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Love as Revolutionary Practice (Call for Submissions)

July 15, 2014

Q-zine 10_Call for contributions (1)Q-zine is the first pan-African, bilingual art and culture LGBTQI magazine.

In the next edition Q-zine collaborates with OurSpaceIsLove for a special issue exploring the politics and practice of love as a revolutionary force. OurSpaceIsLove is an online community platform created by two African feminist friends in order to quench poetic, revolutionary and questioning thirsts. As African women and as feminists, we look to an understanding of love that recognizes the intentional act of embracing people who may be different from us but share the fact of being human. When we say ‘love’ we are talking about a concept beyond romance. We are talking about the feeling emanating from our hearts that seeks to instigate liberation in all that we do – individually and collectively. We are talking about love that inspires the desire to create spaces of peace for people harassed by discrimination and violence. We are talking about a love that motivates us to give, share, risk and speak up in the name of our collective happiness.

Recognizing love as revolutionary and as the guiding principle of our feminist practice and the principle upon which we build our communities, we are interested in exploring what it means for Africans to be connected both in the spirit and practice of ‘revolutionary love.’ We are interested in hearing reflections by Africans scattered across the continent and diaspora who share this ‘revolutionary love’ with and for each other and for the struggle for social transformation. In this Q-zine special issue, we invite Africans on the continent and in the diaspora to submit opinions, essays, reviews, literature, fashion, art, poems, short stories and audio-visual contributions that explore the theme of ‘Love as Revolutionary Practice.’ As stimulation, submissions could explore:

• How a politics of love inspires your activism or art as Queer Africans / on your work on LGBTI and human rights for all;
• How varied understandings of love shape your relationships,politics and practice;
• Stories of African queer love, from history, the present and your imaginations;
• Expressions of revolutionary love in building community and working for social justice.

 

Please send your submissions to the co-editors, Amina Doherty, Jessica Horn and Q-zine at: OurSpaceIsLove@gmail.com and/or contact@qayn-center.org.

Deadline August 10th 2014

 


tumblr_m7f3i9eTDm1rpytmgo2_500Amina Doherty is a young Nigerian feminist and activist living in Kingston, Jamaica. A ‘curious creative mind’ and ‘restless nomad soul’, Amina brings to her activism a passion for music, art, and poetry.

 

 

 
tumblr_m7f3i9eTDm1rpytmgo1_500Jessica Horn is a feminist writer, poet and women’s rights activist with roots in Uganda. Her life’s work focuses on questions of sexuality, health, violence, and embodied liberations.

Grenada’s Last Africans: Indentured Africans in Grenada and Their Legacy

July 4, 2014

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Image Source: Shango Ceremony, Levera, St. Patrick, 1962. Courtesy Cultural Equity

 

Dr. James D. Pitt Voices of Grenada Lecture Series

         A presentation on

 “Grenada’s Last Africans:

Indentured Africans in Grenada and Their Legacy

by Shantelle George, PhD student

 Wednesday 9 July 2014

5:15 to 7:00 PM

The Grenada National Museum

British suppression of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade resulted in the diversion of enslaved Africans, destined for the plantations of Brazil and Cuba, into the British Caribbean from 1807 to the 1860s. Around 2,700 Africans were sent to Grenada in this manner, pressured into labour agreements lasting for up to three years. Thus, the indentureship scheme was another form of labour coercion following chattel enslavement, enacted to fulfill the perceived post-Emancipation labour shortages on the plantations.

These indentured Africans, like the enslaved Africans before them, resisted attempts by the state to control their labour, time and space, by balancing wage labour with more independent economic activities. It is important to note that these indentured Africans became culturally distinctive within the wider population as they retained some of their African cultures. This meant that this relatively small number of Africans left a remarkable cultural legacy in Grenada, rejuvenating existing traditions as well as bringing new traditions to the island, such as Shango.

