Category: Forward!

Empress PJ Crosby: Transforming VI Youth through Expressive Arts

Empress PJ Crosby, poet, playwright, director, is transforming Virgin Islands youth, through the arts at Pistarckle Theatre each summer on St. Thomas. Born in London, England and raised in Long Island, NY Empress PJ Crosby has been working with the youth since she was a youth and is an active outreach teacher of spoken word and poetry.

Over the years, Empress PJ has repeatedly travelled with her programs to St. Thomas where she teaches children during the summers at the Pistackle Theatre. Since 2012, she has returned annually to teach her leadership program. Funded by a grant from the V.I. Department of Labor, “Stopping Crime Starts at the Roots!!” her youth playwright camp is now in its fourth year.

PJ has also taught at Kidscope Inc., which serves child victims of abuse, neglect and sexual molestation on St. Thomas. She says that what strongly influenced her interest and drive for working with youth was active involvement with organizations such as the Student Government, Campus Women’s Collective and the Honor Society during her college years.

Empress PJ Crosby Performing at The Rock Lounge

Empress PJ Crosby Performing Freestyle Poetry and Advertising her Youth Leadership program, at The Rock Lounge on August 14, 2015

Released on January 22, 2011, A Journey With Empress PJ is her debut solo CD. As an active freestyler, writer, poet, public speaker and mentor, while on island, she also continues to use her talents while performing at The Rock Collective’s The Rock Lounge or mentoring youth in the Virgin Islands and abroad.

Photos by DaraMonifah Cooper and from Empress PJ

Photos by DaraMonifah Cooper and from Empress PJ

For more information on Empress PJ, visit her artist page or email her at romanticpj@hotmail.com. To learn more about the program watch this video and read this article.

Savan’s Caretakers Returning Home to Organize

GrassrootsVI News – Savan’s Caretakers Returning Home to Organize

By DaraMonifah Cooper

Off-island ‘Savanero’, Iffat Walker walked through areas of Savan taking photos, video, talking to anyone and recruiting support both within and from around the community as part of the initial research stages for a clean-up and revitalization initiative set to initially kick-off in July. Her passion for her Virgin Islands’ neighborhood, and all of the family that still lives there, keeps her coming home regularly to visit and help build.

In addition to the research work done within the neighborhood itself, she also met with agencies and individuals who agreed to partner with the initiative in general support of re-building the community’s self-pride. After the first community meeting and a few initial networking meetings, including those with the Enterprise Zone Commission at the VI Economic Development Authority Director, Nadine Marchena Kean, and the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service’s (UVICES) District Supervisor, Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr., Iffat is further encouraged to continue with her research and outreach efforts.

Knowing that it takes a village, Iffat sought out the assistance of others who are already known for having similar or related missions. “It’s not my intention to reinvent the wheel. People here have already been doing this work and I’m just trying to help them work together better,” she stated. As one of the suggestions from young men in the neighborhood interested in having a community garden, Iffat also met with Albion “Chico” George of the UVICES office who is known for his work with starting up various community and school gardens.

Also seeking youth insight and support, she reached out to the Sankofa Saturdays Youth Cultural Education Initiative and was able to appear on their radio show as well as have footage taken and donated by their youth media team.

With challenges ranging from individual to organizational, she noted that there are a range of potential support systems needed and Iffat is determined to do whatever she can to use her community organizational, networking, professional and personal skills to rally others to give it another try collaboratively.

“Some have given up hope or were basically discouraged to continue due to a number of challenges, so we’re seeking that information as well as intend to be creative with forming solutions to those previous and current challenges,” she continued.

As one of the managing administrators for Community Action Now, Inc., a Georgia based organization; this is more than just another project for Iffat. She has a personal vested interest in the Savan area. “Many of the people walking around in Savan are my family,” she noted, also mentioning the need to change the negative impression some have of the area. “With Savan being the neighborhood in basically the center of Charlotte Amalie town, it would benefit the entire community to have it restored to better reflect its original reputation. The historical significance of Savan spans decades of stories with it being the first organized neighborhood for local businesses and activity,” she added.

