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Mt Zion Library continues to move forward!

September 5, 2014

Mt Zion volunteer Librarian Grenada

 

“Grenada has the highest poverty rate amongst the English Caribbean countries. Children and youths make up the majority of that rate.” (UNDP: 2009 Human Development Report) “Grenada’s unemployment rate currently stands at 40 per cent.” (The Commonwealth Media, web 2013) A past Minister of Education stated that the nation’s secondary school graduates are “unemployed and unemployable.” A high poverty rate and low functional literacy rate is affecting the future development of Grenada and seems to contribute to an increasing number of disenfranchised youth, a perceived lack of options and lack of motivation for self-development.

Mt. Zion Library is a collective, charitable initiative, founded by the Mt. Zion Full Gospel Revival Ministries Intl., Groundation Grenada, Oonya Kempadoo and Hands Across the Sea, in response to the closure of the National Public Library and absence of a communal space for literacy in St. George’s, Grenada. We are proud to share our progress to date:

• Our General Library is open to the public with full bookshelves, thanks to the addition of two barrels of books donated from Naugatuck Valley Community College, Connecticut.

• Our Children’s Library is also fully stocked with beautiful books and membership doubled over the summer.

• Mt. Zion Library is a supportive and youth-friendly space providing opportunities for volunteering and career mentoring.

 

Mt. Zion Library, a free community-led library located upstairs in the Arnold John building, Melville Street, St George’s, is currently open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 2.30 pm – 5:00pm and Saturdays 9:00am – 2:00pm. We welcome all to join as free members of our Children’s Library (ages 5-12 years) or our General Collection (ages 13 – adult).

You can support the library’s on-going efforts in expanding reading, homework support and literacy programs to a greater number of Grenadian children, youth and adults with your generous donations here, by volunteering your time and expertise or by participating in our upcoming fundraising events. Funding donations to support operational costs and additional volunteers will allow the library to continue to serve its growing membership.

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Volunteering with Mt Zion Library is a unique opportunity to learn valuable librarian skills and gain insight into running a community initiative from the ground up. We have a team of amazing volunteers now and are seeking a few more committed people to lend their support for a minimum of 2 hours weekly. Head volunteer librarian Kerrisha Nelson notes, “This is an excellent opportunity in which I help others whom I never thought I could. I see how an effective small group can make a big difference in society.” Groundation Grenada Director Ayisha John says, “Reading is a pleasure that should be open to all, which is why a free library is important to me. It has been my joy to help make Mt. Zion Library a place where all can have access to books.”

As a volunteer you will become part of a community of book lovers, a supportive environment that welcomes readers of all levels. “Reading has been used as a punishment for too long and I think this library is going to be the kick start to turn that around”, says Alesia Aird, a young musician & volunteer librarian. “Volunteering is a truly rewarding experience. It’s a great way to give back to the community” says Rosemarie Rajwant, who also volunteers at Mt. Zion Library.

If you don’t have time to volunteer, you can still join the growing collective of reading and book supporters through your generous financial donations. Donations are needed to support building operating costs and employ trained staff to enhance library services and provide leadership for volunteers. Volunteering provides training and opportunities to learn about career options in teaching, library and information services and community literacy programs.

 

Help Mt. Zion Library to help others, now. Make a pledge today donate here.

Want to volunteer? Please email mtzionlibrary@gmail.com or call 457 5725. Or, drop in to the library and talk to one of our volunteers for more information. With your donation and/or participation, you will receive regular updates on our expanding membership and programs.

For more information, visit http://www.mtzionlibrary.com or like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mtzionlibraryhrc

Thanks for your kind support.

Media Contact:

Oonya Kemapdoo

(473) 457 5725 mtzionlibrary@gmail.com

 


RealGroundationLogo_TransparentGroundation Grenada is a social action collective which focuses on the use of creative media to assess the needs of our communities, raise consciousness and act to create positive radical growth. Our mission is to provide active safe spaces to incubate new modes of resistance, building from the local to affect regional and international solidarity and change. We pursue our mission online, through our website and social media, and also through live events and special projects in collaboration with local, regional and international artists, activists and institutions. Groundation Grenada’s website supports both local and diasporic voices, acting as an interface to connect people who are hungry for innovative change.

Reinventing Mementos: A Visual Arts Workshop

August 5, 2014

 

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Robin de Vogel at Caribbean Linked II residency in Aruba (Image by Shirley Rufin)

Groundation Grenada is excited to have two artists visiting for residencies in August!  One of these amazing artists, Robin de Vogel, will be hosting Reinventing Mementos visual arts workshop on Friday August 15, 2014 from 12:00pm – 4:00pm as part of Forgetting is Not an Option Phase N°1.  The primary goal of this workshop is to invite participants to think of new ways to remember Grenada and transform these ideas into objects. By creating examples of our own souvenirs, the questions of what one should remember and what one should not forget are inevitably embedded. Pre-registration online is required and is open to everyone 16 years and over.

