STATELESS, looks at the complex politics of immigration and race in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Panel discussion to follow screening.
About this event
Director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary follows families of those affected by the 2013 legislation stripping citizenship from Dominicans of Haitian descent, uncovering the complex history and present-day politics of Haiti and the Dominican Republic through the grassroots electoral campaign of a young attorney named Rosa Iris.
A co-production of POV, Latino Public Broadcasting, and Black Public Media. Official Selection, Tribeca Film Festival.
"On September 13, 2013, the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic ruled that children born to non-citizens in the country since 1929 are not, and have never been, citizens of the Dominican Republic. Imagine waking up one morning in your birthplace, and your citizenship and connection to the only country you know as yours is revoked. You’d have no access to your passport, birth certificate or any other form of identification...
Statelessness, then, becomes the ultimate act of racial capitalism and genocide, where the state no longer has to kill in order to make people disappear and can continue its exploitative practices without opposition.
My new documentary, Stateless, traces the complex tributaries of history and present-day politics of the island, and bears witness to how state-sanctioned racism seeps into mundane offices, living-room meetings and street protests. Anyone defending Haitians and their descendants faces threats of violence. In this dangerous climate, I had the great fortune of meeting human-rights defender Rosa Iris Diendomi-Álvarez, a young attorney who in the film decides to run for congressional office and mount a grassroots campaign, challenging electoral corruption and advocating for an end to anti-Black racism. As Rosa Iris balances her campaign run with her dedication to her family and community work, we come to terms with the full scope of the systemic and personal obstacles she faces. She pays a high price for speaking truth to power and eventually requests asylum in the United States."- Michèle Stephenson
Panel Discussion With:
Michèle Stephenson is a filmmaker, artist, and author who pulls from her Panamanian and Haitian roots, and experience as a human rights attorney to tell compelling, deeply personal stories that are created by, for, and about communities of color.
Rosa Iris Diendomi Álvarez is a lawyer, human rights defender, and activist, holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, specialized training in Statelessness, and research.
Ryan DuBois is an Associate Human Rights Specialist at the NYC Commission on Human Rights, where he educates the public about their rights and responsibilities under NYC's anti-discrimination law. He is also focused on expanding government outreach and service delivery to NYC’s Native American / Indigenous communities. He lived in the Dominican Republic during 2012-2014, advocating for the citizenship rights of Dominican youth of Haitian descent.
*Dominicans Love Haitians Movement is non-profit organization utilizing various art modalities to reflect and reconcile with over 500 years of Eurocentrism. It is exhuming mythological injustices designed and instituted by colonialism, dictators and plutocrats to instill fear, prejudices and oppression. Dominicans Love Haitians Movement is using art as a vehicle for unravelling biases and bigotry. Its mission is to heal wounds instituted by racial stigmas. We are creating space to manifest the possibility of and the ability to witness violent acts without deflection, amnesia, or suppression and voicing those acts so they no longer hold power or designate who we are as human beings.