Iffat noted that many Virgin Islanders are interested in returning home both to visit and to live, but like her, they are doing what they can from off island to help restore it first. With regular initiatives like the Department of Tourism’s territory-wide clean ups and all other organizations and individuals who regularly make their contributions on island or online, the air of hope and determination are building. With the assistance of those both on and off island, the Savan area and the Virgin Islands is prepped to becoming a cleaner, safer and more productive environment for residents and visitors alike.

For more information on this initiative, contact Iffat Walker at walkeriffat@gmail.com or check out the Proud to Be A Savanero Facebook group page and the main organization’s website based in Georgia. Photos are available here.

Bordeaux Farmers Monthly Market: A Healthy Experience for the Whole Family

Ras Amaha Kristos, the emcee of the Bordeaux Farmers' Market and a co-host of their weekly radio program.

Estate Bordeaux, St. Thomas, VI (April 12 2015) Ras Amaha Kristos, the emcee of the Bordeaux Farmers’ Market and a co-host of their weekly radio program stands at the podium. He is one of the local farmers that hosts a bi-weekly Estate Bordeaux Farmers’ Market on the Western most part of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The family friendly markets exist in a lush natural environment where healthy and homegrown food, fun, music and other entertainment are enjoyed by visitors. (Photo by DaraMonifah Cooper, Fullsail University New Media Journalism Student)

Bordeaux farmers on St. Thomas host a monthly family friendly market in a relaxed natural environment to share healthy and homegrown food, fun and music with families in the local community.

Visitors enjoy the view from alongside the market pavilion.

Estate Bordeaux, St. Thomas, VI (April 12 2015) Visitors take their time enjoying the view around the market pavilion overlooking the farms, hilly landscape and ocean view during the bi-weekly farmers market in the Bordeaux Mountains. Local farmers host a bi-weekly Estate Bordeaux Farmers’ Market on the Western most part of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The family friendly markets exist in a lush natural environment where healthy and homegrown food, fun, music and other entertainment are enjoyed by visitors. (Photo by DaraMonifah Cooper, Fullsail University New Media Journalism Student)

“Most people come only with the intention of purchasing local produce, but there’s so much more to experience than just the food, ” shared JahStarr Ras Koniyah, former secretary for the We Grow Food, Inc Bordeaux farmers organization prior to his untimely transition.

He would brag that, driving into the Western most part of the island, “the difference in the air,” is the first thing that changes as the city life is left behind replaced with the surrounding green hills and vegetation. The peaceful environment lays right in the middle of a small quiet neighborhood in the Bordeaux area also known as Fortuna.

Youth enjoy a game of 'basketball' alongside the market pavilion while their parents sell produce from their farm.

Estate Bordeaux, St. Thomas, VI (April 12 2015) Tikete Ludvig and younger brother enjoy a creative game of ‘basketball’ alongside the market pavilion while their parents sell produce from their farm. This and other creative activities are available for youth to enjoy freely around the market every other Sunday. Local farmers host a bi-weekly Estate Bordeaux Farmers’ Market on the Western most part of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The family friendly markets exist in a lush natural environment where healthy and homegrown food, fun, music and other entertainment are enjoyed by visitors. (Photo by DaraMonifah Cooper, Fullsail University New Media Journalism Student)

Here children run freely and the one main road is only a connecting line allows locals and visitors to get into and out of the area. A large portion of the hillside is farm land and home to the island’s oldest Rastafarian community. Horses, cows and other animals can be seen in the area and on every other Sunday music heard coming from the bi-weekly Farmers’ market.

Ras Amaha clears the soil in a tire garden near the compost bin area of the market.

