Puerto Rico: Hope in the Dark – screening and panel discussion
FREE and open to the public
September 23, 2018
Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling
898 St. Nicholas Avenue @ 155th St NYC
Watch the trailer
2pm screening of documentary bilingual (English/Spanish) with subtitles
3pm panel discussion on the intersection of arts and disaster relief
moderated by: Charlie Vázquez
panelists: (bios below)
- Gabriel Rivera (Associate Producer & PACE student)
- Arnaldo J López, PhD (Managing Director, Pregones / PRTT)
- Mónica Tavares (Hispanic Federation)
- Reverend Dr. Damaris D. Whittaker and Sabas Hernan Flores Whittaker (Fort Washington Collegiate Church)
A moving portrait of the strength, spirit and resiliency of the Puerto Rican people. This documentary is a production of students at PACE University PACE docs, led by Maria Luskay, EdD.
A special thanks to Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, Latino U College Access and Prof Luskay.
September 23 is the last day of RELATIONAL UNDERCURRENTS: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago exhibit at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, showcasing Caribbean artists
Puerto Rico: Hope in the Dark – Panelist Bios
Gabriel Rivera served as associate producer on the documentary film Puerto Rico: Hope in the Dark. He was one of eighteen student filmmakers from Pace University PACE DOCS who traveled throughout the island to chronicle and tell the stories of the people of Puerto Rico following Hurricane María. Gabriel is of Puerto Rican descent and has family in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico. He is a graduate of Pace where he attained his Masters in Media and Communications. Gabriel is currently an intern with the ABC program 20/20 and a freelance assignment desk editor with News 12 The Bronx and Brooklyn.
Arnaldo J. López is an arts manager and development strategist with a Ph.D. in Latin/o American Literatures and Cultures from New York University. As Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater’s first Development Officer, and now its first Managing Director, he plays a key role in planning and fundraising for year-round arts programs in The Bronx and Manhattan. Mobilizing support for peer networks on the island, the company’s Hurricane María Relief Drive for Artists in Puerto Rico raised and distributed more than $100,000 in the form of no-strings, emergency micro-grants to practitioners of all creative disciplines. A second wave of support is underway.
Charlie Vazquez is an author and cultural consultant from The Bronx. He was one of dozens of artists who contributed original written and visual works to create the graphic novel collection Ricanstruction, organized by artist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, the creator of La Borinqueña. To date, the anthology has raised over $150,000. Charlie served as the director of the Bronx Writers Center at Bronx Council on the Arts for nearly five years and was a festival coordinator for Puerto Rico’s Festival de la Palabra, which celebrated Puerto Rican literary culture and history, hosting award-winning authors and poets from around the world in public school classrooms in Puerto Rico and Uptown New York City.
Reverend Dr. Damaris D. Whittaker is a United Church of Christ (UCC) minister. She was the first woman to serve as Senior Minister of the historic First Church of Christ, UCC, in Hartford, Connecticut. Dr. Whittaker is a public theologian at Ft. Washington Collegiate Church. She is deeply passionate about social justice advocating for racial justice, LGBTQ equality, immigration reform, women’s leadership, universal healthcare, and affordable housing. Dr. Whittaker believes she has been called to break down silos and sees intersectionality of faith as a place she can affect change. Dr. Whittaker is originally from Humacao, Puerto Rico and is married to Sabas Whittaker.
Mónica Tavares is the Vice President of External Affairs at Hispanic Federation. She was previously Chief of Staff in the Office of Communications and External Affairs at the New York City Department of Education (DOE). Wheen Ms. Tavares was the Acting Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), she managed One NYC One Nation, a two-year, $1 million civic engagement initiative designed to increase the participation of immigrants in New York City’s civic life. She was also the Bronx Borough Director/Latino Liaison for the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and for eight years did community and government relations at El Museo del Barrio, the city’s leading Latino cultural institution.
Sabas Hernan Flores Whittaker was born in Puerto Cortes, Honduras. He recently published two books: Faith in the Field and Canto al Emigrante en Voz Latina. He’s participated in four humanitarian trips to Puerto Rico, aiding in the repairing of roofs and homes. Sabas is a holistic gardener and donated various organic seeds from his garden to Casa Solidaria, via Proyecto Matria, overseeing the planting of them in the mountains of Miraflores, Orocovis with a youth group. These efforts will stimulate pollination, enhancing natural growth usually provided by bees wiped out by the hurricane. Ft. Washington Collegiate Church’s mission is not only to repair homes but to stimulate economic activity by purchasing all materials from locally-owned businesses on the island, such as in Humacao and Orocovis.