3rd Executive Symposium for Innovators in Coastal Tourism

July 2, 2014

If there wasn’ no sea, I must would feel lock up. In a box with only the top open to the sky…” Oonya Kempadoo, Tide Running

 

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As a small island developing state dependent on tourism and agriculture, Grenada is particularly vulnerable to the effects of Climate Change. Recognizing this, the Grenada Tourism Authority together with the Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST), the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association are facilitating the 3rd Executive Symposium for Innovators in Coastal Tourism from 9th to 11th July, 2014 at the St. George’s University.
The Symposium will serve as a platform for those on the cutting edge of innovative coastal tourism models to share what they have accomplished, what they have learned and challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Panels will explore social and environmental innovations from designers, operators and planners at both the destination and resort level, and also examine issues of climate change and what it means for coastal tourism development in terms of both mitigation and adaptation strategies.

This Innovators Symposium – like the previous Symposiums at Stanford University, CA and Los Cabos, Mexico— will be an intimate event with high quality participants and ample time for informal networking.

The programme includes:
• Round table Discussion on sustainable financing for Grenada’s protected areas such as Grand Étang National Park or the World First Marine Sculpture Park. Hosted by The Nature Conservancy, (Wednesday, prior to the Symposium’s official opening).
• Film showing and discussion of two provocative documentaries on the negative impacts of large scale coastal tourism in Jamaica and Costa Rica.
• 16 Workshops addressing topics like Marketing and Branding Sustainable tourism- Communicating your message; Creating Sustainable Destinations; Marina & Yachting – Impacts and Innovators; and Sustainable Tourism Trends – Media Panel
• Keynote address by Minister Otway-Noel M.P. at the opening ceremony, Showcasing Pure Grenada.

Come out to learn from these thought leaders who are breaking the mold of cookie-cutter mass tourism and moving responsibly into the future.

For more information and registration please visit http://www.ctocrestsymposium.com

Child sexual abuse as a health issue

July 2, 2014

A few weeks ago, a panel discussion on the topic “Talking About It: Child Sexual Abuse As A Public Health Issue,” was held at the Brooks–Smith–Lowe Institute. The purpose of the discussion was to merge the correlation between child sexual abuse and its impact on public health as it relates to the rise in chronic non-communicable diseases, psychoneuroimmunological irregularities and psychological impact.

Group shot - talking about it

Photograph by Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe

 The panel, seen in order of appearance in the photo, consisted of St. George’s University’s (SGU) Inaugural Dame Hilda Bynoe Writer–in–Residence, Lisa Allen–Agostini; Fatima Friday, MEd, a St. George’s University Public Health Lecturer with a special interest in psychoneuroimmunology; Dr. Kecia Lowe, Board Certified Internist and Pediatrician who was recently inducted into the American College of Medicine as a Fellow; and Malaika Brooks–Smith–Lowe, Founder and Co-Director of Groundation Grenada who served as moderator for the panel discussion and also organized the event.

SGU’s Writer in Residence Allen–Agostini a journalist from Trinidad and Tobago read an excerpt from her work in progress book, which details the journey of a young girl who became a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle. The pages Allen–Agostini read from graphically detailed the hostile home which the child lived in with her mother. The rapist was visiting.

The excerpt described a gut wrenching account of a physical and verbal abuse attack endured by the child from her rough and heavy handed mother. The reason for the beating appeared inconsequential. It then moved to the first gruesome sexual attack, which occurred after the child’s mother left the house shortly after the excessive beating. A beating that was cut short after pleads of mercy from the visiting uncle. This particular uncle was the child’s mother’s brother.

Allen–Agostini’s continued to walk the listeners through the manipulative process of the perpetrator.Through her storytelling she showed how the little girl’s uncle used a counter strategy of gentleness and comforting voice tones to sooth the distraught child. After gaining more and more trust with his apparent friendliness and gentle touches, he slowing and calculatingly began threatening her into submission. After the horrific sexual attack the writer revealed the child’s dichotomy. The child never told her mother of the attack because she was deathly afraid of the physical consequences, to the point it did not occur to her to say anything, while at the same time was intimidated and petrified of her uncle. The snippet of Allen-Agostini’s work also revealed that the child’s mother noticed the bruises after returning from shopping, but casted a blind eye. She instead gave her daughter a doll, a gift from the uncle who earlier forcefully covered her mouth to muffle her screams.