Estate Bordeaux, St. Thomas, VI (April 12 2015) Ras Amaha loosens and clears the soil in a tire garden near the compost bin area of the marketplace, preparing it for the next watering during the bi-weekly farmers market in Bordeaux, St. Thomas. Local farmers host a bi-weekly Estate Bordeaux Farmers’ Market on the Western most part of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The family friendly markets exist in a lush natural environment where healthy and homegrown food, fun, music and other entertainment are enjoyed by visitors. (Photo by DaraMonifah Cooper, Fullsail University New Media Journalism Student)

Here is where you’ll find many of those known as the caretakers of the land as from sunrise to sunset there is always a hand in the soil preparing for the next rains or reaping. Young and old assist in the work and also in the enjoyment of celebration when it’s time. Along with technology that has made it’s way into this community, you will also see random children running around the market playing games made of everyday items like basketball with cardboard water boxes or baseball with sticks and stones. Even a simple game of tag transforms groups of youth into flashes of color and happy sound as they run by.

Husband and wife farmers working together are a normal site to expect at the bi-weekly market.

Estate Bordeaux, St. Thomas, VI (April 12 2015) Husband and wife, Ras Kiddus and Selah, stand proudly together. Selah said she only takes photos together with her husband displaying a perfect example of the type of family unity seen in the Bordeaux Mountains during the bi-weekly farmers market. Local farmers host a bi-weekly Estate Bordeaux Farmers’ Market on the Western most part of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The family friendly markets exist in a lush natural environment where healthy and homegrown food, fun, music and other entertainment are enjoyed by visitors. (Photo by DaraMonifah Cooper, Fullsail University New Media Journalism Student)

Here is where local families are found singing, dancing before, during and after they sell or trade their produce with each other and visitors that may appear. Decades of memories and traditions color the stalls high-lit with red, yellow and green as well as African symbols, sayings and faces.

A relaxing trip to the Bordeaux Farmers’ Market on a bi-weekly basis tends to leave smiles on the faces of many and lighter souls return to their homes after sunset every other Sunday from the hills of Bordeaux, on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. “A long ride for long life,” as We Grow Food, Inc. co-host Empress Shaca, proudly shares during their weekly radio show.

The Fruit of V.I. Agriculture in Good Hands: Profiles of Local Leaders – Dr. Louis E. Petersen Jr.

DaraMonifah.theArtist

The Fruit of V.I. Agriculture in Good Hands with Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr. and Commissioner Carlos Robles – Part One | Petersen’s story
By DaraMonifah Cooper

Dr. Petersen with UVI President Hall during AgFair Opening Ceremony Dr. Petersen with UVI President Hall during AgFair Opening Ceremony


Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr.
is a born and raised U.S. Virgin Islands leader whose life-long passion for agriculture has led to an exemplary career which has helped him to blaze a trail of successes that promise to be continued in his latest role at the University of the Virgin IslandsCooperative Extension Service (UVICES).

As described by Dr. Petersen, the story that led him on the path to agriculture began in 1975 during the longest teachers strike in the history of the Virgin Islands. He was a student at the Charlotte Amalie High School and along with other students, didn’t agree with staying at home. Although there were no teachers…

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The Fruit of V.I. Agriculture in Good Hands: Profiles of Local Leaders – Dr. Louis E. Petersen Jr.

The Fruit of V.I. Agriculture in Good Hands with Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr. and Commissioner Carlos Robles – Part One | Petersen’s story
By DaraMonifah Cooper

Dr. Petersen sitting with UVI President Hall and Dr. Marilym Brathwaite Hall during the STT-STJ AgFair Opening Ceremony

Dr. Petersen sitting with UVI President Hall and Dr. Marilym Brathwaite Hall during the STT-STJ AgFair Opening Ceremony


Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr.
is a born and raised U.S. Virgin Islands leader whose life-long passion for agriculture has led to an exemplary career which has helped him to blaze a trail of successes that promise to be continued in his latest role at the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service (UVICES).

As described by Dr. Petersen, the story that led him on the path to agriculture began in 1975 during the longest teachers strike in the history of the Virgin Islands. He was a student at the Charlotte Amalie High School and along with other students, didn’t agree with staying at home. Although there were no teachers in the classroom, what they did was to start an agricultural club at the school. They gradually got support from various sources, including from Cyril Emanuel King, the Governor at the time. King came to visit with them and expressed his love and encouragement for what they were doing. According to Dr. Petersen, when Governor King came, “the following day we got all the tools that we needed that we didn’t have.”

