Category: Places

Liquid Chlorophyll Consumption in the VI: Superfood or Kryptonite


Chlorophyll Infographic CNHSThe 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.

Dr. Wendy in office at Corvia Natural Healthcare Services

Dr. Wendy in office at Corvia Natural Healthcare Services

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.

A cup of liquid Chlorophyll made in the Virgin Islands

A cup of liquid Chlorophyll made in the Virgin Islands

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 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.

Jahweh David drinks chlorophyll at sunset, "because of its healing properties," on John Brewers Beach.

Jahweh David drinks chlorophyll at sunset, “because of its healing properties,” on John Brewers Beach.

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, email or call (340) 774-0224. Stay connected on Facebook

Chlorophyll made in the Virgin Islands as sold at the Natural Livity Kulcha Shop and Juice Bar

Chlorophyll made in the Virgin Islands as sold at the Natural Livity Kulcha Shop and Juice Bar with a UVICES book on Tropical Fruit Nutrition

Monthly Open Mic Night Relocates to New Teahouse

Outdoor Sign for E's Tea house

Outdoor Sign for E’s Tea house

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.

art gallery signThe 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.

See more photos from the first night at the teahouse here, on their Facebook page, check out a few below and visit their website for more info at

paintings on the wall tea cup behind audience TAname on mic with crowd non-judgement

Jazz Lovers Living the Sweet Life Sundays at Fat Turtle Restaurant

Jerry Harris of Sweetlife Jazz Band sings for a Sunday afternoon crowd at Fat Turtle

Locals mellowed out as Jerry Harris of Sweetlife Jazz Band sings for a Sunday afternoon crowd at Fat Turtle Restaurant

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 GrandeFat 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.

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 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.

How Branford Marsalis Parker’s WUVI Experience Transformed his Mission

Branford Marsalis Parker at WUVI

Branford Marsalis Parker hosting a radio show at WUVI AM 1090 on the St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands.

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.

Collectively Planting our Seeds Firmly in a Foundation of Culture, History, Art and Community at FYCIP

On Saturday, April 25, 2015, parents, facilitators and young boys at the Family Resource Center Youth Intervention Program celebrated the closing ceremony of their Boys Rites of Passage program. The gathering allowed parents to see the various character building experiences and growth their children achieved during their months together as participants of the program. The free program is funded by the Department of Human Services, and starts in January and September annually.

The boys are ages 9 to 12 years-old and with more community support, the program can continue to offer free lunches and field trips. This would help as they continue to provide their weekly tai-chi, computer literacy, social development/socialization skills, cultural literacy and ecological art activities. The classes take place at their Second Avenue FYCIP center on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. A closing ceremony, usually occurs at the end of each component with a Rites of Passage for girls that happens in summers for six weeks. For more information, call Greg McGriff, Ph.D. at 340-776-9085 or email
Students start the day off doing Tai Chi and Chi Gung

Learning emotional and spiritual self management Tai Chi with Calvin Dallas students start the day off doing Tai Chi and Chi Gung to balance and center themselves with self discipline and focusing techniques outdoors facilitated by Calvin Dallas. Dallas is one of the four adult instructors at the Boys Rites of Passage Program on St. Thomas, VI under the Family Resource Center.

Dallas bringing it in with the boys after a Tai Chi morning session

Photo Caption: Calvin Dallas bringing it in with the boys after a Tai Chi morning session

Teaching self pride and respect through cultural literacy, Dr. Celia Victor uses methods like The Virtues Project along with modern and basic history  instilling a sense of accomplishment and possibilities in the young men.

Teaching self pride and respect through cultural literacy, Dr. Celia Victor helps a student present his vision board to the parents, facilitators and other youth.

Addelita Cancryn Jr. High School Art Teacher Leba OlaNiyi teaches ecological arts and crafts to the boys along with African drumming. The facilitators at FYCIP understand that listening first, then sharing non academic methods of training encourage the boys to express themselves creatively and also become more considerate problem solvers.

Art Teacher Leba OlaNiyi teaches ecological arts and crafts to the boys


The cake shared at the closing ceremony
The cake shared at the closing ceremony

Students display their vision boards with their mentors
Students display their vision boards with their mentors

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.

UVI’s Afternoon on the Green 2015: Annual Fun-filled Friend-raiser a Success

Commonly duped as their #1 ‘friend-raiser,’ the proceeds from today’s University of the Virgin Islands Afternoon on the Green (AOTG) successfully raised thousands of dollars for student scholarships. Extremely successful in so many ways, the event brings out hundreds of people who, “Come for the food,” and “Stay for the fun,” as the event’s theme suggests.

Hundreds of people flocked to the University’s Herman E. Moore golf course where several tents were filled with people serving food, drinks, taking raffles, distributing food and drink tickets or sharing information about what their area provides at the University. Between the large numbers enjoying the food and drinks, live music, entertainment, youth activities and academic tent, the common phrase for the afternoon was that this year’s event was ‘the best ever.’

