Remarks Presented by
Arthur W. Brown, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission
US Embassy Santo Domingo
Inauguration Poster Show of Murals “The Dream Continues”
Centro Cultural Dominico-Americano
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – 7:00 pm
Distinguished Sandra Rodríguez, Executive Director of the Centro Cultural Dominico-Americano;
Honorable board members of the Centro Cultural Dominico-Americano;
Honorable Reggie Wilson, Artistic Director of the “Fist and Heel Performance Group;”
Distinguished guests, artists, and friends;
Good evening, everyone.
Every February in the United States, we commemorate Black History Month, through which we honor the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history and culture.
Although I am currently serving as Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy, full time I am the Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
My family and I arrived in the country last August, and we are very happy to be here in the Dominican Republic. This is my second visit to Santiago, and each time I like this city more.
Tonight, we have a special program. First we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with the inauguration of the photo exhibit, “The Dream Continues;” and second, we celebrate Black History Month through the performing arts, with a dance demonstration from Reggie Wilson’s “Fist and Heel Performance Group,” visiting Santiago for the first time.
This exhibit would not be possible without the support of our partners and friends. I would like to give a special thanks to everyone at the Domínico and all of the collaborators who organized this exhibit and made the visit of Reggie Wilson’s team to Santiago a success.
As you view the murals this evening, I hope you will reflect on the legacy of Dr. King’s leadership. I hope you will be inspired, as I am, by his call to all citizens, to rise above indifference and work toward his dream of freedom and equal opportunity for all.
Dr. King’s legacy of non-violent protest, inspired by Mahatma Ghandi, served as an example for countless struggles for social justice around the world. We honor his belief that humble citizens, armed with little but faith, can come together to change the world and remake a country that more closely aligns with our highest ideals.
I am also delighted that we are able to combine this photo exhibit with a dance demonstration from the Fist and Heel Performance Group, on tour in the Dominican Republic for the first time.
“Fist and Heel” joins us through the Department of State’s DanceMotion USA program, which strives to connect the United States’ finest dance companies with international artists and communities. DanceMotion is sponsored by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a multi-arts center located in Brooklyn, New York, that has been showcasing the work of artists for more than 150 years.
The choreography of Reggie Wilson’s Fist and Heel performance group is known for its expression of the spiritual traditions of Africa and its diaspora, particularly drawing from elements of the cultures of Africans in the Americas.
The group already performed in Santo Domingo to rave reviews, so I am delighted we will be able to see an example of their talent here in Santiago.
Again, thank you for commemorating and celebrating Black History Month with us here in Santiago.