Looking forward to INjoying Andie’s Nu Musik this Kwanzaa Eve! The literal prelude already has me anticipating yet another masterpiece of sound(s).
I remember watching my first sunset and being amazed at the colors in the sky. Growing up, the vibrancy of life excited me. The Rastafarian colors, the carnival colors and the shades of skin tones painted a story. The message was far deeper than words could express. The colors around me captured emotions.
The year 2015 has been filled with great professional accomplishments but reeked of pain due to the suffering of people who look like me. Color in many countries can mean the difference between life and death. Colorism within my community can have a negative impact on the soul.
In October, I decided to capture my personal feelings about color and challenge some deeply rooted beliefs in society. As I sat there and began composing music, different thoughts came to mind. I thought about how listeners created their own meanings for my previous compositions. The mood of the…
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Since 2001, Native Doctor, Wendy V. Coram Vialet, N.D. returned home to the U. S. Virgin Islands after medical school to help using her appreciation and education of nature’s healing abilities. Respectful of the wisdom passed down from grandparents, traditional culture bearers and natural healers, Dr. Coram Vialet is also knowledgeable of the need to educate the community on cautions in order to prevent accidental toxic reactions.
Born and raised on the island of St. Thomas, she attended local public and private schools then continued to obtain her Bachelor degrees from the University of the Virgin Islands and Syracuse University in the Biological Sciences. In 1996, she learned about Naturopathic Medicine, realizing her life path as a healing facilitator. She graduated in June of 2000 with a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and in March of 2001, she became certified in Naturopathic Midwifery.
“I returned home to assist the people of the Virgin Islands in achieving a better quality of life through optimal health and wellness measures,” she said.
Listen to more about Dr. Coram Vialet:
Since there was no legislation for naturopathy in the Virgin Islands, at the time when she returned, Dr. Coram Vialet served as a Naturopathic Medicine pioneer and was instrumental in passing legislation (V. I. Code: TITLE TWENTY-SEVEN Professions and Occupations Chapter 4. Naturopathic Physician Licensing) to license naturopathic physicians in the territory.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Dr. Coram Vialet is currently the Associate Director of the Institute for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness at the University of the Virgin Islands. Prior to running for political office in 2014, Dr. Coram Vialet was also employed as the Director for the University’s Center for the Study of Spirituality and Professionalism. She has been most endorsed by her LinkedIn networking community in the areas of leadership, teaching, higher education, public speaking, research and community outreach.
While serving in her roles at the University, Dr. Coram Vialet also provides office hours at her practice in two locations on island. As stated on her Facebook about page, Corvia Natural Healthcare Services is, “an established family health and wellness office serving the V.I. community blending scientific medical expertise and traditional healthcare approaches.”
In addition to her professional studies, Dr. Coram Vialet also enjoys performance arts. She learned her favorite quote, “Nothing is so complicated, that it cannot be simplified by hard work,” during her years as a student in the Rising Stars Steel Orchestra. Also enjoying pageantry, she held the title of the first Miss University of the Virgin Islands in 1988.
The local drink called chlorophyll in the Virgin Islands is similar to a blended iced tea. Made from extracting the chlorophyll out of plants and tea bushes, through the process of blending and straining of the excess bulk of the plants, what remains is a light iced tea flavored beverage usually served cold. Many who make it locally use guinea grass as their base ingredients, and then add lemongrass and other medicinal plants.
Found normally in health food stores, vegetarian restaurants, farmers markets or at some pharmacies, both forms are readily available for purchase in the Virgin Islands. The medicinal properties of either can vary depending on their ingredients.
According to Dr. Wendy V. Coram Vialet, of Corvia Natural Healthcare Services (CNHS), “the international version is made from a species of alfalfa, while the local version is usually made from guinea and or lemon grass.” Both guinea and lemongrass grow wild in the Virgin Islands.
Dr. Wendy went on to explain that in cases of iron deficiency anemia, chlorophyll is used to help with blood building as well as oxygenation. She said that, “it is a good source of energy and provides adrenal and immune support.”
A post on Pinterest shared much of the same information plus the benefits of chlorophyll with increasing red blood cell formation, blood purification, and blood pressure regulation even to helping with bad breath.
She continued saying that it is also used in some forms of cancer, is a good source of nutrients, can be used for general health maintenance and in cases of fasting due to its mineral and vitamin content.
Just as they both have benefits; there are potential risks from overconsumption, or in some cases, consumption period, from those who have reactions to various herbs. “The main concern is the overuse of any herb or supplement that renders it non-effective over time or induces harm to the patient,” said Dr. Wendy.
