When it comes to headlines surrounding Haiti and the Dominican Republic, they often center the countries’ long-standing conflict. Though they’re neighboring nations that share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and a history of colonialism and slavery, their unresolved past is still the source of extreme tension. Decades of atrocities and massacres have fueled a more recent time where Haitians — or anyone perceived to be of Haitian descent — are systematically stripped of their citizenship and immigration status. A reported 120,000 plus Haitians were deported from the DR in 2018.
The strained relationship between both countries and its people have fueled activism on and off the island. International development and conflict resolution specialist France François founded In Cultured Company to deconstruct the existing division and move Haiti and DR from a divided past toward a shared future. François and team host an educational event series titled Decolonizing Hispaniola where they unpack over 500 years of history.
“I wanted to do this through a conflict resolution lens and really think about what reconciliation, collaboration, and dialogue would look like between Haitians and Dominicans, and start to dismantle the systems of oppression that have purposely divided the island and kept the elite in power,” said François to Remezcla.
François is one of many women who has sought healing through her work. We reached out to four women to delve into how their understanding of the Dominican-Haitian conflict has evolved and how they’re healing from this ancestral conflict: