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Ken Kingery
IU Office of University Communications

Maria Casillas
Director, La Casa Latino Cultural Center

Last modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Sugar Babies" comes to Bloomington

Jan. 29, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Sugar may never taste quite so sweet again.

That is because on Thursday, Feb. 7, documentary filmmaker Amy Serrano will host a viewing of her film, "The Sugar Babies: The Plight of the Children of Agricultural Workers in the Sugar Industry of the Dominican Republic," which reveals the inhumane conditions sugar cane cutters of Haitian descent often face in the Dominican Republic.

"We live in a global society so it is not only important to know what is happening, but have an active part in issues across the world," said Amy Raj, event coordinator for the La Casa Latino Cultural Center at Indiana University Bloomington.

Dena Williams, a graduate student in history, echoed her sentiments, saying, "Amy Serrano has worked to uncover a literal act of modern-day slavery. I thought it important to bring this intro our academic community."

According to the film's Web site, the issues addressed by the movie include the denial of basic human rights to sugar cane cutters of Haitian ancestry, the revelation of those profiting from human trafficking and exploitation, and the vivid exploration of "the lives of those who live in circumstances that can only be considered modern-day slavery."

The Sugar Babies

Besides a viewing of the film with commentary by its director at 2 p.m., the event will feature a panel discussion following the screening at 4 p.m. about the use of documentary films to facilitate knowledge and change, and on the issues brought to light by "The Sugar Babies." Panelists include Jeffrey Gould, chair of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Christiana Ochoa, School of Law associate professor; and Hilary Kahn, associate director for the Center for the Study of Global Change.

Both the screening and panel discussion will be held in the Monroe County Public Library Auditorium. Additionally, before viewing the movie, people are invited to eat lunch with Serrano at La Casa from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those interesting in attending the lunch should contact as soon as possible.

The event comes a day prior to the Eleventh Annual Cultural Studies Conference -- this year's theme being culture and food -- scheduled for Feb. 8-9, 2008, and is sponsored by several campus organizations including: Horizons of Knowledge, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), La Casa Latino Cultural Center, the Black Film Archives, the Latino Studies Program, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Anthropology Department, the Department of History, the Department of Communication and Culture, the Cultural Studies Program, The Center for Law, Society and Culture, American Studies, African American and African Diaspora Studies, Labor Studies, and the Black Scholars Collective.