by Howard Campbell
DECATUR, Georgia – When the final slate of candidates for representative for Southern Region of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC) is announced January 5, Lorraine J. Smith expects to be on the ballot. When final votes are tallied on January 25, she hopes to be the person succeeding Dr. Allan Cunningham in that position.
Smith, who is based in Decatur, Georgia, is a Mental Health expert who has worked for years in that field. Previously co-chair of the Northeast Region, she believes her hands-on approach in that job makes her a suitable candidate to lead the 13-state Southern Region, second-largest bloc in the GJDC.
“I’m coming from not just being a Mental Health professional, I’ve been in social services for years and I think anyone who sits in this office must be able to communicate with the Jamaican population here and in Jamaica,” said Smith, who was born in Kingston and raised in rural St. Catherine parish.
She has lived in the US for over 30 years. Most of that time was in New Jersey where she became a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor.
Many of the people Smith assisted were Jamaicans with psychological challenges looking to migrate to the US. Much of that work was done through the Northeast Region, largest of the GJDC blocs with 13 states and Washington DC.
“I think the work I’ve been doing over the years in the US and Jamaica makes me a suitable candidate. The Diaspora, as I believe, is supposed to be there to support Jamaicans whether here in the US or in Jamaica, so for me it’s just to continue that work,” she said.
The Southern Region USA comprises Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.