Lisa - Talking about it 2

Photograph by Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe

After the reading, the program then shifted into a vibrant discussion about how society tends to ignore the ramifications and repercussions of sexual abuse on an individual and its impact on public health in terms of rises in illnesses. Panelist – Dr. Lowe, listed out some of the unhealthy coping behaviors individuals who suffered this trauma tend to participate in, “Cigarette smoking, obesity, inactivity, alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide, [and] sexual promiscuity.” Dr. Lowe went on to say, “These people have a higher risk of diabetes, liver disease, cancers, and stroke and general poor health in adulthood. And that alone can tell you it is definitely a public health issue because these people manifest these chronic non-communicable diseases at higher rates. And this adversely affects all societies.”

Allen-Agostini who stated that many of her past journalistic articles focused on children and gender issues, introduced the audience to a campaign called, “Break the Silence”. This initiative is a multi-pronged approach to protect children against sexual abuse. One of its aims is to reach victims and their families with a message to speak out and denounce sexual violence against children. The initiative seeks to engage and encourage influential groups and members of society such as policy makers, health workers, and police authorities to create and/or improve support and care for victims. According to the World Health Organization, “Globally, at least 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 years had experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence involving physical contact. In several Caribbean countries the first sexual experience of young girls is often, forced; studies have shown that this was the case for 42.8% of girls below age 12.”

From a psychoneuroimmunological perspective, a field of study that examines the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body, panelist Fatima Friday stated that trauma occurring at a young age can have adverse effects on the developmental process of the human brain causing overdevelopment of the area of the brain that analyzes stress and fear. This can lead to post-traumatic stress. However, Ms. Friday views child sexual abuse more broadly, “It’s not just a public health issue, it’s an issue of humanity.” She went on to say, “ You can look at your mother’s life, your father’s life to see different connectivity points and ask — how has the way I have been trained by my parents, by my siblings affect the way I treat myself and treat others. Because that is public health. How we engage with each other, how we interact is public health as well.”

SourceNow Grenada


Roslyn A. DouRoslyn A. Douglas, M.Aglas, MA is the Founder of Central Health Grenada ©. The mission of this initiative is to increase the awareness of chronic diseases that affect Grenadians and those of the diaspora by discussing treatment options, team care approaches, health activism, services and the importance of having a rewarding spiritual health.

Ms. Douglas is currently running a six month effort to increase signatures from Grenadians for the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s End Cervical Cancer Campaign End Cervical Cancer Now Campaign  by 500.

No Science is Neutral : A long hard look at Bain’s Affidavit and the Aftermath  

July 1, 2014

 :: by Tonya Haynes & Angelique V. Nixon ::

 

 “Expectations” from The Neighbourhood Report by Barbadian artist Ewan Atkinson

 

Since the announcement of the termination of Professor Bain’s short post-retirement contract with CHART (Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network), there has been a growing movement in protest over his termination. Most recently, the Jamaica Supreme Court has granted an injunction which prevents UWI from removing Bain from the post. And so the story continues to unfold and the issues at hand debated from a variety of perspectives. What is most intriguing, however, is the way in which the affidavit itself has been framed as neutral and an objective use of research.

Noted writers and scholars such as Carolyn Cooper and Kei Miller have argued that having read Professor Bain’s affidavit there was very little in it that was objectionable, that essentially he is a scientist reporting “facts.” Even though Kei Miller does raise questions about how Bain frames the evidence, he also states that the “Bain’s affidavit does not take or register a stance against gay communities or gay men. It earnestly steers clear from such opinions and tries to stick to the figures.”

