narrow.

(My 2 cents: I have to say I kept asking myself: is the onslaught of mysogynistic gangsta rap on certain music channels an example of "responsibility" ? But then I remembered that I don't watch much MTV and therefore may not be the best judge. Still, to hear him talk today you'd think MTV was PBS. That, it's fair to say, is simply not the case.)

Jan Schaffer, J-Lab

She looks at the emergence of new journalism from a bottom up point of view. (She is also a Pulitzer Prize winner.) This was my second time meeting her as she basically delivered the Knight-Batten award GV received in DC last year.
J-Lab look at communities that are geographically based. Have grants to offer. Citizen's media are not acts of journalism but acts of community building and are outside the comfort zones of traditional journalists. Those citizens' media/community building projects don't make much money but find themselves successful because of their impact on community and local politics. Phenomenon growing rapidly: 500 such community sites.

Lisa Stone, BlogHer
Talked about how women are coming together online.

"Women are a majority of web users. Women are the power users of the web 2.0 movement. Blogher started as a conference in response to the question 'where are the women bloggers?' "

Needless to say she went on to explain how far women bloggers have come both in terms of numbers and influence, not to mention the gateway they represent to the female market. She also said that we've moved beyond mommy blogs who only blog about kidergarten curricula: "mommy bloggers" blogged profusely about Hillary/Obama candidacy announcements.

Farai Chideya, coming back from Zimbabwe shooting a documentary on her father's life had this to say:
"We [in the US] are living in a blessed bubble. [In Zimbabwe], everyone has cell phones but it can take a 1/2 hour to connect. They have Internet cafes but it takes 10 minutes to send an email."

She added that people know that online access would help them make their government accountable but the government is deliberately crushing infrastructure so that they are not threatened.

Media distribution tools

Eduardo Hauser, DailyMe
Take content that is online and distribute it otherwise. Taking technology beyond the computer screen. (DailyMe takes your content and delivers your newspaper personalized and free .)

Photo by Alex DeCarvalho

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Blogging WeMedia Miami

I'm in Miami where I'll be attending and blogging WeMedia Miami, along with a couple of other Global Voices folks. The fun and games will take place at the University of Miami and will start there tonight at an opening reception. Technically, We Media Miami "explores and fosters the use of digital media to build and improve real communities in a connected society" but I'm not sure what to expect especially since the program is so esoteric.

I hear there won't be a lot of bloggers and I think the bulk of conversation will center around traditional media trying to update their approach a bit. We'll see. For now I'd rather be in breezy sunny here than in that frozen 11 degree apple that is New York these days...

Not to mention I get to pow-wow with my adorable 6 year old nephew while catching up with his parents about Miami/Florida politics and how the various constituencies in that other Caribbean epicenter are faring. (Yes Brooklyn is the reason I say "that other".)

You can check out the We Media Miami blog if you'd like. It might make the whole thing a bit more concrete for you ... or not.



Haitians, Caribbeans Maturing Politically Says NY Times

A great NY Times article came out today about Haitians, various ethnic groups and the upcoming race for NY City Councilman from NY's 40th council district. (The 40th district encompasses sections of several Brooklyn neighborhoods including Flatbush and Crown Heights.)

The most important observation the article makes is that Haitians in Brooklyn are maturing politically by coming together and choosing one candidate so that their vote does not get split as in countless past elections. (Incidentally, I highlighted this very point in my last post):
Dr. Eugene’s candidacy represents a maturation of the often fractious Haitian political landscape in New York. ... Mr. [Henry] Frank said that typically, several Haitian candidates run for an office and as a result, not one is able to get enough votes to win. “Here in New York, there was a lot of fighting among candidates in our community,” he said. “That’s the way of saying, too many chiefs and not enough Indians here.”

So important was this seat to Haitian political and civic leaders that they had meetings to narrow the field of Haitian-American candidates. The group selected Ferdinand Zizi, a health care administrator, but he withdrew from the race while his petitions were being challenged, leaving Dr. Eugene as the sole Haitian running. Since then, his candidacy has received attention from media outlets in Haiti, which are following the race closely.

And that observation is extended to the district's Caribbean community generally:

“This race is significant because you have a lot of people from various Caribbean ancestries trying to get a seat or hold a seat at the political table,” said Michael Gaspard, a political consultant who has studied the race to succeed Ms. Clarke. “And it’s a sign of the Caribbean community coming of age in a significant political way.”

Jamaican incumbent Yvette Clarke and her mother Una are apparently looking to pass the seat on to Dr. Eugene whom they endorsed in order to repay the Haitian community for their votes over the years:

Ms. Clarke’s mother, Una, made history by becoming the first Jamaican-born member of the Council in 1991. And Yvette Clarke succeeded her mother in the Council before going to Congress this year.

Now, both mother and daughter, who are something of a political force in Brooklyn, have decided that it was time to repay the substantial Haitian support they have received over the years.

But it is hard to predict the election's outcome:
“It’s unpredictable because it’s in the dead of winter and a candidate could win with 15 percent of the vote,” said Mr. Gaspard, the political consultant. “Turnout will be extremely low, and any of them could squeeze this out. And that’s what makes it intriguing.”

To be continued.

Photo by bondidwhat

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Split Hairs, Not Votes, in the Epicenter

The New York City Council campaign of Dr. Mathieu Eugene: Taking care not to split the Haitian vote in Brooklyn's 40th council district.The committee that took care of choosing just one Haitian candidate is new and managed to induce one of two Haitian candidates to drop out (!). Will this result in an actual seat?

To stay with the topic of elections, Pelerin 89 (a.k.a Dr. Ferentz Lafargue) explains why he is running for President of the Caribbean despite not actually living in it. Why of course, it's because Brooklyn is the epicenter of the Caribbean, silly. While over there, find out also why he wants to export the Metrocard to the beloved archipelago.

Last but not least, I've added a new section called "Comment Bloguer" to the blogroll for those who want to read blogs about how to blog in French. You can only view the blogroll from the home page, on the lower right of the page.

Photo by dbeery.