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Prominent Jamaican Professors to headline Caribbean Literary Conference

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Los Angeles, California – CARICON, the Caribbean Literary Conference featuring authors and literary professionals from across the Caribbean region and the diaspora, makes its 2021 debut from its base in Los Angeles, California. The theme this year is “Rebirth” and the event will stream live on the internet over 3 days, Friday June 4th to Sunday June 6, 2021. www.cari-con.org

An international literary conference, CARICON will bring together all elements of Caribbean Literature and cultural heritage; as well as resources to encourage sharing the culture worldwide.  Dr. Amina Blackwood Meeks, Dr. Opal Palmer-Adisa and Dr. Donna Aza Weir-Soley will be among the presenters.

The program will include panel discussions, workshops, book launches, poetry readings, as well as an array of literary vendors and musical performances. As a not-for-profit initiative designed to enrich the community, CARICON will be streamed online free of cost. Workshops will be accessible for a minimal fee.

CARICON is an innovative annual project conceived by V. Steve Russell. Mr. Russell says that “this new bold venture will serve authors, poets, storytellers and other literary enthusiasts.” He goes on to say that “this new concept will be a great avenue for Caribbean authors to showcase and promote their work while attracting publishers, editors, literary agents and other deal makers in the literary industry.”

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Dr Kadamawe K'nife to present Cutting Edge Community Development Solutions on Sisterhood Circle Seminar

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Monday, May 17, 2021 (Montego Bay, Jamaica, W.I.) The final Sistas of the D Ankh and Ma’at Sisterhood Circle Programme for the month of May anticipates the wisdom to be imparted by Dr. Kadamawe K'nife and Clarion Phillpotts. Come the 23rd of May, 2021, in attempt to help transform communities, the experts will speak on ‘Community Development.’ The event will be accessible at 1:00 p.m. (EST /Jamaica time) via the virtual Zoom platform of Sistas of D Ankh and Ma’at Sisterhood Circle. For access, use Zoom User ID: 389 841 7079 or Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3898417079 .

Dr. Kadamawe K'nife is known popularly for his dedicated service to the University of the West Indies, Mona community as a lecturer and researcher. Dr K'nife has also demonstrated his passion for the community through his directorship of the Center for Entrepreneurship Thinking and Practice (CETP) which focuses on entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship and strategic planning for sustainable development. His dedication to community development has also been witnessed in development and support offered to community base organizations throughout Jamaica with special emphasis on ‘at risk communities’ with specific focus placed on Arnett Gardens.

Community Development is also the passion of Clarion Phillpotts, co-founder of A New Jamaica of Peace Foundation. The esteemed community leader has developed a feeding program for the homeless people and after school program for children in Arnett Gardens. Ms. Phillpotts who believes in the importance of children knowing that they have a purpose, is one of the truest definitions of an unsung hero for her unreserved devotion to remould Jamaican communities.

Sistas of D Ankh, is founded by Hazel Yahmin Williams - Vaz; she is joined by Wholistic Administrator, Pettia Williams and other members. Ma'at Sisterhood Circle is founded by Sharon Oshun Parris-Chambers, Spiritual Leader and Wholistic Practitioner. The two groups form a Sisterhood Circle;the collaborative group assembled on August 2020 to host webinars on Zoom platform with the sole purpose of uplifting women. "This collaboration grew to include the original production team: Nadia Oshun - Brown, Theo Chambers and Ralston Francis;the group's aim is widening the network of support available for women in Jamaica and the Diaspora," said Yahmin Williams-Vaz.

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Music is Not the Only Monster

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It has sauntered to many people’s doorsteps and others sit in terror as they hope that they will never one day be as unfortunate. The hope is that luck will not run out on that 84 year old grandmother or a relative trying to enjoy a church service. Theorists like Emile Durkheim and Robert Merton have posited that a certain amount of crime can be beneficial to society since it has the ability to improve social integration and social regulation. Whatever cap the sociologists thought of, it appears to have already been exceeded. Therefore, in an attempt to safeguard life and livelihoods, home and business owners try to protect their properties with cameras and authorities prolong ZOSOs, but none seems to be a perfect fix. When options have ran out, blame is casted, sometimes not as accurately as it should. As such, music, particularly dancehall music, has been considered the scapegoat in the issue, as the cause of crime.

Professor Donna Hope, artistes and loyal fans of the music have made attempts to salvage the reputation of the genre. The professor posited that crime and violence goes well beyond dancehall - “The problem why the music is always blamed is because dancehall has that connection with the hardcore lifestyle of Jamaica that involves guns. Dancehall comes from the garrisons, the ghettos where the guns play a big part. A lot of artistes grew up in these communities where they saw a lot of the things, they sing about playing out before their eyes.” The statement above may be suggestive that the music is a reflection of what is already happening and not the other way around.

