Gran Lakou is a LGBTQ~inclusive drum & dance troupe in Jakmel, Haiti. They are the only group in their area that is inclusive and creates a safe space for lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer Haitians. LGBTQ Haitians regularly face discrimination, harrassment, and violence with very few legal protections.
Gran Lakou is seeking solidarity from other LGBTQ communities to offer financial support so that they can continue to perform, be a visible LGBTQ presence in their community, and stand up for their human rights.
Currently they are fundraising to be able to participate in Karnival, which is coming up in February!
A Letter from Gran Lakou:
Dear friends and supporters of Gran
Happy New Year! Thanks to your support, we recently we have had the opportunity to perform at several local events held in Jacmel to celebrate the Christmas and New Year, including a show at a local orphanage for young boys. Sadly, we also recently had one of our founding members and supporters pass away. We held a memorial service and performance in our home at the FOSAJ art collective in their honor and in memorial of other friends of Gran Lakou and FOSAJ who have died over the years. Everyday we are working hard and loving every opportunity we have to perform, the costumes and make-up we recently bought, thanks to your fundraising efforts, have been a huge support. We are feeling stronger and stronger as a group as the days go by and more and more opportunities to perform continue to arise. We are so happy to have more opportunities to carry our message of self love, acceptance and anti-discrimination of any kind into the greater community.
Although Christmas and the New Year
have come and gone, in Haiti we continue to celebrate. The second week
of February is National Carnival and from now until then, we celebrate
every weekend, building up to the climax of events in February. National
Carnival in celebrated in various cities all over the country however,
no city celebrates it with more enthusiasm than Jacmel. National Carnival
is a tradition in Jacmel since 1992 which has evolved to celebrate the
arts and culture of Jacmel namely the very colorful and elaborate papier
mache maskarade. Every year the National Carnival in Jacmel is becoming
more and more beautiful and people travel from all over the country
and the world to participate. It's for this reason Gran Lakou would
love to participate in this year's grand march, however, we are encountering
some economic obstacles keeping us from participating.
Carnival requires an entry fee of approximately $40US which we are currently
still looking to raise. Additionally, although we bought some beautiful
costumes recently, carnival is a special occasion and requires a little
more flamboyancy than we have been able to afford. We would like to
be able to buy scarves and fabrics and to make large colorful skirts
for our Carnival choreography as well as make-up for the event. We have
approximately 15 women who would all like to participate in this choreography
and each costume will cost us approximately $20US, and 8 men's costumes
averaging about $8US a person. Any financial support you are able to
offer would be greatly appreciated.
We welcome you all to come and celebrate
National Carnival in Jacmel with us.
In gratitude and solidarity,