2009 Indo Caribbean Women's Empowerment Summit and Book Launch Event
Hundreds of community members joined Jahajee Sisters for the launch of Bolo Bahen! Speak Sister! and for the 3rd Annual Indo-Caribbean Women's Empowerment Summit, several people made generous donations and countless others helped to get the word out far and wide. We are grateful for the support of our community.
The Launch of Bolo Bahen! Speak Sister! was the culmination of our 2009 Arts and Empowerment Program. It was also the first public event held by Jahajee Sisters that was open to our entire community. Prior to this event, we held convenings and workshops solely for women in our community. We received very positive feedback from attendees at the Book Launch, who proclaimed:
"I appreciated, and was inspired by the powerful and necessary voices of our women"
"The event was very powerful and meaningful"
The Book Launch was covered in several community papers and was aired on ITV, reaching beyond those who joined us at the Queens Museum of Art on June 19.
Click here for excerpts from articles published in the South Asian Times and The West Indian, as well as photos.
2008 Indo-Caribbean Women's Empowerment Summit
Written by Sasha K. Parmasad, Printed in the Caribbean New Yorker
What does it mean to be an Indian-Caribbean woman, your body full of history, full of memory, a bridge spanning the kala-pani, stretching across time and space, from India to the Caribbean to North America, asserting: These hands have torn down forests, have taught drums how to speak, have built civilizations with cutlass, shovel, belna and pen. What does it mean to be an Indian-Caribbean woman?
On the 26th of April, 2008 the second annual Indo-Caribbean Women’s Empowerment Summit, co-sponsored by Sakhi and the Indo-Caribbean Women’s Empowerment Group, was held at the Richmond Hill Library. The event, spearheaded by Taij Kumarie Moteelall, Shivana Jorawar and Simone Jhingoor, opened with a moment of silence in remembrance of Natasha Ramen and Guiatree Hardat: young Indo-Caribbean women, victims of abuse, who were brutally killed last year. At this year’s summit four generations of Indo-Caribbean women from Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica and Trinidad came together to share their stories of resilience, engage in dialogue about the issues most affecting them, and determine what steps could be taken to break the silence surrounding destructive cycles of domestic violence. Through the vibrant, inter-generational dialogue that characterized the day, it became evident to participants that being an Indo-Caribbean woman meant embracing the legacy of strength and resistance bequeathed to them by their indentured grandmothers, their mothers, their women sugar-workers, home-makers, activists, artists, writers – Mahadai Das, Lady Naidoo, Rajkumari Singh (to name a few). Last year’s summit honored the sugarcane worker and political organizer, Kowsilla (aka Alice), who fought to uplift the condition of the poor and oppressed in Guyana. She became a martyr in 1964 when an estate scab drove a tractor through her, severing her body in two.
Click here for the full article.
2007 Indo-Caribbean Women's Empowerment Summit
Breaking the Silence Written by Shivana Jorawar, Printed in the Caribbean New Yorker
Imagine four generations of Indo-Caribbean women openly discussing domestic violence, women’s leadership and the role of cultural practices in silencing women. Imagine us searching our souls for ways to empower ourselves and spawn broad-based empowerment among women in our community. Can you even conceive of it?
On March 31st, 2007, this is exactly what took place. In the wake of Natasha Ramen’s brutal murder by her alleged rapist, a group of concerned women broke the silence around gender inequity in the Indo-Caribbean community.
At the 2007 Indo-Caribbean Women’s Empowerment Summit, the walls of the Bhuvaneshwar Mandir in Queens heard emotional stories of abuse and expressions of determination to stand up for our rights and end violence against women. Outraged by the Ramen case, community leaders Gayatri Teakram, Taij Kumarie Moteelall, Simone Jhingoor, and Vijai Kublall organized the event in hopes of creating a safe space for women in our community to build collective power and bring our voices to the forefront on issues concerning our safety and overall wellbeing.
Click here to read full article.