Frankly, this is difficult to accept upon a close reading of the affidavit because there is certainly a stance being taken in the affidavit, and in particular, because Dr. Bain’s “facts” are presented with a bias and use of research to support a particular point of view. Kei Miller brings up this very issue in his critique regarding the silences and how the conclusions of the research he uses are buried, yet Miller maintains that Professor Bain’s affidavit has a “neutral tone.” But is the tone really neutral? Is that even possible? And what is at the root of Bain’s framing of research, facts, and figures?

 

The Human Factor & Public Health

The criteria by which Dr. Bain, as a public health professional, says he evaluates private behaviour like “productivity,” “social disruption,” “premature death” and “public cost” are not value-neutral. In fact, Dr. Bain’s assertion that the decriminalization of anal sex would be “public approval to risky behaviours” is filled with a specific value judgement on the meaning of decriminalization. And while anal sex may be “risky,” it is certainly not the case that there aren’t means of reducing risk nor does it follow that decriminalization would “encourage” said “behaviours.” Contrary to what Dr. Bain suggests, the call for decriminalization is about ending stigma and discrimination, and in many ways connected to the need for greater understanding and awareness of sex, sexuality, and related public health issues.

Dr. Bain extends his concern about “risky behaviors” and STIs further in his argument that to prevent STIs people should include “learning and practising assertive skills to avoid coercive sex” yet he says nothing about not “coercing” others into sex. This is offensive and an insult to sexual assault survivors. Moreover, it implies that people who are raped/assaulted are at fault and is tantamount to victim-blaming.

The more obvious target here is gay men or men who have sex with men. Professor Bain’s affidavit attempts to make the argument that decriminalization would do nothing to prevent this high risk group from continuing to be high risk because (as his logic goes) “they” will keep on having this “risky” sex and therefore will get STIs. At the root of his engagement and description of sex acts between men is homophobia. Some may argue that Dr. Bain’s comments certainly didn’t say “all batty boy fi get eliminate,” (or something overtly homophobic) yet his submission is completely biased. It is not a neutral or objective perspective (if that were ever possible), but rather, he offers value judgements on research with a political agenda. In other words, his expert testimony was also not offered neutrally. It was offered in support of retention of laws, which criminalise anal sex. Further, it has also been reported that his testimony was offered at the request of a church.

Clearly, Professor Bain has an agenda, and he was asked to offer his expertise in order to support the continuation of a law that is archaic, colonial, and targets certain bodies and sex acts. This encourages and fuels an atmosphere of homophobia and discrimination against same sex desire and sex acts between men who sleep with men. Again, this is not neutral — it reinforces a pathological view of sex acts between men specifically and also enforces a heterosexist (i.e. straight and male centered) point of view about sex and sexuality.

Dr. Bain’s testimony not only reinscribes homophobia, it also uses a dominant heterosexual and patriarchal (male dominated) perspective when it comes to discussing sex and sex acts. In his cataloguing “adult male-female” sexual behavior, Professor Bain outlines that “the usual climax of male-female intercourse involves penetration of the vagina by the penis with ejaculation by the male and an orgasm or series of orgasms experiences by the female [emphasis added].” His bias is so obvious here with the primary focus on male penetration and female receptacles. He does mention the possibility of male ejaculation into the mouth or anus of the female, but women are conveniently left out as recipients of oral sex or as capable of anally penetrating their male partners. This reveals even more that Dr. Bain’s hetero and male centered bias cannot even allow for other ways of thinking about “risky behavior” or understanding men who sleep with men. Therefore, upon a close reading of this affidavit, we are left to conclude that heterosexual activity is largely mutual orgasms brought on by penis-in-vagina sex — very straight sex — that somehow is not “risky” or the assumption that they very same people engaging in this kind of sex would not also be engaging in anal sex. It would seem that “straight” people don’t also contract STIs or specifically HIV through “straight sex.” And since we know this is not the case and that these issues and sex acts between people are way more complex than Dr. Bain has offered, then we have to question the logic and bias here — if in fact this is about a “public health issue” at all.