“There are no regulations in place to ensure that the product is the same every time it is made,” she added, expressing a concern more related to quality control specifically to how the herbs are grown and prepared.
In search of information concerning other concerns, a tweet from Wellness Wednesday stated,“This was concerning RE: Risks of Liquid Chlorophyll” and shared a link to a Livestrong.com article that shared concerns from allergic reactions to digestive tract disturbances as well as that some of the plants used when making liquid chlorophyll could potentially expose consumers to,” heavy metals, pesticides and other environmental toxins from the water or soil. Pesticides can interrupt hormone function, damage the nervous system or cause cancer”.
Another tweet stated that, “The green chlorophyll also produces compounds called glycoalkaloids, such as solanine, that are toxic.” Researching further on the subject, one can find a scholarly study of the toxic hazard that might be associated with the consumption of green potato tops.
Classically trained chef, who became an executive chef at the age of 24, food and lifestyle blogger Christopher Stewart shares in her post, why she drinks liquid chlorophyll. “I drink chlorophyll because of its healing properties,” said local artist, Jahweh David, who grew up learning about herbs from her mother (just as her mother learned from her grandmother) as well as local herbalists, also mentions similar reasons. “It tastes great and is refreshing,” she added.
With an increasing number of people in the Virgin Islands learning about and consuming liquid chlorophyll, the need for more education has become apparent and there are those knowledgeable about and interested in helping the community by cooperating with each other. In addition to physicians, local researchers like Toni Thomas, Extension Agent at the UVI Cooperative Extension Service (UVICES), known for her book on Traditional Medicinal Plants in the Virgin Islands, is willing to help with educating the community with research-based information.
Affectionately known in her hometown within the Virgin Islands as Dr. Wendy, she is available at CNHS on Wednesdays between 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm and the third Saturday of the month in suite 104 at the Foothills and also has office hours at Synergy, in Red Hook. CNHS is an established whole family health and wellness office serving the Virgin Islands community using the principles and practices of naturopathic medicine. For more info visit www.corvianhs.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (340) 774-0224. Stay connected on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/corvianhs.
Father and son team, James and Jamaal Carroll continue their personal mission of empowering and supporting young men in the community with the Virgin Islands Fathers March this September 8, 2015 starting with a rally on Saturday, August 29th.
As an attorney, judge and most recently having previously been appointed by the Governor in the position of Virgin Islands Attorney General, James Carroll III, has what is considered to be an expert perspective on what kinds of things are needed to help young people succeed, both in school and life in general.
Judge Carroll states,”Research shows that children whose fathers take an active role in their educational lives, earn better grades, score higher on tests, enjoy school more and are more likely to graduate from high school and college.”
“This has a real objective to get the fathers to go back to school with their children,” he continued.
Having gone through the experience of losing his own son to gun violence has helped to make it one of his personal purposes to affect change in the community by being an example for young men and providing opportunities for them to have better chance at succeeding.
James’ son, Jamaal Carroll, currently holds the position of Anti Violence and Peace Initiative Coordinator at the University of the Virgin Islands. This position gives Jamaal the opportunity both to support some of his family’s initiatives as well as those directly related to the University’s students.
In addition to the V.I. Walk/Run Against Violence and Peace Walk, another of their initiatives is the VI Father’s March where they collaborate with other organizations to encourage fathers to take their children to school on the first day as well as support them throughout the school year. In preparation for the March, they hold a public barbeque and community event where they give out certificates, vouchers for free haircuts, t-shirts and other giveaways at a precursory Rally for Father’s March. They have the fathers say a pledge, committing to support their children on the first day of school and beyond.
This year, the Rally will take place on Saturday, August 29th, from 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm at the Emile Griffith Park and on September 8th, fathers will go to school with their children as part of their V.I. Fathers March.
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.
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.
Organized by the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service (UVICES) office, in collaboration with other agencies, the UVICES held the Agricultural Enrichment Summer Camp (AESC), officially merging two types of agriculture related youth organizations (Future Farmers of America and 4-H) for the first time in the territory. The camp took place at the UVICES office on the University’s St. Thomas campus and was lead by their staff as well as junior counselors from various high school FFA organizations.
Earlier in the year, the FFA Hunger Drive and School-based Farmers Market held their collaborative activities in support of encouraging youth in agriculture while promoting general community agricultural awareness. The summer program was yet another experience for youth to engage together around the theme of agriculture education.
