The Following Speech was given by HCLA Co-Founder, Chantal A. Raymond, at the HCLA Inaugural Conference on April 17, 2010:
Good afternoon. May name is Chantal Alicia Raymond, and I am Co-President and Co-Founder of the Harvard Caribbean Law Association. On behalf of the HCLA Executive Board and Conference Committee, I am honored to welcome you to the Harvard Caribbean Law Association’s Inaugural Conference.
When Tracy Ebanks and I started HCLA, we started with the goal of fostering friendships and lasting bonds within the Caribbean community at Harvard Law School. Our goals also included educating the general student body about the unique issues and opportunities of the Caribbean, and creating a medium by which interested students can immerse themselves in Caribbean culture. Throughout this school year, we were able to make our $500 budget stretch beyond imagination. In September 2009, we hosted a Labor Day pool party to foster the community that Tracy and I knew would make a difference in the experience of Caribbean students at Harvard. In November, we held a documentary screening entitled “The Price of Sugar,” bringing awareness to issues in Haiti, even before the January 2010 tragedy. After the earthquake in Haiti, HCLA took quick action, responding to the crisis by hosting a date auction in February. Despite an impending snowstorm and a loss of audio at the beginning of the auction, we were able to raise $2,885 to donate to the Pan American Development Foundation’s Haiti Earthquake Relief efforts. This event was co-sponsored by the Harvard Business School’s Caribbean Business Club and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Caribbean Caucus.
Although a new and still developing organization, we welcomed the challenge of organizing this Inaugural Conference. We wanted to create a forum where students, alumni, professionals, legal practitioners, and the community at-large could dialogue about significant issues in the local, national, and international Caribbean communities. Although there are many important issues affecting the Caribbean, for this year’s conference we chose to focus on Prostitution and Human Trafficking in the Caribbean, Rebuilding Haiti, and Law, Sports and Entertainment in the Caribbean. We hope that you will be able to attend all of our panels, dine at the evening banquet, indulge at the wine and dessert reception, and Palance at the conference after-party.
Thank you for being here and supporting our Conference this year. We look forward to many more years, many more conferences, and many more opportunities to bring a little bit of the Caribbean to you at Harvard. Thank you.