Two Black women are in the spotlight at the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony

michel opening

The 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games were declared open on Friday by Canadian governor general Michaelle Jean.

I declare open the Games of Vancouver, celebrating the 21st Winter Olympic Games,” said Jean to a packed crowd of 60,000 people in the domed BC Place stadium after a colourful ceremony.

Jean’s Haitian connection (taken from:

In the immediate aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, there was a certain voice Canadians waited to hear. Michaelle Jean is Canada’s governor-general, and she was born in Port au Prince and spent her early years in Haiti before her family fled to Canada. Her father, a philosopher, was tortured and imprisoned under the Papa Doc Duvalier regime. The 52-year-old Jean and her husband, a Quebec film-maker, have one child, an adopted Haitian orphan, Marie-Eden. Her mother and family come from Jacmel, near the epicenter of the deadly tremor.

So, when the earthquake happened, Canadians knew full well the woman at the symbolic helm of the country had been touched deeply and personally by the disaster. When she did speak the day after, it was with the type of emotion and pain that public figures are rarely called upon to express. One almost could feel the nation’s heart go out to Jean and the country of her birth. She spoke of having visited Haiti only a year ago and witnessing “a glimmer of hope” for the rebuilding of the country in the wake of hurricane Gustav’s devastation.

Canadians have joined the world in sending money to help with the relief efforts in Haiti even selling Olympic banners in an effort to raise $400,000 for UNICEF Canada. Jean says:

“The dust has settled on the island, and now there’s a need to comfort, to feed, to heal and to build,” said Jean, who lost family and friends in the earthquake, including the godmother of her daughter, Marie-Eden.

“My daughter has been making necklaces and bracelets for the Red Cross, to help with Haitian relief — that is her way of grieving”.



Measha Brueggergosman sang the Olympic song as the Olympic flag was raised.

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Dance series traces African diaspora-Vancouver audiences will be given a look at ‘bigger map’ of dance

by Deborah Meyers

Les ecailles de la memoire

(The Scales of Memory)

Urban Bush Women/Compagnie Jant-Bi

The Vancouver Playhouse


Tickets 604-801-6225

“The original impulse was embarrassment,” confessed Jim Smith. He was explaining how he and co-producer Barb Clausen came to build DanceHouse, Vancouver’s new large-scale contemporary dance series, which gets underway this Friday with the presentation of Les ecailles de la memoire, by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Urban Bush Women and Compagnie Jant-Bi from Senegal.

“Whenever we had conversations with colleagues in other parts of the country,” Smith said, “all we’d hear was: Oh poor you, in Vancouver. The onus has always been on you to get on a plane, to go somewhere else, if you wanted to see contemporary dance of a certain scale. Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa all have ongoing series of this kind, and we were very aware of what was lacking as a result of not having this stimulus in the community.” Get all of the information.

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