In celebration of International Day of Women of African Descent (July 25), join a gallery talk on  Firelei Báez led by women from Hispanola. How do we heal? How do we uplift? How do we move forward?  

Facilitated by Yvette Modestin, Diaspora Coordinator of the founding network of the International Day of Women of African descent, this conversation brings together Haitian American artist, city planner, and curator Romy St. Hilaire and Dominican artist and Boston Social Worker Anne Hernández.

This program is brought to you in collaboration with Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribenas y de la Diaspora (RMAAD), Encuentro Diáspora Afro, Violence Transformed, Art in the Antilles and ReRooted Productions. 

About the Speakers

Romy St. Hilaire is the founder of Art in the Antilles which supports Afro-Caribbean communities to equitably navigate the creative economy. Romy holds a Master in City Planning from MIT and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from UMass Boston. Romy was the 2019 Creative Community Fellow through National Arts Strategies and 2021 SPARK Boston Council member in the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office. 

Romy has served as a curatorial assistant and researcher on numerous projects including, Bouchra Khalili: Poets and Witnesses (MFA Boston 2019), Designing Motherhood (MIT Press Publication, 2020), and Now and There (2021). Her work experience includes museum public programming and community engagement at Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and serving as Director of the Harbor Gallery at UMass Boston. She has co-curated, programmed, and collaborated with local and international artists on several exhibitions. Her passion for art, culture, and community led her to consult with Hope on a String, an international organization transforming rural communities in her home country of Haiti through arts social impact and career development. 

Anne V. Hernández, MSW, LICSW, a Black immigrant from the Dominican Republic, a Boston resident since 1989, and a Boston Public School alum, has over 23 years of experience as a clinical social worker; 15 of those years as a School Based Social Worker at various Boston Public Schools. Currently, Ms. Hernández serves as the District Social Worker for Region 2, a role in which she works as part of team that provides mentoring to region 2 School Based Social Workers, professional development as well as providing culturally and linguistically responsive and sustaining services to students, families and school communities, including crisis response and coordination. Hernández started her career as a social worker for Youth Connects (formerly Youth Services Providers Network); and for the last 23 year, has held positions as Coordinator of the Community Crisis Response Team of the Victims of Violence Program at the Cambridge Health Alliance; Manager of School-Based Mentoring at Big Sisters; Advising Faculty and Adjunct Professor at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work and Simmons University. In addition, Ms. Hernández is on the Board of Directors of Egleston Square Main Streets; Founding Board Member of Encuentro Afro-Diaspora; Chair of Violence Transformed Advisory Board and the co-curator of Ula Cafe’s gallery. 

Ms. Hernández holds a Bachelor and a Masters of Social Work from Simmons University. 

Yvette Modestin, Lepolata Aduke Apoukissi- Empress Modest-I is an scholar activist, writer, poet, abstract visual artist, storyteller, and playwright, born and raised in Colon, Panama. Ms. Modestin was named one of “30 Afro Latinas you should know.” She is Founder/Executive Director of Encuentro Diaspora Afro in Boston, MA. Ms. Modestin has been profiled by the Boston Globe as “The Uniter” for her work in bringing the Latin American and African American community together and for her activism in building a voice for the Afro Latino Community. Ms. Modestin is the Diaspora Coordinator of the Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeñas y de la Diáspora, an international network of Afro descendent women. 

Yvette was named one of ‘The Makers’ in 2022 by WBUR The Artery. Ms. Modestin received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from El Mundo Boston, one of the oldest Latino newspapers in New England in October 2021.In February 2024, she co-curated the immersive art exhibit, ReRooted; What’s Hair Got To Do With It? at the Museum of Science. Ms. Modestin is one of the Boston Caribbean Artists featured in the Mediatheque presentation at the ICA. In 2023 She was the co-playwright of the successful short play, Crown of Times. She is featured in the award winning film, Faith in Blackness and is one of the contributors to the newly released book Daughters of Latin America, edited by award winning journalist, Sandra Guzman.  She is also one of the editors and writers of the book, Women Warriors of the Afro Latina Diaspora, named in the top five Latino books in the country for 2013. In 2022, Ms. Modestin worked closely with City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia and co-wrote the Reparations ordinance with Dr. Jemadari Kamara, calling for a Boston Reparations Commission. As an artist, a licensed mental health clinician, and wellness facilitator, Modestin speaks to the acknowledgement of the historical pain of people of African descent and the awareness of the connection that would lead to the healing of our communities. 

Enjoy a drink and light bite in our waterfront Wine + Coffee Bar, featuring sommelier-selected natural wines and more.