Leslyn Tonge, of the University’s Provost office worked on the grounds from the day before the event. “I think that the event was really a successful one. It seemed like there were a lot of people still coming in when I left which was before the end,” she said.

As a member of the committee, her primary responsibility is organizing the academic tent because of her job at the office of the Provost, which always handles managing the academic tent. “I like the fact that the students came out and showcased what their different organizations and clubs are about. It (AOTG) is primarily for students, so putting myself in the place of a potential donor, I’d like to see what the students can do.”

“It was also a tool for recruitment so every aspect that was on display was part of the grander scheme of recruiting with the ability to see the different programs that we offer,” she added. “We had the psychology club, Greek organizations, student government, multi-cultural East Indian association and other student associations.”

Ms. Tonge, with the assistance of youth from the Sankofa Saturdays Youth Cultural Education Initiative, was able to prepare the area for the event. The students took a break from their weekly radio show, on the campus radio station, walked across campus and helped set up the tables and chairs under the academic tent. “I can’t wait until tomorrow,” shared Majestik, one of the youth co-hosts, as they all nodded with excitement, reminiscing all of the previous AOTG activities they participated in from the years before.

Just as in the previous years, other numerous children had continuous fun in the bounce house, rolling down the hill in huge transparent soccer balls, playing Frisbee, getting their faces painted and more.  Simultaneously, not far from the children, their parents were able to enjoy the open social environment sitting on the bleachers, standing and talking or dancing to the live bands perform on the stage under the entertainment tent.

Even though there were so many entries, all of the donated food was purchased hours before the event ended, so the grill line stretched tens of people long.

“We don’t mind waiting, because the music is good, our children are safe in the youth activity area and we’re enjoying ourselves just talking and catching up with friends.”

Among the winning entries, is WUVI student radio station’s faculty advisor Dr. Alex Randall whose Shepherd’s Pie won one of the prizes for getting the most votes. This year’s blue ribbon will be added to the others at the WUVI studio as this isn’t the first time the station was awarded for obtaining the most votes. Each year, as soon as the dish is registered, the entry number to text in votes is blasted out to the community using the radio airwaves as they air the event live. This is accompanied by a word to mouth campaign throughout the afternoon as well as via instagram, facebook and other WUVIAM1090 social media accounts.

The UVI Mocojumbies lead the parade with the Addelita Cancryn Jr. High School Drumline Marching Band and a Vintage Voltswagen and Mustangs following behind. On the entertainment stage, the E. Benjamin Oliver Steel Owls Steelpan Orchestra opened up the fair followed by the Flip Switch band, Bertha C. Bochulte Middle School’s Flambo Combo band with their dancers and the Mungo Niles Cultural Dancers.  Cool Sessions Brass ended the event long after closing hours as the crowd continued to dance to their music.

photo 1

Dr. Alex Randall submitting WUVI’s winning dish

photo 2

UVI Small Business Development Center’s Mary Jo Williams leading in the Addelita Cancryn Jr. High School Drumline

The lead organizer for Afternoon on the Green, Liza J. Margolis shared that there is always a need for more help with organizing the event. As the Senior Coordinator of Donor Relations and Special Events, she is mainly responsible for managing the organization of the event every year. For more information she can be contacted at 340-693-1053 or email

UVI’s VILitFest Turns a Page on Literacy Closing Women’s History Month

vilitfest-sq-logoTHOMAS, UNITED VIRGIN ISLANDS — During Women’s History Month, the first Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair (VILitFest) highlighting literacy, local authors, and world literature at schools and the Golden Grove Correctional Facility, will take place from March 26 to 29. Local and regional award-winning authors, editors and publishers to be featured, include Virgin Islander Tiphanie Yanique, Jamaica Kincaid and Malaika Adero.

“Embracing Literacy for Life,” this year’s theme will be experienced all around the isle of St. Croix before, during and after the fair, especially on Thursday, March 26, in The Great Hall on the Albert A. Sheen campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. The Festival’s opening will provide an opportunity for festival-goers to meet with organizers, sponsors, scholars and the vast list of authors.

Featured writers will visit the local prison and schools to discuss their work and the importance of literacy. School children are also invited to attend various events in order to participate in workshops and interact directly with the authors, according to Stephanie Nugent-Hanlon, VILitFest webmaster, journalist and writer by trade and education.

The Caribbean Dance Company will perform a dance interpretation of Marvin Williams’ “Heirs,” the UVI Steel Band Ensemble will entertain, and “The Skin,” a film written and produced by Howard Allen, will have its debut.

St. Thomas-born fiction writer and winner of the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize for her novel “Land of Love and Drowning,” Tiphanie Yanique, will share about her award-winning book. Described as “a love letter to the Virgin Islands, both the land and spirit of the place,” in the Los Angeles Review of Books it chronicles the saga of a St. Thomas family through three generations from 1916 to 1970.