“This experience ‘kinda like’ opened my eyes. It gave me an opportunity to really not only look into just agriculture itself, but myself,” said Jonisha Aubain, AESC camp Junior Counselor and Charlotte Amalie High School FFA organization Treasurer.
Due to financial restraints, their regular 4-H summer camp has not been offered in the past two years. UVICES staff decided instead of waiting hopeful for renewal of funding, it was time to find a way to create another program for youth. The success of the program can be attributed through local partnerships with the Departments of Labor, Human Services, and the Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.
“From the perspective of our partners, they were hoping to connect these young adults, from their unit especially, with job opportunities,” said Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr. Ph.D., UVICES Assistant Director of Agriculture & Natural Resources. “The success in this case is that we were able to make a partnership, a connection, with the Mahogany Run Golf Course who indeed accepted to have one of our youngsters, after coming to the program, work with them.”
The camp finished as of their closing program on Friday, August 7, 2015. The parents and general community were able to see for themselves what the youth gained at the camp closing ceremony which showcased presentations by the students that reflected their summer experiences while working directly with a diversity of agriculture professionals, including crop and livestock producers, landscapers, agricultural instructors, inspectors, enforcement officers, etc. during the six week program which began on June 29, 2015.
Ashlely “Ashanti” George, Albion “Chico” George and Dr. Petersen as well as other UVICES staff lead the youth camp during the six weeks. Photos were captured of all activities, guest speakers and field trips and can be found on the UVICES facebook page. An exploration of career topics in agriculture included:
- Veterinary medicine
- Livestock and poultry science
Irrigation and water usage activities and field trips included:
- Ivanna Eudora Kean High School aquaponic farm
- two local landscaping & plant nurseries
- tool safety & usage demonstrations
- Introduction to 4-H & FFA Organizations
- UVI Marine Science Center boat trips
- US Customs and Border Protection canine inspection demonstration
- plant propagation exercises
- local farms
- plant Identification exercises
- seedling production
- irrigation system assembly
Dr. Petersen reflects on the experience and shared that the six-week summer program successfully increased knowledge and created awareness of career and work opportunities in the field of agricultural science both for the youth and their parents. The second objective was also successful in equipping the participants with job preparation skills through classroom presentations, practical exercises, and field activities. One camper has gained employment at a position at the Mahogany Run Golf Course, a junior counselor is now employed at St. Thomas Adventure Tours with other potential job placements still in negotiation at other locations. As networking continues throughout the year, other students are expected to be connected to local businesses or organizations.
UVICES staff will stay connected to students throughout the year and will include them in other activities including the 31st Caribbean Agro-Economics Symposium happening on St. Croix from Monday, August 10. At the conference, FFA and 4-H students will present collaboratively on what we have been doing regarding the aspects of production, promotion through social media, and the actual market site. They also will share their success in the indoor systems they have used used a model for the issue of climate change mitigation.
The community can assist through volunteering their time and mentorship support, sharing the news of the activities as well as simply being present at various public activities to congratulate and further encourage the youth.
“We’ve had no 4-H program for two years, the public has been calling and we just responded to that need. So we like to pride ourselves, as we said, to responding to the changing needs,” he continued.
“That is exactly what we have been doing for the six weeks. We also like to pride ourselves on responding to the changing needs of the community,” said Petersen, as they have shown in providing a successful and effective youth camp.
With a new location, The Rock Lounge, a monthly poetry and open mic creative expression event on St. Thomas, had about 40 people in attendance on Friday, June 12, 2015 at the recently opened E’s Garden Teahouse and Things. Found just beyond the easternmost point of Charlotte Amalie’s backstreet, at the bottom of Bunker Hill, the teahouse ads color and a new energy to the area of Garden Street and The Rock Lounge enhanced it even more.
No matter where it’s located, the same can be said for the experience according to Jahweh David, the event co-host.
“The Rock Lounge is an exciting space and place in each and everyone of us that is always ready to be nurtured, where our creativity can be cultivated, and community can be supported,” she added.
In addition to poetry, all types of creative expression is featured and the audience ranges from creatively energetic school children to teachers and senators. What’s special about the event, based on the audiences that attend, is the openness of the crowd and how that helps to promote and motivate those who never even considered writing, much less sharing their feelings and experiences in public. The hosts always encourage the crowd to show support for everyone that steps up to the mic, no matter the message or the method of expression.
Local musical and poetry performer Akingtafari, shared his thoughts about the over a decade of memories created as a member of the group that organizes the event.
“Being one of the original members of The Rock Collective has enabled me to use my creativity to be satisfying to my soul,” he stated.