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‘The Souvenir as an Object’ by Robin De Vogel

Robin postulates that a souvenir is a physical and tactile object that aids or sparks our memory. Further, this characteristic can make one wonder whether we need physical objects around to better remember. Souvenirs often possess very stereotypical iconography and therefore become icons in and of themselves. The souvenirs sold in Grenada and other Caribbean islands are often mass-produced in China or India and imported to be sold to tourists as mementos of the Caribbean. These mementos are quite disconnected from the source they claim to be representing. If you are interested in beginning to explore these ideas with fellow creative thinkers Pre-registration online.

Robin de Vogel (1987) is a Dutch artist raised on the island of Aruba. After completing workshops in photography, drawing, painting and installation art at Ateliers ’89 in Aruba, Robin moved to Amsterdam in 2008 to further her development as an artist. In the summer of 2013, she obtained a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree from the Ceramics Department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. Currently, she is an MFA candidate at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

Robin’s work often takes the form of installations that revolve around the sensibility of the viewer. Her pieces, mostly site-specific interventions, aim to serve as a subtle disruption of the daily routine.

Robin De Vogel

Throughout her career, Robin has engaged in various collaborative projects, residencies and exhibitions in Europe and in the Caribbean. Residencies include a vigorous working period at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen China, a fruitful exchange at Caribbean Linked II in Aruba, a theoretical exchange program with the students of the Zürich School of Arts and working together with a collective of Dutch-Caribbean artists under the UniArte foundation. Her pieces have been exhibited in and acquired by De Nederlandsche Bank and her work is currently on display in Kasteel Keukenhof’s sculpture garden in Lisse.

Learn more about her at www.robindevogel.com

Click to pre-register for her visual arts workshop!

 


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Groundation Grenada is a social action collective which focuses on the use of creative media to assess the needs of our communities, raise consciousness and act to create positive radical growth. Our mission is to provide active safe spaces to incubate new modes of resistance, building from the local to affect regional and international solidarity and change. We pursue our mission online, through our website and social media, and also through live events and special projects in collaboration with local, regional and international artists, activists and institutions. Groundation Grenada’s website supports both local and diasporic voices, acting as an interface to connect people who are hungry for innovative change.

Dismantling the Caribbean Cliché : Creative Writing Workshop

August 5, 2014

“Caribbeanness is a system full of noise and opacity, a nonlinear and unpredictable system. In short a chaotic system beyond the total reach of any specific kind of knowledge or interpretation of the world.”

- Antonio Benitez Rojos, Cuban scholar

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Rosabelle Illes, Groundation Grenada’s writer-in-residence from Aruba residing in Netherlands

After a revitalizing yoga session on the morning of Saturday  16th August 2014, which will focus on cultivating creativity, it’s time to stretch our minds and to engage in creative writing from 10:15 am to 4:15 pm at the historic Priory building on Church Street (next to ‘Hindsay’ School). Forgetting is Not an Option Phase N°1 is Groundation’s largest project to date and boosts a rich program of events, including Dismantling  the Caribbean Cliché, a creative writing workshop hosted by our visiting Writer-in-Residence, Rosabelle Illes (Aruba). Pre-registration online is required and open to everyone, 16 and over.

The Caribbean has become a synonym of paradise and that in turn has become a cliché. Naturally, the history of each island shaped its current state. Yet the fact that our past took shape under clear blue skies and bright sunshine while surrounded by white sand and caressed by turquoise sea does not make slavery, colonialism, revolution and identity crises any more or less pretty. Even the events and movements tied to Caribbean islands, when mentioned as empty terms to simply summarize the history, also pertain to tired overused narratives.

This creative writing workshop aims to reach the core of the Grenadian native as individuals. By expressing emotions, experiences and observations through poetry and short-stories, participants will be guided to tear down longstanding views that have lost their meaning and create fresh pieces. It is – after all – our duty to provide the next generation with more progressed thoughts so that they can dismantle what we create today. Don’t miss your chance pre-register online!

