by Alison Henstridge
Jean St.Vil spoke on Feb.26, which marked the final Friday of Black History Month, which was about race and racism and current issues in Haiti.
Born in Haiti, St-Vil came to Canada in his teen years where his passion for research in history began.
Today he focuses on political issues like Haiti and he has also done documentaries and hosted radio shows.
Throughout the presentation, St-Vil had slides flashing behind him as he spoke about Haiti’s past and present history. He described the origin of Haiti and its early history regarding the reign of the Spaniards and slavery in Haiti.
“History is ever present with us,’’ St-Vil said
He expanded on slavery; explaining that many slaves had been killed and those who were lucky enough to survive had to escape to Cuba and Puerto Rico during the time of Christopher Columbus. He then went on to inform the audience that racial slavery had ended in 1888 in Brazil.
“I believe that to understand history is to understand the present,’’St-Vil said.
St-Vil also spoke about historical figures who owned slaves such as Thomas Jefferson.
“We need to dig deeper to understand history,’’ said St-Vil, after explaining that Jefferson had been considered a hero after he had raped a 13-year-old slave girl.
St-Vil also points out that we still need a Black History Month because it is incomplete and that there are a lot of things missing that we don’t know.
Near the end of the event he interacted with the audience and stressed the importance of human beings sharing with each other.
“We can change this world because we’re all human beings,’’ St.Vil said