The tea shop also prepares food, has drinks and is currently an art gallery space. Owner Judith Edwin had long envisioned a place where she could sell teas and things, hang art as well as other ideas before contacting Rock Collective members about having their event at the location.
Held only every second Friday monthly, the organizers have found a way to keep it very simple and easy for anyone to feel comfortable. Using only text messages, their Facebook page posts and word-of-mouth grassroots advertising, their normal location at The Frenchtown Deli usually only has standing room only by the end of the night.
The next event will be held on Friday, July 10, 2015 again at the Teahouse. To get notified monthly by mobile text as a Rock Lounge event reminder, send a text message with your name to 340-642-5851 asking to join the reminder list.
About sixty–five persons relaxed to the smooth sounds of local jazz by the sea at the Fat Turtle Restaurant, Sunday afternoon, during one of the multiple open air free music events on the island of St. Thomas. Located in Yacht Haven Grande, Fat Turtle now features the “Sweetlife Jazz Band” from 5:00 – 8:00 pm on Sundays for “Jazz by the Sea” as part of something new and different for local or visiting jazz lovers.
At around 3:30 pm, Hughley Prince, the band’s drummer arrived and began setting up. “We’ll be here every week and start at 5:00 pm,” he stated. “We used to play from four to seven, but then realized that the crowd arrives later,” he added. Encouraging people to stay and listen, he shared a little more about the band who one by one starting arriving.
Soon afterward, you could hear the keys on the piano played by Louis Taylor, a retired school music teacher and well-known local jazz master. Next, bass player Rhett Simmonds strolled in followed by the band’s lead singer Jerry Harris, also known for his performances around the island.
Performing classics like Lean on Me; Loving You; S’Wonderful; and other crowd favorites, it did not take long before they had thae crowd singing and swinging along. Even though the four have been playing there on Sundays since right after Easter, people are still only just finding out. Ayesha Morris, who was in the area and just passed by to have a drink, shared her thoughts.
“A friend texted me that it happens every Sunday, but tonight was my first time experiencing it first hand,” she said. “The music was light and soothing,” she continued.
Located just a five minute walk away from Havensight Mall and cruise ship dock, all throughout the year there are yachts docked right over the restaurant’s side which also overlooks the Charlotte Amalie harbour. Near an open seating area that joins other neighboring restaurants in the duty free retail village, Fat Turtle is a popular favorite among travellers and locals alike featuring seafood, salads, gourmet pizzas, and exotic frozen drinks.
For more information on the Sweetlife Jazz Band, go down and check them out on Sunday afternoons at the Fat Turtle in Yacht Haven Grande.
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 email@example.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.
Branford Marsalis Parker came to the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) as an exchange student from Chicago with the intention of building his photography and videography portfolio. He ended up being the main recruiter for students in the University’s Communications area and WUVI student radio station.
When he originally moved into the dorms on UVI’s St. Thomas campus, Branford’s initial personal goal was to work on his mission of building his own digital media resume. Instead, when his website class got cancelled, he ended up enrolling into a radio production class. Not really being interested in broadcast journalism, Branford found himself redefining his purpose and recreating his mission. He would use his new personal connections with the Communications students and radio club to give himself more practice with his craft.
His motivation quickly increased while merging efforts with Michael “DJ Temp” McFarlane, who Parker credits for getting him involved with the radio station and Communications program. As time passed, he forced himself to be more social and started speaking to people that he normally would normally not have approached, with his common random question, “Do you wanna join the media club?”
Soon, he became the President of the WUVI 4-H Collegiate Media Club, recruiting students into the media club, radio station backup crew and Communications Department at every given opportunity. He was then offered the position as the WUVI Student Radio Station Production Manager. Combining his new responsibilities, he saw opportunities unfold not only for himself, but for fellow classmates, non-communications major students in the club as well as collectively as a student radio station.
Parker was largely responsible for organizing, hosting or assisting with on campus social events that helped to make the student population more aware and supportive of the Media club and radio station. His largest organizational accomplishment, and quite possibly the most well attended student event for the semester, was having a standing room only event called ‘Wildin’ Out‘.
As Production Manager, Parker’s responsibilities included editing and finalizing all radio audio prior to airing, assisting with social media posting. He created commercials, promos and edited shows for uploading to the WUVI SoundCloud digital archive site.
As if being the on call photographer, videographer and President of the club, adding audio editing seemed to round off all of the digital media work he had originally hoped to build on. His mission redefined, Branford Marsalis Parker unknowingly worked himself into being the MVP of the University of the Virgin Island’s WUVI Student Radio Station.