Allies & the History of Rights: Topics of IHRD 2018

SAFE BOARDS (l to r) Elie Touze – Treasurer SAFE Lefdl, Ivan Puig Otero – Secretary SAFE Lefdl, Laurent Drouin Le May President SAFE Lefdl Secretary SAFE SXM, Lysanne Charles – President SAFE SXM, Rudolph Davis – Member SAFE Lefdl, missing Nadjesca Gumbs, Treasurer SAFE SXM


PHILIPSBURG – On Monday, December 10, 2018 St. Maarten/St. Martin Alliance For Equality (SAFE SXM) and L’alliance en faveur de l’egalite (SAFE Lefdl) in collaboration with the University of St. Martin will be holding its 4th International Human Rights Day Lecture at 7:00pm in room 202.

The lecture, which was held annually in the first three years of the organization, was skipped last year due to circumstances beyond SAFE SXM’s control. This year two lectures of 15 minutes each will be delivered by Clara Reyes, who will focus on “The importance of being an Ally” and Cassandra Richardson, who will examine “The history of Human Rights Day, Women’s Rights and Sexual Orientation Rights”. After both presentations the floor will be opened up for questions from the audience.

The organizations SAFE SXM & SAFE Lefdl (entities which both work towards the empowerment of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, plus persons) will also make use of the event to launch the new French side chapter and introduce the members of that team.

SAFE Lefdl Board (l to r) Laurent Drouin Le May President SAFE Lefdl Secretary SAFE SXM, Elie Touze – Treasurer SAFE Lefdl, Ivan Puig Otero  – Secretary SAFE Lefdl, Rudolph Davis – Member SAFE Lefdl

Laurent Drouin Le May, who is the secretary of the Dutch side chapter and the president of the French side chapter explained the expansion of the organization saying, “When SAFE SXM started in 2013 the intention was for it to cover both sides of the island and every effort has been made to ensure that this is the case. However, over the years we saw the need to make more of a headway on the French side and this led to the idea that a French side chapter was necessary. I am proud to head this association and to continue to create an atmosphere in which the two organizations can work together as one for the LGBTQI+ community of our island.”

The public of St. Maarten and St. Martin is invited out to this event, which will end with snacks and drinks after the presentations and q&a.

“Every year we think it is important to connect with the LGBTQI+ community and the members of the public on this day. It is both the anniversary of the legal birth of our organization and a day that reminds us that as LGBTQI+ persons we must continue the work. It is important to remember that once not so long ago the idea of rights for LGBTQI+ persons or publically saying you were an ally to LGBTQI+ persons were no nos; this year we want to look at how far we have come, while still discussing how much further we have to go in the future,” Nadjesca Gumbs, SAFE SXM treasurer said.

“This is our fourth lecture starting with Denise Vijber from Curacao in 2014, discussing human rights in general and how it is linked to the recognition of rights for LGBTQI people, then we had Kenita Placide and Maria Fontenelle, of United and Strong St. Lucia, in 2015 discussing regional community building and the importance of local mobilizing and efforts and Desiree Croes, Member of Parliament from Aruba in 2016 discussing the Civil Union Bill and its approval in the parliament of that island. Shifts in the board in 2017 and the impact of Hurricane Irma meant that we were not able to host a lecture in 2017, but we are back in 2018 and looking forward to the conversations that will come out of our two presentors Clara Reyes and Cassandra Richardson. We thank USM for the opportunity to partner with them once again and look forward to seeing everyone there,” Lysanne Charles, President of SAFE SXM said.