Dr. Petersen with Charlotte Amalie High School Future Farmers of America

Dr. Petersen with Charlotte Amalie High School Future Farmers of America

Reminiscing, Dr. Petersen shared that, “In the summer time, Governor King employed us through the youth commission, which was the ultimate encouragement. Petersen reports that when they were finished with school, they left and studied. In between his studies, Petersen came home to seek employment. For a semester, he worked for Extension Service. “That’s where my love, my familiarity with the role of the Extension Service office became apparent,” he explained. When he returned home from school, he continued to work at the Extension Service office.

In 1992, after first being a UVICES student worker and then Agent, Dr. Petersen was promoted to the position of UVICES District Supervisor. Three years later he became the U.S. V. I. Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture, then returned to UVICES as the District Supervisor, only to be promoted to U.S. V. I. Commissioner of Agriculture in 2007.

During the last eight years in his most reputable role as U.S. V. I. Commissioner of Agriculture, he said that he experienced “an extremely challenging but fulfilling eight years.” He reiterated, “There was no plan that was laid out for us when we started so we weren’t sure what to follow. Having gone through the full circle of thinking it through, sitting with staff, sitting with farmers devising a plan and then putting that plan in to action and seeing many parts of the plan be fulfilled,” Dr. Petersen explained how he lead the team that chalked up another great accomplishment for the Territory.

Expounding upon the same topic, Dr. Petersen said, “We are a territory that has been overlooked so many times by the National agency of agriculture and the USDA. Because of that we often times have not been considered or included in programs.” He added that two of those examples are the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which was made law in 2004, and the Farmers Market Promotion Program grant which was authorized in 1976.

Petersen Back at Work with CES speaks to NSF Grant Workshop Presenter Research Development Consultant Lucy Deckard

Petersen Back at Work with CES speaks to NSF Grant Workshop Presenter Research Development Consultant Lucy Deckard

He continued, “We took two of those eight years fighting a battle back and forth with correspondences, teleconferences and everything else before we were finally given the status of being eligible. That I feel was a great accomplishment because in my recollection we’ve never before challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to include us in programs that we were not eligible for. Subsequently, funding from that program was used in many areas including the fruit orchard establishment project which is now territory-wide.”

On the Farmers Market Promotion Program grant, Dr. Petersen shared, “We fought five years out of the eight years for the second one and only in 2012 did we become eligible. It was a great accomplishment and milestone in our history. Because of those two victories the territory is now eligible for more funding for agricultural development.”

“The two primary local agencies in the territory that work on behalf of and in support of farmers are indeed the (V.I.) Department of Agriculture and the UVI land grant program, meaning the Extension Service and Experiment Station, so we have always worked together,” shared Dr. Petersen. “I cannot think of one initiative in which we didn’t collaborate.”

He went on to say, “At the (V.I.) Department of Agriculture, our mandate was very broad whether it was outreach and policy establishment however with the Extension Service program our mandate is informal education to the farming clientele.”

Dr. Petersen and Carlos Robles on "What's Going on @UVICES" with hosts (DaraMonifah Cooper - capturing photo) and Christina Chanes

Dr. Petersen and Carlos Robles on “What’s Going on @UVICES” with hosts (DaraMonifah Cooper – capturing photo) and Christina Chanes

Commissioner Designee Carlos Robles, shared the same sentiment in the way the two agencies work hand-in-glove together. He expressed how long he has been learning from Dr. Petersen’s example from as far back as their school days attending Charlotte Amalie High when he first learned about the agriculture club that Petersen had played a major role in starting. In terms of how he sees the offices working together he made it clear that UVICES always plays a mandatory role in the success of the (V.I.) Department of Agriculture’s goals. “Informing farmers on how to work more efficiently and effectively is where we will be leaning on UVICES,” he added.

When asked how he feels about returning to UVICES, Dr. Petersen proudly stated, “I find myself continuing in many respect what we began and working for the same goal and the same clientele, but from another perspective.”

To be continued…
Keep following this blog, facebook, twitter and instagram for stories on Ag Commissioner Carlos Robles and We Grow Food, Inc. President Elridge “Sparks” Thomas

For more information email dcooper@uvi.edu.

