|So An with Vukani Mawethu|
So An – renowned Haitian folksinger, activist and former political prisoner – was a dynamic presence in Oakland, California on March 10, 2007 at an event in her honor during her first North American tour since being released from prison.
Attending the joyful occasion were over 200 people, including acclaimed writer, Alice Walker and well known activist Kilu Nyasha. The evening was marked by numerous musical tributes to So An from Vukani Mawethu, Francisco Herrera, King Wawa, and Dave Welsh.
Tributes to So An were presented by the Black Panther Party, Sister Maureen Duignan of East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Vukani Mawethu and Haiti Action Committee.
So An spoke about her time in prison – emphasizing conditions shared by all the women prisoners – and rejoiced that by the time of her release, she was able to teach several women how to read and write.
Referring to United Nations (MINUSTAH) forces in Haiti as "birds of prey," she denounced the ongoing UN presence in Haiti, calling it a disguised US occupation. She labelled the US government a disaster for its role in oppressing Haiti's people.
So An ended the evening with a powerful musical set. Accompanied by her husband, master drummer, Wilfred Lavaud, she sang her own songs of struggle, along with Bob Marley’s Redemption Song and Something Inside So Strong by Black British poet/writer Labi Saffire.