If the point of Professor Bain’s testimony was really about “public health,” then he might have focused equally on the “risks” involved with different kinds of sex acts, considering that receptive anal sex does carry a higher risk of HIV transmission than other activities. However, what he focuses on instead is “straight” sex versus “homosexual” sex. He describes both heterosexual and homosexual sexual practices, but goes into extensive detail about homosexual sex to make these seem extremely different in order to “prove” his point about the “risk” factor.  He references several examples of what he deems as levels of “risky” or unsafe sexual practices regarding “male-male sexual behaviors” — fisting, rimming, analingus, golden showers, scat and felching. (These are all very specific references to sex acts among men, but certainly not exclusively so.) In seven lines, anal sex or anus is mentioned just as many times with oro-anal contact mentioned twice, along with defecation on another person (a sexual practice that is certainly rare regardless of the sexual orientation or gender identity of the persons involved).

The result is to deliberately juxtapose the very straight, purportedly mutually orgasmic, sex of heterosexual men and women with risky and taboo male homosexual practices. (Women who have sex with women, women’s same-sex sexual practices and the relative risk of those practices are not mentioned, nor is the possibility of safe sex among men). Dr. Bain once again reifies a pathologizing of men who sleep with men and STIs, while at the same time, mapping deviance onto what he is calling risk. The takeaway here from Professor Bain’s affidavit is that men should not have sex with men, period — that it is risky, unsafe, hazardous, nasty even. (Granted though, as Kei Miller points out, at the end of the affidavit, Bain makes recommendations about prevention of STIs, but this is only after a long and detailed description of research that frames male-male sexual practice as the most unsafe and hazardous in terms of STIs — seemingly globally.) In other words, Bain’s affidavit even though it purports to be grounded in research and simply sharing the facts, it is doing so within a particular context and for a specific purpose.

 

Why human dignity must be central to HIV/AIDS policies

Professor of Biology and Gender Studies, Anne Fausto-Sterling, has argued, in a different context, that “social arguments sustain scientific disputes,” concluding that “we will not resolve the science at issue until we have reached some consensus on the social policy at hand.” What is at issue then in supporting or fighting against the “buggery laws” is not just whether it has been scientifically established that anal sex carries a greater risk for HIV transmission than other sex acts or that gay men have higher rates of HIV. There is the argument (and organising) for social policy aimed at ensuring that human rights are respected, that stigma and shame no longer serve as barriers to access to preventative services and treatment. A professional opinion that supports criminalizing sexual activity between adults as a means of reducing risk is not a logical conclusion one could come to even from the studies which Professor Bain cites. But beyond logic, it is not a humane conclusion. Gay men and men who have sex with men are not reducible to sexual behaviours or practices, they are not reducible to anal sex. Gay-identified men and men who have sex with men must be understood in their full human complexity, their identities respected, their relationships recognized, and their human rights guaranteed.

Prominent HIV activist Robert Carr, whose work Professor Bain didn’t engage, identified the lack of recognition of the humanity of men who have sex with men as a key failing of the public health response to HIV. His now famous call to action is worth remembering here:

We have to refuse to be constrained to a small department in a ministry while the rest of the government arrests us, the rest of the government refuses to acknowledge our partnerships, the rest of the government refuses to acknowledge the need for people to be able to visit their loved ones when they are sick, because all of those things conspire to ensure that the work we are doing to reduce infection will never be effective.  …  We have got to break this mindset that gathering 20, or 30 or 50 of us into a room and teaching us how to put a condom on a dildo is doing anything to address the raging epidemic that is going on across the world. It is bullshit and we have to call it bullshit and we have to let people know that we will not stand by and let them get away with this anymore.