United Virgin Islands Kwanzaa 2014-2015 Schedule of Activities

KWANZAA Banner at Fort Christian 2012

Saturday, Dec 20th 9-11pm Strength to Strength on WSTA Radio 1340 AM http://www.wsta.com (Passed: Stay Tuned for archived photos, videos and audio from the radio interview.)

Monday, Dec 22nd Morning Kwanzaa Presentation at Bertha C. Bochulte Jr.  High School (In progress)

Wednesday, Dec 24, 2014 12-1pm Out to Lunch Radio Program with Tommy Boatwright on AM 1000

Thursday, Dec 25, 2014 – Kwanzaa Eve

Sunset until; Hanging of Kwanzaa Banner at Fort Christian/Emancipation Garden and Screening of The Black Candle – A Kwanzaa story – Another Natural Livity/Sankofa Saturdays Fundraiser by Donation (Tentative)

Pay it Forward – Kwanzaa Zawadi Exchange: Making commitments to do for others during the week of Kwanzaa as a random act of kindness (Tentative)

Friday, Dec 26 – Umoja (UNITY)

– 6 p.m. St. John Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Franklin Powell Ballpark

– 7 p.m., Wesley Methodist Church in Tutu. African Diaspora Youth Development Foundation presents their annual Kwanzaa Program with music by Echo People, Guest Speakers, African Marketplace, good food and Kwanzaa activities. (Confirmed)

Saturday, Dec 27 – Kujichagulia (SELF-DETERMINATION)

– 5 – 6 p.m.; Kwanzaa Education & Music Radio Program on WUVI AM 1090, presented by KWANZAA365 and Sankofa Saturdays Youth Cultural Education Initiative. (Confirmed)

– 6:30 p.m.; Arian’s Restaurant. Pan-Afrikan Support Group and Environmental Rangers present their annual Kwanzaa Gathering and Educational Program. (Confirmed)

Sunday, Dec 28 – Ujima (COLLECTIVE WORK & RESPONSIBILITY)

– 10 a.m.; We Grow Food Farmer’s Market at the Bordeaux Farmers & Agricultural Grounds. A Kwanzaa program will start at 2 p.m. highlighting the principle of Ujima with poetry, youth activities, music and other cultural education and entertainment. Farmers produce, arts, crafts, wholesome meals and refreshments will be available in the African Marketplace. (Tentative)

-4:30 p.m.; The annual Kwanzaa Run & Walk will take place starting and finishing on the UVI soccer/baseball field. One can run 7 km (4.3 miles) on the road to/from the Airport or walk or run a two mile course. They hope to offer caps to the first 30 registrants. Contact Roy Watlington for details: 777-8183 (Confirmed)

Monday, Dec 29 – Ujamaa (COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS)

Tuesday, Dec 30 – Nia (PURPOSE)

Wednesday, Dec 31 – Kuumba (CREATIVITY)

– Sunrise/Sunset; The Blake Family hosts sunrise and sunset Hatha Yoga at Brewers Beach. (Tentative)

Thursday, Jan 1, 2015 – Imani (FAITH)

– Midday/Early Afternoon; United Communities Kwanzaa Potluck at Brewers Beach. Bring a natural dish or seasonal refreshment and a cultural or literary gift for the Kwanzaa Zawadi Exchange. (Tentative)

#KWANZAA365 More than just a Holiday; Nguzo Saba as a Way of Life!

A Tale of Two Perspectives: Economic Growth through Environmental Development

Internet use and multi-media documentation has facilitated community education in the recent movement to “Save Mandahl Bay” on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. While opposing stories and letters have been shared in the local online and print newspapers, Mrs. Anna Wallace-Francis of Camp Umoja and Friends of Mandahl Bay are actively strategizing towards preserving the natural environment on St. Thomas.

Anna Wallace-Francis and First Lady CECILLE DEJONGH

Anna Wallace-Francis with First Lady Cecille deJongh during a tour of Camp Umoja and the Mandahl Bay Area. Photo ©SankofaSaturdays

Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Wallace-Francis shared that when attempting to research desired public documents, they still experienced various challenges with obtaining information. Waiting days longer than they felt were necessary for recently filed documents, the repeated inability to reach specific persons and realizing that some documents were unavailable due to being destroyed as a directive from higher authority were a few of their experiences.