The professor, in another instance assured that dancehall artistes are not role models for her son. “His role modelling was first of all within the family.” Artistes have said they are just entertainers and should not be considered as agents of socialization and role models.  Recording artiste Konshens, in an interview conducted by the Loop group, “mi shy weh from it because is a whole heap a responsibility fi tek on a role like dat or fi she dat dis is yuh title, icon or role model.” Really, is it the artiste who decides if he is a role model, or is it his fans who make that decision? According to Ding Dong, another recording artiste, “yuh cannot view yuhself as a icon or role model. It is supn weh yuh get it from di love a di people or yuh circle if somebody look up to yuh its based on what yuh doing.” It is likely that despite who the artiste thinks he is, the audience’s perception of him decides how he is seen and perhaps how his music is used. The artiste does not have direct control over this, but does it mean the potency of his influence is lessened?

If it is to be agreed upon that the music and an artiste does not have an impact on societies’ beliefs and actions, it might also be agreeing that gospel songs cannot set the tone for worship, love songs have no romantic effect and that Dexta Daps’ concerts that have had women fawning over him, are not attributable to his sexually explicit music. Perhaps farther in memory is the rise in demand for the Clarks brand which many believed to have been because of Vybz Kartel’s ‘Clarks’ song.

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Defending Our Women, Girls and Children!

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Kingston, Jamaica: Womanbition celebrates March, not just as International Women's Day, but a month where we are appealing to all women starting in Jamaica to come together and take a stand against crime and violence against our women and children.

Furthermore, this appeal comes in the wake of the murder of 20-year-old Accounting Clerk Khanice Jackson, missing 13-year-old Camperdown High School student Lameka Lamount since March 26, 2021, and visually impaired student Jasmine Dean who is still missing.

"Enough is enough; if our men can't protect us, if our government can't protect us, we MUST protect ourselves by whatever means necessary. We are the mothers, the caregivers, the sisters, the wives, the women who feel the pain from giving birth to burying in the dirt!"

These sentiments were uttered by an outraged mother who herself had been a victim of abuse. It is alarming to see that as women are being celebrated, they are also being killed. With this years' Women's Day theme "Choose To Challenge", Womanbition have chosen to challenge crime and violence, rape and any other form of abuse directed at women and children. We dare to do so through organized activism, awareness and standing up for justice.

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Women’s Month Healing on Sisterhood Circle Programme

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Wednesday, March 17, 2021 (Montego Bay, Jamaica, W.I.)  In honour of Women’s Month, Sistas of D Ankh and Ma’at Sisterhood Circle welcomed healing directions from guest speakers Sa ‘Enya McBean and Dr Sherrill Chong. The speakers gave virtual blessings on Zoom at the Sisterhood Circle’s programme on Sunday, March 14, 2021. 

The programme captured its regular drumming, prayer and affirmations and introductions followed by guest speaker, Sa ‘Enya McBean, who spoke on ‘How to Safeguard Your Physical Well-being with Healing Interventions and Energy Medicines During Covid 19 Pandemic.’ Ms. McBean who considers herself as a medical intuitive, highlighted the genesis of that becoming to 25 years ago where she was diagnosed with stage four (4) ovarian cancer. Despite all efforts having done all the doctors recommended, the speaker revealed that her cancer was still in progression. As such, her search for healing and purification through natural remedies, emerged. This journey facilitated the creation of her book, ‘Pursuit of the Soul.’

Three herbs were offered as substitutes for those who may feel skeptical about the Covid - 19 vaccine or just the need to keep the body purified. The herbs she mentioned that can be used together during this health crisis are: Neem, (which has over 101 properties and help to purify the blood), Moringa and Guinea Hen, together they fortify the body and remove toxins. 

Sa ‘Enya informed the audience of the healing being done not only from a physical basis with herbs, but also the mental which takes into account daily affirmations like: “I am healed, healthy, I have a sound mind.” Healing in its entirety also incorporates the spiritual, which reminds us that what God has created, no man can destroy.

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LUMI Stimulus, Economic Liberator for the African Diaspora

LUMI Stimulus, Economic Liberator for the African Diaspora

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 (Montego Bay, Jamaica, W.I.)  The State of the African Diaspora (SOAD) held its first Jamaica Virtual Press Conference on March 11, 2021. The conference explored ‘Everything you need to know about the LUMI,’ a thirty-six-month stimulus package which began the distribution of the AKL LUMI Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) since October 28, 2020 and ends September 28, 2023.

