The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU and The Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York present Mother Tongues United. This edition of #MotherTonguesUnited aims to focus the conversation on the larger Afro-Diasporic community that exists in the United States. Despite their varying histories, many people of Afro-heritage share the same struggle: how to overcome the difficulty of maintaining bilingualism in their communities while finding a sustainable way to positively promote and preserve their languages? It will bring together a community of educators and activists from different language communities to discuss the importance of Bilingualism and what is currently being done to positively promote and preserve the Mother Tongue, and what is being contributed to a shift in the perception of the language. Guest panelists will include Darnelle Champagne, an Early Childhood Educator and Eva Martineau-Ocasio, a Community Spanish Language Advocate. The Panel Discussion will include discussion on learning techniques, community resources, and language promotion in a community context.
This program is free and open to the public. The conversation will be conducted in English.
About the speakers:
Although Darnelle Champagne was born and raised in New York, her first spoken language is Haitian Creole. She recalls her first years of school as an English Language Learner and the impact multilingualism had on her day to day life. Remaining connected to her Haitian roots, especially through language, while growing up in NY was a commitment first started by her parents. Darnelle’s conscious commitment to Haitian Creole came after her first visit to Haiti at the age of 11. Currently as an educational service provider Darnelle counts on her years of experience with children to serve them based on their individual needs. Darnelle has a BA in Metropolitan Studies from New York University and an MA in Early Childhood Education also from New York University. She holds a NYS certification in Early Childhood Education (Birth-grade 2) and a NYS certification in Students with Disabilities (Birth-grade 2). Darnelle is raising two curious and lively multilingual children with her husband Vladimir. She is also the Co-Founder and Director of Jaden Timoun, a preschool Haitian Creole Language
Immersion Program based in Little Haiti, Brooklyn.
Eva Martineau-Ocasio was born in Mexico to a Mexican mother and Haitian father. Her family immigrated to the United States in the early 1990's and her parents continued to speak their native languages at home. Eva's bilingualism afforded her opportunities in her career to serve immigrant communities through medical language interpretation as well as the developing and translating of medical intervention programs into Spanish. Eva always knew she wanted to pass the gift of bilingualism to her children. In hopes of ensuring fluency, Eva began homeschooling her children, immersing them in the Spanish language and culture. She co-instructed Medical Spanish to student nurses and aspires to continue to spread language and cultural awareness in the New York medical community. Eva also hopes to return to Haiti several times a year to serve as a clinician where her father is currently building a hospital. Eva has a BA and MPH in Public Health, a BSN in Nursing and is currently pursuing her MSN in Nurse-Midwifery.
About the moderator and organizer:
In addition to found The Haitian Creole Language Institute, Wynnie Lamour is an educator with a focus on Language & Communication. She has spent the last several years teaching Haitian Creole in the New York City metro area to a wide array of language learners, including non-profit professionals, public school teachers, and entrepreneurs. Her experiences growing up in Brooklyn as a Haitian-American have provided her with a unique perspective as an educator, allowing her an ease that comes when one is equally comfortable in both cultures and languages. Wynnie has a BA in Linguistics from Cornell University and an MA in Urban Affairs from CUNY Queens College. Both degrees have allowed her a flexibility to blend effortlessly into many different sectors. Wynnie's philosophy of teaching is rooted in the idea of "Mindfulness", which promotes community and connectedness, while establishing a sense of pride and respect for both the Haitian language and culture. Wynnie's most recent work includes a translation of an excerpt of the Franketienne novel "Dezafi" published May 2013 by Transition Magazine (Issue 111 "New Narratives of Haiti"), a publication of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.
About the series:
#MotherTonguesUnited is a program that creates a space to have conversations around language advocacy work that is being done in different language communities. In previous programs, #MotherTonguesUnited has focused on different Creoles of the Caribbean and Children’s Literature of the Caribbean, among others. Primarily, the focus has been on historically undervalued languages which are languages that suffer from systemic, social, and cultural degradation. These languages often exist in the shadow of a more dominant and socially “acceptable” language, and are usually spoken by historically disadvantaged and marginalized peoples. Speakers within these historically undervalued linguistic communities are often shamed for speaking their Mother Tongue, while being portrayed as “uneducated”, “unintelligent”, and “unworthy” of participating in mainstream societies.