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Kassandra Khalil

BA '12 - Caribbean Communities and the Culture of Resistance

The development of Kassandra's concentration, Caribbean Communities and the Culture of Resistance, was closely linked to her work with the Haitian community. While a full-time student at Gallatin, Kassandra became the program coordinator for Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX), a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization established to develop, present and promote the cultural expressions of the Haitian people. HCX presents a myriad of programs dedicated to presenting Haitian art including a film festival, concert series, an afterschool program, and recurring public forums.

Professor Millery Polyné's course Consuming the Caribbean with was a formative course for Kassandra, offering alternative views on how we interact with individuals and groups on the global stage. Through Professor Marie Cruz Soto’s Great World Texts tutorial, Kassandra became a mentor at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx. “It was a case study and a self study,” she says. The importance of learning ways to use the arts as a tool for activism revealed a passion for program coordinating. "Both classes made me really analyze why I choose to learn the way I do and why I choose to do the work that I do." Taking a course with Professor Stacy Pies made Kassandra “love words and literature twice as much.”