A gathering of historic proportions, Jamaica Diaspora day was the first-ever virtual and global all-day event of this nature, which saw the broadcast and streaming of eleven (11) consecutive sessions throughout the day live on Jamaicans.com Facebook platform, OneLoveJamaica. Each session was delivered by the JDTAN and various Diaspora Organizations in association with Jamaians.com. The day featured over sixty (60) speakers, including Kevin Thurm of the Clinton Global Initiative who chronicled the activities, major milestones, and future goals of the JDTAN as they continue to make an indelible mark on nation-building.
The day started with a meet the WW Diaspora session, where Jamaica Diaspora organizations across the world were highlighted. Anna Morris, Acting President of the Jamaican Association of Australia commented: “I was truly honored to be able to participate in the Jamaica Diaspora Day. Due to the time difference, it was after 1 am Sydney time for me to attend. No matter the time, I would not let this miss me. Being on the panel with other Jamaican’s from around the world, sharing how we are representing our country, was one of my proudest moments ever.”
Among the thematic areas covered was Jamaica’s Deaf and Other Abled Communities session, which reinforced the need to develop a culture of inclusion in Jamaica. Amongst the presenters was Executive Director of the Caribbean Christian Centre for the deaf, Tashi Widmir who drew attention to ongoing challenges of the Deaf in Jamaica, which have been exacerbated by the restrictions imposed by the onset of COVID-19. The panel also included the Caribbean Centre for the Deaf, who took the opportunity of Jamaica Diaspora Day 2020 to renew calls for support. Awareness of the needs of the Other Abled communities has been strengthened by the newly formed Parenting and Other Abled Taskforce of the Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce.
Other sessions held include Health: Making a Difference Through Collaboration, Youth Leadership across the Diaspora, Heroes in Education, The Future Job Industry: Finding Opportunities and Building Networks, A Law Forum – Be in the Know legal issues of importance to the Diaspora, Media and the Diaspora and the day closed with a two hour Citizen Security and Safety session which included a review of Jamaica’s Citizen Security Plan by Brigadier Williams; The Community renewal program by the PIOJ, other related initiatives and ways the Diaspora can support ongoing projects. The day also saw performances by violinists – Sons of Mystro, poet – Dr. Sue, singers Andrew Clarke and Adrianna Clark as well as blind singer extraordinaire Candy Isaacs.
Leo Gilling chairman of JDTAN added “I attended the very first meeting in Jamaica in 2004 when the decision was made to create a Jamaica Diaspora Day. I am encouraged that over a decade a and a half later the movement has grown to this extent, where we see such a large virtual showing. It’s truly heart-warming.”
A recap of the sessions including recordings, session details, and speaker bios are available at www.jdtan.org.
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