The information session equipped Jamaicans to access and take full advantage of the opportunity for economic independence. The stimulus marks the genesis of a global economic transformation for all Jamaicans and by extension, the entire African Diaspora. SOAD’s official spokesperson, Deandrea Hamilton, referred to the phenomenon as “a pioneering event for the State of the African Diaspora”. 

This initiative, according to Dr Linus Etube, Developer of the Swifin Digital Platform, will give the approximately eighty percent (80%) of people who do not have access to a bank account, access and a foundation from which to experience economic freedom in a world where only one percent (1%) has ever been offered that opportunity. This will further diffuse the inclusivity of the currency. Over 135 countries with registered members, have been consistently receiving their monthly stimulus on the 28th of each month. Dr Linus reassured that “Everybody in Jamaica who has the Swifin account receive their LUMI stimulus on the 28th. About 135 countries around the world who will also receive their stimulus precisely on the 28th day of every month without fail.”

The AKL LUMI “is a very powerful currency. It is as much an instrument of inclusion as it is an instrument of trade and economic empowerment. It is an instrument that recognizes and embraces all collective birthrights and natural endowments. No man, no woman or no child shall be excluded,” Linus said.  LUMI is a tool for investment and trade for the disenfranchised in this bottom-up paradigm. Dr Etube demonstrated to attendees of the conference how to access the Swifin platform by sending and receiving AKL LUMIS. On the platform, users can utilize their AKL LUMIS, to pay for bus fare, cinema tickets or even fertilizers. Hugh Johnson, Vice Prime Minister of SOAD and a Jamaican, shared his success of selling his fertilizers to Jamaicans as a testament that they can begin trading with merchants on the Swifin marketplace with their LUMI now. Access the marketplace at http://www.Platform.swifin.com .

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Dr Amina Blackwood-Meeks Delivered at Sistas of D Ankh & Ma’at Sisterhood Circle

abm8 Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA- March 5, 2021 – The renowned international storyteller, Dr. Amina Blackwood - Meeks delivered a message which shifted perspectives at the Sistas of D Ankh & Ma'at Sisterhood Circle on February 28, 2021 at 1:00 P.M.

The virtual attendees were welcomed one by one on zoom to witness Dr Blackwood-Meeks’ powerhouse presentation which focused on using storytelling to rebuild, educate and transform the African community.

 

Amina Blackwood-Meeks explored the importance of defying ‘sick stories,’ like the story of Rapunzel which, based on her interpretation, is a story representing the over sexualization of our children. She pointed to a European perspective on the story which looked at the devastating reality of the kidnapping of children who aid in their victimization. To cement her point, she quoted a Nigerian philosopher, Ben Okri, who in a book of essay told us that “People are as healthy and as confident as the stories they tell themselves. Sick storytellers can make their nations sick and sick nations make for sick storytellers.” Therefore, be mindful of the stories that are told.

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A Note to the Couple and the Guests

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To those who have attended a very modern wedding, particularly one of the latter parts of the last decade, you may agree that weddings have truly been revolutionized, allowing guests to have an even grander time. These weddings are mirroring closely to international events like the BET Awards or the shenanigans of the Grammy Awards (I might be exaggerating, but I hope you get the point). From the fog and sparklers that adorn the dance floor, to the gleeful release of sky lanterns, in an attempt to add flair to an evening that some hope to be the beginning of forever and their happily ever after. Interestingly, even the very first dance of the couple bears a different face, one far from the conventional waltz, to fully choreographed moves. Admittedly, it is quite a spectacle to behold.

However, after that spectacle has ended, what’s next? Recent reports from family boards and media houses about the deterioration of some marriages, have confirmed that the fairy-tale captured in some wedding ceremonies, will one day pause or come to an end. Lately, the mettle of many marriages has been severely tested. Judging by the reports, the ‘test’ has been attributed to the increase in the time couples are compelled to stay in the same space, coupled with the unforeseen ‘dent in pockets’ that Covid -19 has brought on, all of which can lead to emotional distress.

To get through these challenging times, it necessitates use of olive branch. Therefore, it dawned on me that careful consideration must be given in the selection of wedding guests. Do you choose from a place of guilt and belief of obligation to relatives and childhood friends, or do you choose from the premise of those who love and support the longevity and joy of the relationship? This selection is an important responsibility for those who will be ‘tying the knot’ because guests must be cognizant that as there is a privilege to witness a start of a marriage, there must be some responsibility on them as the witnesses.

My point is, when you are creating your wedding list, choose wisely. These persons are not only to be witnesses of the wedding, but also supporters of the marriage. How practical is it to hold guests to this responsibility when the invitation was borne out of a sense of obligation to persons with whom no bond really still exists? How willing will these guests be to support the marriage, knowing that they only acted on the invitation they received? To the weds, choose wisely, to the guests, support the marriage.

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