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Miami Dade College, in collaboration with the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, to Commemorate Cuba's Independence Day May 20 with a Special Conversation with the Ladies in White

Gloria Estefan - who in March 2010 convened in Miami the largest street demonstration in support of the Ladies in White - will speak as will current leader Berta Soler and others
Berta Soler - L

Photo Courtesy AP; Berta Soler leaving Havana

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Miami, May 9, 2013 - Miami Dade College (MDC), in collaboration with the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, will celebrate Cuban Independence Day, Monday, May 20, with a conversation with the Ladies in White, represented by the leader of the famed dissident group, Berta Soler. Miami’s own Gloria Estefan, who led a March in honor of the Ladies in White in Miami in 2010, will also speak.  Hundreds of community leaders, students, and residents of Miami are expected to attend this unprecedented event. Other relevant members of the peaceful movement, as well as prominent Cuban dissidents and winners of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, are also expected to attend. The Conversation with the Ladies in White is scheduled to take place at MDC’s National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower at 11:30 a.m., preceded by a press conference from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The public is encouraged to dress in white for the occasion, in solidarity with these brave Cuban women.

The talk will be streamed live from the iconic and fitting venue at www.mdc.edu, and on this important date in Cuban history. Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padron will present Soler with MDC’s Presidential Medal in homage to all the Ladies in White engraved, Guardians of Freedom. At this time, other dissidents and Sakharov Prize winners will be invited to come up to the stage.

Soler, an outspoken activist who was allowed to leave the island under a change in Cuba’s travel rules, was in Brussels last month to accept the Sakharov Prize. Just recently, she was availed the privilege of exchanging words with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The Ladies in White was created by the wives, daughters, and other female relatives of some 75 peaceful dissidents who were sentenced to prolonged jail terms without due process during a crackdown known as Cuba’s Black Spring of 2003. The group began marching after Sunday mass at a Havana church, and has since spread to other major cities on the island.

Soler, an afro-Cuban, took over the reins of the internationally-acclaimed group in 2011, after its initial leader, Laura Pollan, died in a hospital of a sudden mysterious infection just days after she denounced being scratched with needles by a member of the dictatorial regime during a mob demonstration against the Ladies in White. This is Soler’s first trip abroad.

This event is in Spanish with English subtitles and is free and open to the public. Tickets do not guarantee a seat but secures admission. Those wishing to attend can either obtain tickets online by visiting http://thecenteratmdc.org/damas/ or picking up tickets in person at the offices of The Center for Literature and Theatre, 401 N.E. Second Avenue, Room 4102, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., beginning Monday, May 13. The tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Free parking at MDC facilities is available by showing any printed ticket the day of the event.

Working media wishing to attend the event should RSVP with Neli Li via email, Nelia.Li@mdc.edu, no later than Friday, May 17. No one-on-one interviews will be available. Another press advisory will be issued with updated information, as it becomes available.

On April 1, 2013, MDC also hosted famed dissident blogger and independent journalist Yoani Sanchez at the Freedom Tower.

A Conversation with Berta Soler and the Ladies in White. 10 a.m. news conference and 11:30 a.m. event.

  • WHEN: Monday, May 20, 10:00 AM
  • WHERE: National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College 600 Biscayne Blvd.
  • COST: Free, with ticket

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949, testorin@mdc.edu, MDC media relations director
Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366, rromero3@mdc.edu, media specialist
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu, media specialist
Kai Hill, 305-237-3359, khill1@mdc.edu, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482, arios1@mdc.edu




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