Nevertheless, to facilitate educating the public, Friends of Mandahl Bay have pooled their skills and research knowledge to share the public government documents on their blog, including the development agreement, lease agreement and deeds related to Mandahl Bay.

Camp Umoja Welcome Wall

Anna Wallace-Francis with First Lady Cecille deJongh during a tour of Camp Umoja and the Mandahl Bay Area.

Camp Umoja’s Mandahl Bay area tours, similar to one held on Dec 13, 2014 with the Hotel Association and St. Thomas Chamber of Commerce including the First Lady Cecille deJongh, also help to educate the community on concerns of those in favor or opposed to transforming the Mandahl Salt Pond area to build a new “300-room Hyatt Regency Hotel,” according to a VI Daily News story.

If developers are eventually successful with building, a concern is that too often, local people are not qualified to make more than substantial salaries. “If we don’t have the skills or bonds to build a marina, then those jobs wouldn’t come to us. Those jobs would probably go to people flown in from Puerto Rico or elsewhere and the remaining service-oriented jobs would offer low wages, which still leaves Virgin Islands people needing to work two jobs,” shared Wallace-Francis.

Knowing locals who, with support, could start their own eco-tourism, agri-tourism and culture-tourism businesses almost immediately, Wallace-Francis shared that she felt entrepreneurship instead is in the best interest of helping the community.

Wallace-Francis provides eco-tours as well as kayaking, snorkeling and other environmental or educational activities. Local youth programs including student interns from the University of the Virgin Islands and Syracuse University’s collaborations have already benefitted from workshops on the campground’s location. She also envisions the ability to add horseback riding, sustainable cottage industries as well as cultural productions, performances, along with more educational marine-life and sustainable agriculture workshops.

Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Wallace-Francis shared that when attempting to research desired public documents, they still experienced various challenges with obtaining information. Waiting days longer than they felt were necessary for recently filed documents, the repeated inability to reach specific persons and realizing that some documents were unavailable due to being destroyed as a directive from higher authority were a few of their experiences.

Port of Mandahl Project New Jobs List

Proposed New Jobs with the Port of Mandahl Proj

Nevertheless, to facilitate educating the public, Friends of Mandahl Bay have pooled their skills and research knowledge to share the public government documents on their blog, including the development agreement, lease agreement and deeds related to Mandahl Bay.

Photo/Video Footage Collage from the Tour on Dec 13, 2014

V.I. Seeking Solutions in Solidarity with Ferguson

handsup

Saving Our Sons, Healing Ourselves: Reflecting on Michael Brown. Photo by Jalani Horton

Daily News Story on the Gathering

Virgin Islands Daily News Story on the Gathering in Case you Missed it…

On a day like today all I care to do is write
The sound of my own voice instigates a useless internal fight
Why does it surprise us when we know where we are
We should’ve already had a plan before the distraction got this far

Now we’re falling right into the senseless master plan
They don’t have to see your cards if you’re always showing them your hand
Is it really that impossible to think outside the box?
The strategy should be easier to see, we’re the ones that made the locks

But just because we did it’s the end of the discussion
We also make the keys so why we accepting this concussion
Wake up my people, it’s not time to act off of emotion
Let’s use this as a reminder, to ourselves we need devotion

It’s not that I don’t care or don’t see the reason to speak out
Sometimes when the noise is so loud, I’d just rather listen than shout

I’ve learned through our confusion; in the silence comes the solution

Get to the core, constant contact now needed even more
ReBuild. We are the resounding resolution

©DaraMonifah

Giving ThAnkhs for siStarQueens like Dena & Jahweh for bringing the V.I. solidarity gathering to life for the sake of our listening, learning, healing and re-building.

