Seasons Greetings from Jamaica Awareness

By: Sydney S. Roberts

MIAMI GARDENS – As we get ready to welcome the New Year, On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of Jamaica Awareness, Inc., I want to say “season’s greetings” and to thank the South Florida community for the continued support that allowed us to have a very successful year in these most trying times.

2010 started on a very sad note for us and all people of the Caribbean, with the passing of “Professor,” the Honourable Ralston “Rex” Nettleford OM, a friend and mentor to the organization and myself. “Prof” was a true Caribbean Icon. We mourned his passing and continued to do the work of propagating our unique culture.

We had a very good run with our theatrical productions, Basil Dawkins, “For Better Or Worse,” and Patrick Brown’s, “Easy Street.” We were unable to implement the Caribbean Heritage Summer program, but nonetheless staged one of the best presentations of “Culturama,” after a three-year absence. We played our usual supporting role in the production of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival and ended the year with Oliver Samuels in Patrick Brown’s, “Puppy Love.”

As we look forward to 2011, we will begin the year in February, Black History Month, by paying tribute to “Prof” on the first anniversary of his passing with a panel discussion on “The Impact of Rastafari on the Culture of Jamaica, the Caribbean, and the World,” as addressed through religion, music, the arts, dress, and language. This event will culminate with the staging of “Caribbean Dance Celebration” featuring the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC), Prof’s enduring legacy to Caribbean arts and culture.

As we move forward, we hope to be worthy of your continued support as we present and preserve the cultures of Jamaica and the Caribbean through education, music, dance, and theatre. And as we continue to celebrate the season, let us not forget to give to those among us who are in need or unable to help themselves. Remember to share our culture with our neighbors as this will help them to better understand us as a people and members of the community. Most importantly, pass our culture on to our kids because they are the future; our culture will be preserved through and by them.

In closing, we are infinitely grateful to our sponsors and send them a big “thank you;” none of this would have been possible without them. Happy New Year to one and all, and as Miss Lou would say, “Walk Good and may good Duppy follow you.”

One Love – Sydney S. Roberts, President of Jamaica Awareness

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