In March, Director of Intercultural Affairs Alejandra Molina traveled to Cuba on a trip arranged by the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, an organization committed to protecting, preserving and enhancing the civil justice system.
Along with presentations focused on women, gender and sexuality in Cuba, the country’s musical traditions and U.S./Cuba relations, the trip included visits to Old Havana, a tobacco farm and several sites in western Cuba, including a multi-disciplinary creative workshop for children and adults with special needs.
Located in Pinar del Río, Proyecto Grabadown was created 10 years ago by Jesús Carrete and his daughter Linianna, who has Down syndrome. “Here the young people make beautiful art, dance and sing,” Molina explains. “I was thrilled to be able to donate art supplies and clothing to this wonderful organization.” She notes that the majority of the donations were collected by Eric Molina ’22.
Molina and the tour group were told that they wouldn’t be able to leave Cuba without dancing. Sure enough, while walking through a neighborhood, a woman pulled Molina into a group to dance the mambo. “Music unites us all,” she says. “It gives us moments of possibility, of things coming together again.”
Molina had hoped to travel to Cuba years ago, but that trip was canceled by the U.S. government. She is grateful to have finally been able to visit. “It was humbling to be there,” she says. “There’s a lot of struggle for the people there, but out of the struggle has come a wonderful sense of community.”