As Robert Carr argues, we must call out the silences and call out the bullshit — particularly when it comes to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the failures of governments to deal with the crisis. When we fail to deal with the human aspect of these issues and address the dire need for rights and protection, then how can we expect to create change (particularly when it comes to public health)? Professor Bain’s support for retention of laws criminalizing anal sex is a step backwards, to say the least. Supporting this law doesn’t even on a basic level address what Bain deems as the “costs” associated with STIs to the community and the government. The testimony focuses on the “cost of behavior” (i.e. risk of STI transmission through sexual contact; that so called private behavior has a public cost), which Professor Bain then seems to argue means “private behaviors” that are “risky” must be regulated then by the state — i.e. only “private behaviors” that are associated with male-male sexual practices.

The fact is that sex is risky. It is risky for all of us. Some practices are riskier than others. But risk does not equal criminality. One does not forfeit one’s humanity because one engages in risk-taking. Risk can be mitigated. We all need access to the information and services that allow us to make informed decisions. We need to address the poverty, age discrimination, child sexual abuse, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and gender inequality that create conditions of lack of access to services and information, as well as the inability to navigate and negotiate healthy intimate relations with others. We need to deal with the intense amount of shaming and politics of respectability that affects how we talk about sex and sexuality.

Leading sexual citizenship activist, Colin Robinson of CAISO and CARIFLAGS noted that some prominent gay men came out in public support of Professor Bain. He posits that these men may themselves be ashamed of the gay sex other gay men are having. Maybe. Or maybe they have been convinced of the facticity and neutrality of Bain’s testimony. Certainly, many people have supported Professor Bain and have suggested that this is an issue of academic freedom, while others have argued that the so called “powerful gay lobby” is responsible — as opposed to dealing with the fact that a broad spectrum of people called for his termination, even his own colleagues in CHART who questioned his leadership. As Kei Miller explains in his thoughtful response to the issue, the list of signatures was NOT dominated or even mostly LGBT persons — or the so called gay lobby. Or as Colin Robinson poignantly asserts what “gay lobby? People struggling to carve out some space for humanity and dignity is a “lobby” now?”

Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding argues that  Professor Bain’s affidavit does not “compromise his ability or commitment to fulfil” CHART’s mandate. Yet upon close reading of the affidavit it is clear that Dr. Bain perspectives do not fully align with the mission of CHART for quality access (considering that criminalization of sex acts does in fact affect people’s ability to access services because of fear and discrimination.) Further, PM Golding also says that “the gay lobby has successfully positioned its campaign as a human-rights issue. If that is what it is, there is virtually no choice in terms of personal behaviour that cannot be justified on similar grounds. At its core, it is an issue of values. That is where the battle must be pitched and fought and won.” But is this really about values in the way that Golding perceives? And what powerful gay lobby is Golding imagining?If there was such a powerful gay lobby then certainly the buggery laws would have been revoked by now. The idea that once decriminalization happens then anything goes — any personal behavior can suddenly be justified is ludicrous. But it is most certainly a human rights issue! This is about human beings, rights, and our very humanity. And yes it is most certainly about freedom — the freedom of all of us to be our full selves.

Kei Miller put his well-honed talents to offering a nuanced look at Professor Bain and the issues which arose. He also offered an important analysis of the protests and the ways in which the imagined “powerful gay lobby” has been created and pitted against the “vulnerable” church. And he called out the hypocrisies within the protests in response to Bain’s termination and asked us all to think about the question of power and language. His articles on Professor Bain are among the most shared and commented on. And rightfully so. He documented the media manipulation of a gullible public. He demonstrated that there are no winners in this unfortunate series of events. Nonetheless he does not acknowledge the extent to which Professor Bain’s affidavit is harmful, heterosexist and not just a mere presentation of “facts” about risk. Regardless, Kei Miller presented Professor Bain in his full human complexity. That is the lesson for all of us.

