By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Amber Gray will give the multimedia presentation, "Dancing in Our Blood: Creative Resistance and Recovery Work in Haiti," on Thursday, April 14, at 4:30 p.m. in Hunt Hall Living Room at Bucknell University.
The presentation, which is free and open to the public, is a part of a semester-long series, "Resist, Reclaim, Recreate: Stories of Survival and Transformation in Haiti."
A 1983 Bucknell graduate, Gray is the founder and director of Trauma Resources International. She established Haiti's first program for victims of organized violence and torture in 2004, and has worked with survivors of human rights abuses and trauma in Haiti for more than 13 years.
Gray is using dance/movement therapy to help trauma survivors express difficult emotions for which they have no words. After the January 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti, Gray said she had never, "even in times of extreme violence, insecurity, flooding, received so many requests for counseling, trauma therapy, psychological help."
She is working on a community-based public/mental health project to provide education and training to mental health workers and community and spiritual leaders in Haiti. She works with local street children, communities and nonprofit organizations to find creative paths to healing, including dance, drumming, rituals and song. With such emotional and physical destruction in Haiti, Gray believes it is paramount to process these experiences non-verbally in addition to verbally.
The presentation, which is the kick-off event for the annual Black Arts Festival sponsored by the Black Student Union at Bucknell, will include an auction of original artwork by Bucknell students and staff to benefit Gray's program in Haiti. Drumming and a demonstration of sacred Haitian dance will be included in the multimedia presentation.
Gray has worked internationally and at the crossroads of the fields of public health, torture treatment, refugee mental health, somatic psychology, "alternative" healing and human services for almost 25 years. She is an award-winning dance movement therapist, a licensed mental health professional, a Continuum Movement teacher, and a Sevito in the Fran Ginee tradition of Vaudu (Voodoo).
Co-sponsors of Gray's visit to campus include the Bucknell University Office of Civic Engagement, the Black Student Union, International Student Services, Multicultural Student Services, the Griot Institute, the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender, the President's Office, and Alumni Relations. For more details call 577-3973.
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