Currently a professor at the University of the Virgin Islands, editor, university lecturer, communications consultant and small business owner, Jamaican-born Gillian Royes, is also one of the featured presenters.

“A veteran of the book publishing industry for 30 plus years,” said Malaika Adero, introducing herself as an independent publishing consultant, editor and writer who will also be featured and participating in one of the panels. In a phone interview, she expressed her perspective of the importance of storytelling to all forms of presentation in various genres. According to Adero, her cultural events magazine, is, “a space for me to share with you the new and provocative ideas, art and culture I hear about — sometimes in advance—from my role as an artist, cultural worker and in the book publishing industry.”

Heralded as the ‘most important West Indian woman writing today,’ Jamaica Kincaid, will also make a featured presentation.

On the Saturday evening, a ‘Book Bacchanal’ featuring cultural performances, book signings and a Poetry Slam will be held. Author and biographer of legendary Crucian writer and activist Hubert Harrison, Jeffrey Perry will deliver the keynote address as well as make a presentation.

On Sunday, March 29, led by National Park Superintendent Joel Tutein, participants will be treated to a literary island tour beginning in the Christiansted Historic District and ending at the Frederiksted Fort.

The event is being hosted by the University of the Virgin Islands College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Sponsors include the VI Department of Tourism, Innovative Companies and The Caribbean Writer. For more information, visit the official website or its Spanish version.

CLICK HERE to view Map of Event Locations

Insight on the Grassroots Intellectual Experience: The Triumphs and Struggles – Part One

Dr. Chenzira Davis Kahina | Mother, Educator, Culture Preservationist, Spiritual Leader +

Sometimes when you’ve gone a distance in one direction, you realize that bringing along what you learned in the other direction will take you further and that actually, they both not only lead to the same place, but are a necessary balance of each other.

Multi-disciplinary educator, cultural performing artist, naturopathic therapist, ordained minister, community developer, scholar and visionary, Dr. Chenzira Davis Kahina’s story would fill bookshelves, but she’s probably burned the books. Instead she just writes them with each step and publishes new volumes with every new day. Her grassroots related experiences have taught her things that experiential learning explain best. A type of ‘common’ sense usually expected from the street, while her background in the halls of academia have her at an exceptional advantage above others who focus only on one specific area of expertise.

“Essentially because of the work that I do, sometimes the integration and the synergy is exceptional, and then other times it seems like there’s resistance…” Dr. Kahina

Per Ankh, Inc. is a charitable and spiritually centered non-government organization (NGO) and non-profit organization (NPO) “livicated to providing educational, cultural, environmental, social, holistic health & wellness, artistic, spiritual & other naturalistic resources and supports that positively contribute to the comprehensive improvement & sustainable development of our local, national and global communities.”

The University of the Virgin Islands V. I. and Caribbean Culture Center (VICCC) is designated to produce, develop and institute state-of-the-art research, publications, mixed media networks and programs, regional and international conferences, collaborative initiatives, academic and community partnerships, interdisciplinary cultural exchanges, socioeconomic development and heritage tourism events, educational resources and more.

As the primary Director of both entities as well as the leader of a number of others, Dr. Chen, as she’s often compassionately called has the opportunity to merge so much of her prior grassroots life experience prior to working at the University of the Virgin Islands in her current capacity as Director of the VICCC as well as the Center for the Study of Spirituality and Professionalism (CSAP).

When asked about how she balances the two, Dr. Kahina responds thoughtfully. “There’s a synergy that exists between culture, spirituality, the arts and technology that my work at the UVI gives me an opportunity to lend over to CSAP and the VICCC into what I do which Per Ankh and Smai Tawi, CPAN, PADU and a host of other global activities…” Dr. Chenzira Davis Kahina

“In all things Pan African, conduct oneself with character, courtesy and common sense.”

Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus (SRDC) Practicing Ma’at in Organizing the African Diaspora By David L. Horne, Ph.D.

Q: What would you suggest for approaching and responding to schools that ask for Black History presentations when you know they’re only asking you to come in because it’s Black History Month:

A: Dr. Kahina simply suggested a wealth of online sites that have related information made available in an ongoing everyday way. This way, the resources could be shared with students in a way that is easy to access and always available. She explained that this is important so that they can see that Black History is all the time and it is World history, not just information that is useful to one set of people.

We also discussed that one can’t really speak about Virgin Islands history without knowing and showing that it is Caribbean history.

Q: What do you think the students can contribute as well as learn at the same time… they can’t share what they don’t know so they have to be taught then encouraged to share with others.

A: They can go to various resources locally including people and places like our campus and public libraries, the Digital Library of the Caribbean as well as various offices like our Virgin Islands Council on the Arts and V. I. Humanities Council.

Learn more about experiences with the community that make it challenging to want to keep giving as well as the small triumphs that make all the sacrifices worth it in Part Two of Insight on the Grassroots Intellectual Experience: The Triumphs and Struggles with Dr. Chenzira Kahina and others.