 

The Need for Sexuality Education

no science is neutral image Image Source: Jamaica Observer

Protests over Professor Bain’s termination or what the church has deemed “speaking the truth” has escalated in the past month. The pro-Bain protesters outside of the Mona Campus of the UWI with whom I spoke (Tonya), conflated their support for Bain with support for the retention of the buggery law. They offered a number of reasons why they thought Jamaica should retain this law — citing that the law serves symbolically to “keep dem in dem closet,” ensures that Jamaica does not slide down a slippery slope toward rampant child sexual abuse and protects the religious freedom of Christians in Jamaica. One young man explained that Christians in Jamaica were losing their jobs as a result of pressure from “the gay lobby.” It seems there is a fear that repeal of the buggery law would infringe on the right to converge in droves at a shopping mall in response to reports of a “man applying lipstick” or turn out in thousands (some say 25,000) at an anti-gay church rally.

So it was never about truth all along. Or science. Or freedom of speech. Or the children. It was and is about being able to publicly express bigoted anti-homosexual views without social censure or professional repercussions. Stirring up hate while professing Christian love.

It’s time to call bullshit on those who insist that Bain’s firing demonstrates that academic freedom is under threat, that UWI has bowed to the gay lobby, or that Bain is being punished for speaking “the truth.”

It’s time to ensure that all young people receive comprehensive sexuality education so that they can make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

It’s time to rebuke the the unsubstantiated claim that comprehensive sexuality education is the means by which the imaginary “gay lobby” induces children to homosexuality.

It’s time to address the rape and sexual abuse of girls and boys in state care and in their homes.

Referencing data for Jamaica, UNFPA notes that “girls in the 15-19 age group are three times more likely to be infected with the [HIV] virus than young men in the same age group”. These girls and the 32% of boys who described their first sexual experience as forced or somewhat forced are the ones in need of an outraged public that will take to the streets and demand justice for them or at least listen to their voices when they demand it for themselves.

As Annie Paul writes:

If there is indeed such widespread concern over the education of children why don’t we express the same angst over the rape and buggery of their little bodies? The lessons in horror these children are taught, come not from any textbook smuggled into the curriculum by ‘the gay lobby’ but as a result of the vile predations of those entrusted with their care. Yet such flagrant violations earn no reaction– let alone action–from the innumerable Christian pulpits dotting this island or the churches braying so vigorously on behalf of Bain’s so-called rights.

Where is our outrage over the lives, rights and bodily integrity of our young people and children? How is it that so many people who violate these very bodies are protected too often in our communities? Why is the Church doing nothing about this? Why are responses from state managers too often either callous or oblivious? These are the questions that reverberate under the surface as we think through the reasons that some issues are taken up over others by our leaders. These are reasons we should be outraged and taking to the streets — not just in Jamaica but across the region.

 


1tonyacatchafyah

Tonya Haynes loves all things coconut and fried ripe plantain.  In another life she would have dedicated herself full-time to weaving words and telling tall tales and fantastic stories. In this one, her creative energy is directed at the multi-faceted work that comes with being a Caribbean feminist scholar-activist-teacher inheriting a rich legacy of feminist livity and thought from generations of get-things-done women.  She is a founding member of CODE RED for gender justice! and CatchAFyah Caribbean Feminist Network.  With Sherlina Nageer, she conceptualised, organised and co-hosted the historic CatchAFyah grounding in Barbados in 2012.  Tonya researches in the area of Caribbean feminisms and is currently conducting research on gender-based violence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana and Barbados (with Halimah DeShong). Tonya’s creative writing has been published in The Caribbean Writer and Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal. Her popular writing appears in Stabroek News, Outlish Magazine, AWID’s Friday File and CODE RED’s blog. She holds a PhD in Gender and Development Studies and speaks fluent Spanish. Join her on twitter @redforgender

 

Angelique V. Nixon

Angelique V. Nixon is a writer, artist, teacher,scholar, activist and poet – born and raised in The Bahamas who carves spaces for resistance and desire. She earned her Ph.D. in English specializing in Caribbean studies and women and gender studies at the University of Florida. She is an assistant professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. Her work has been published widely in academic and creative journals, namely Anthurium, Black Renaissance Noire, MaComere, and small axe salon. Angelique is deeply invested in grassroots activism and is involved with several organizations, including Ayiti Resurrect, Caribbean IRN, and Critical Resistance. Follow her on instagram @sistellablack or on her blog consciousvibration