Saving Our Sons, Healing Ourselves | Their Lives Matter; Our Lives Count! Headed down to Brewer’s Beach #Solidarity #BrownFriday#blackfridayblackout #BlackLivesMatter #FergusonDecision #KWANZAA365Sankofa Saturdays Unsung Sheroes VI

saving saving1 saving2 saving3

#UnitedWeStandVI Young Media Personalities use New Media Approaches to Inform, Educate and Mobilize without Concern for Intentional Government Interference

IMG_0952

Petition circulating through the efforts of V.I. community activists to, “Prohibit the billing of customers/consumers for streetlights.”

Though various countries around the globe have had incidents of temporary shutdown of the internet and or mobile technology to prevent protests, young media people in the Virgin Islands doubt the effectiveness of such an effort in the V.I. As a matter of fact, they strongly doubt that many in the V.I. would even be willing to demonstrate in public about pressing matters and that many in the community would think that losing power temporarily wasn’t anything strange. Still a few concerned citizens have banned together to tackle a common goal even in the midst of doubt of success and frustration due to lack of total unification by the people most affected.

“Here we’re used to power fluctuations, WAPA not working, phones aren’t working but normally they’re attributed to something that’s not political. I don’t think that people are as active politically as they should be, but they are using the internet and Facebook,” shared April Rose Fale Knight, local television news reporter for CBS TV2.

The latest petition circulating through the efforts of community activists is a petition to the Obama Administration to, “Prohibit the billing of customers/consumers for streetlights.” https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/prohibit-billing-customers-consumers-streetlights/zbnfSd1m

According to media reports in 2011, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) removed power to underground cell phone towers at four stations to disrupt a protest and may be the first government agency in the United States to shutter mobile-internet and phone service in a bid to quash a demonstration. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/16/bay_area_rapid_transit_accused_of

Knight stated that though millions of instant messages may work to start demonstrations which could scare the governments into the illegal temporary shutting down of internet to prevent protests, it probably won’t have the same effect in the Virgin Islands. Knight, who was in the Philippines during the E.D.S.A. Revolution #2, experienced going out into the streets and demonstrating. “Back home, if people don’t like the president, we’d just go out an protest and then we’d have a new president,” she said. Knight was part of an activist group in the Philippines and they received messages saying “wear black, go to this place” and they went. According to Knight, this approach generated a lot of bodies because the common people were still using basic phones. http://www.forbes.com/asap/2001/0910/028.html

“Virgin Islands people don’t demonstrate. We’re not protesting, we’re bringing awareness,” local radio host Shamira “SoLove” Collins shared at an organizational meeting for #UnitedWeStandVI. “If you’re in a country that’s kind of already politically agitated, just the mention of shutting down the internet is gonna cause a protest,” shared Knight. “Not here, we’re used to stuff not working.”

“Using the internet and mobile technology isn’t as hot an idea here in the Virgin Islands, but with groups like #UnitedWeStandVI popping up, it can be,” stated Knight.

Higher-ing myEducation: My latest chapter enrolled in New Media Journalism M.A. at FullSail U.

myUVIWUVIBannerCoverpic

Yes, I know that heading is totally non-representative of my grammatical skills, yet it does let you know that I have a sense of humor and am an artist. It also let’s you know that I’m a non-conformist and a Kreative out-of-the-(What Box) thinker. Goal reached.

So… I closed my eyes, held my breath, clicked the buttons and now I’m actively an online student in Full Sail University‘s New Media Journalism program. Y’know the online school thing I was deathly afraid of doing? Yeah, well I’m doing it and it feels GRRRREAT! (I wonder if Frosted Flakes has that copyrighted?)

Don’t ask me how much it cost. A lot. How I’m paying for it? Still figuring that out and making it up as I go along… yes I did fill out the scholarship, financial aid and loan documents, but I’m determined to find ways of paying it without worrying. so far, so good.

What am I learning? How will it affect me? What good will it do?

Stay tuned… I have all the answers I need for now. 

So will you.

Check out my nu twitter bio for now and follow me @DaraMonifah:

NuMediaJournalistinTraining.Artist.Educator.Musician.Mother.YouthMentor.CulturePromoter& 🙂

 

***Also like the website’s Facebook Page whenever it’s approved: DaraMonifahDotCom