Voices of the Rising Youth – June 2014

June 2, 2014

The Writer’s Association of Grenada (WAG) are at it again with their third instalment in their ‘Voices’ series. This year’s event will be held under the theme Voices of the Rising Youth. Carded for Friday June 27th 6:30pm at the Trade Centre Gazibo in Grand Anse and Saturday June 28th, 6:30pm in The Deluxe Cinema in Grenville admission is $15. This year’s line-up includes many of the prolific writers and performers we have come to know and love such as Amilia ‘MeMe’ Jones: author of Beyond Fables: Poetry, Sherry ‘The Wordy Pheonix’ Hamlet, Damarlie ‘Equity’ Antoine, Josiah ‘Prodigy’ Bayne, Carlene Perryman and Kamille John among others.

The ‘Voices’ series was birthed in June 2012; the brainchild of Youth Activist and WAG’s P.R.O. Carlene Perryman. The event debuted under the theme: Voices of the Crying Youth at the Youth Centre, Grand Anse and focused on highlighting the pressing issues faced by the younger population. Building momentum, the show returned the following year featuring combinations of poetry with art, dance and music under the theme Voices of the Daring Youth. The performers dared the Marryshow House audience to take a stand against the wrong that was happening in society and aimed to inspire positive change in the minds of listeners. 

This year’s edition Voices of the Rising Youth will highlight the ‘Rising Youth’ in Grenada and feature appearances from Teddy D. Frederick as well a special performance by Ms Chanda Stafford the winner of the 2014 BabyRas Lyrically Fit Competition. Voices 2014 promises to be another spectacular show that intertwines poetry and the arts with social commentary and wit.

voices 2013

The cast from last year’s Voices performance

Come out and enjoy an evening of entertaining enlightenment and support the Writer’s Association of Grenada as they seek to make this venture bigger and better.

Contact:  Writers Association of Grenada WritersAG@gmail.com Russel John (President) – 406 2028 

Announcing ArtColab and its First Project!

May 24, 2014

:: by Andrea Smith ::

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“Flamboyant in Bloom” Photography by Adrian Richard

 

ArtColab has been a brain child that I’ve always wanted to develop but never dreamt it would be on the beautiful island of Grenada. ArtColab is an umbrella under which all creative minds at any level can group together, network and collaborate on different artistic projects.The aim is to provide a supportive network that each member can refer to when in need of encouragement, guidance and knowledge.

Windows‘ is ArtColab’s first project; it is a collaboration that brings together art, poetry and song. This is an open call for participation for both writers and visual artists. The writers will submit 1-3 poems/songs and two (2) words that best describe the pieces. This information is then handed over to a visual artist who will proceed to draw/paint an image to accompany the written submission. When the art work is complete there will be an art exhibition of all the work produced, including performances of each poem/song.

The performance will give the audience the opportunity to look in to the lives of different characters, both Mother Earth and Death will be putting in an appearance for the apartment block where all these characters live is no ordinary ONE!! Your poems and songs can be about anyone or anything you choose to give a voice to, you are free to be as creative as you want.

 

Open call

For ‘Windows‘ to be a success we need you! If you are a visual artist, poet and/or singer interested in this collaborative and interactive creative exhibit please contact me at 416-5779 or email artcolab@yahoo.com no later than June 16th 2014 so that we can begin this creative process together.

Thank you for your time and reading this post.

 


Picture of me in parkAndrea Smith
ArtColab Founder and Creative Director 
Andrea Smith aka Bionic Butterfly attended Mount View Theatre School and De Mont ford University; where she gained her BA (Hons) Degree in Performing Arts. Andrea now resides in Grenada, currently working on a monthly comic mag, for teenager; that explores the importance of self awareness and growth.

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