1375114_668636626489646_1122785473_nRosabelle Illes is an Aruban writer and artist currently residing in the Netherlands. She is the author of two collections of poetry “Beyond Insanity” (2005) and “Spiel di mi Alma” (Mirror of my Soul, 2010) and the creator of an art calendar entitled “Wholism” (2012). Her short story “Stars for sale: a buck each” (2013), about a woman who becomes mentally ill after the baristas at her favorite coffee shop repeatedly misspell her name on her coffee cup, is published in the 11th issue of Gone Lawn Journal. Her experimental piece “The invisible short-story” (2013) features in theNewerYork Press and her poem “True Friendship” (2014) can be found in the 13th volume of My Favorite Bullet. Her most recent work “Species” is published in the Spring 2014 anthology by Crack the Spine Press. Presently, Rosabelle is working on a children’s book in collaboration with Curaçaoan singer-songwriter Levi Silvanie.

Next to producing works of art, Rosabelle also dedicates her time to teaching the craft. In the summers of 2013 and 2014, Rosabelle led a two-week workshop on creative writing as part of the Pancake Gallery’s global educational arts program “Art Rules Aruba.” She has also taught creative writing and held lectures at Webster University Leiden, the University of Aruba and The Pedagogy Institute of Aruba.She holds a BA in Psychology (Hons) with a minor in English from Webster University and an MSc. in Social and Organizational Psychology from Leiden University, where she is currently a doctoral candidate in psychology.

Learn more about her at www.rosabelleilles.com

Click to Pre-register for her creative writing workshop!

 


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Groundation Grenada is a social action collective which focuses on the use of creative media to assess the needs of our communities, raise consciousness and act to create positive radical growth. Our mission is to provide active safe spaces to incubate new modes of resistance, building from the local to affect regional and international solidarity and change. We pursue our mission online, through our website and social media, and also through live events and special projects in collaboration with local, regional and international artists, activists and institutions. Groundation Grenada’s website supports both local and diasporic voices, acting as an interface to connect people who are hungry for innovative change.

Groundation August Events! Forgetting is Not an Option Phase N°1

August 1, 2014

ForgettingLogoGroundation Grenada in collaboration with ARC magazine announce the launch of Forgetting Is Not An Option Phase N°1 – a multimedia cultural memory project in which the Grenada Revolution (1979-83) is a point of departure for envisioning a new Caribbean. From 14th to 17th August, 2014, with support from Schools Without Borders, a Toronto-based community organization, we will host dynamic workshops by visiting artists-in-residence Rosabelle Illes and Robin De Vogel, screenings of Caribbean short films and so much more! Courtesy of The Grenada National Trust all events will be at  The Historic Priory building on Church Street with the exception of our Acoustic Jam Session at the Clarke’s Court Cave in Fort Matthew on Saturday 16th August  starting at 7:00pm. The final event of Phase N°1 will be a Sulphur Spring Hike on 17th Sunday August but we will meet at The Priory. 

“We look forward to welcoming a diversity of participants to help make this historic event a reality,” says Groundation Director, Kimalee Phillip. “We were very intentional in choosing the titles, frameworks and locations of the events to capture the significance of what we’re hoping to achieve – a Caribbean based on love for our people, our land and a commitment to social justice and international solidarity.”

Click to enlarge & view our full program! 

Phase1 ProgramAugust2014

“We want to ensure that no one is turned away at the door, however we do not have any major funding for this project therefore we are asking for a sliding scale donation of $5-$15EC at the door for each event,” says Groundation Director Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe. “If you like the sound of our line up purchase an All Access Pass $40EC pass. Then you can have complete access to all 4 days of events! We do not want money to be the reason for people not participating.”ForgettingLogo_Phase1

RSVP Now!
http://www.forgettingisnotanoption.org

 

Groundation Grenada’s next step for Forgetting is Not an Option is our Open Call. October 31st 2014 midnight is the deadline for persons to submit their new and existing writing, art, performance, films, interviews etc. about the Grenada revolution and Grenada’s rich cultural memories. The goal is to create an archive and multi-layered language to discuss our histories. This will provide educators artists, academics, students and the general public with a vast resource made up of many local, regional and international voices. Forgetting is Not an Option has the potential to directly impact upon the educational curricula used in schools and welcomes institutions and individuals interested in collaboration. The project encourages people to be creative in how they remember and interact with important historical milestones and how those moments, the triumphs and failures,  can be use to inform future directions.

|| Contact us ||

hello@forgettingisnotanoption.org
Kimalee Phillip at 449-6031
Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe at 410-5271

 


RealGroundationLogo_TransparentGroundation Grenada is a social action collective, founded in 2009, which focuses on the use of creative media to assess the community’s needs, raise consciousness and act to create positive radical growth. We pursue our mission online, through http://www.groundationgrenada.com, and through live events and special projects in collaboration with local, regional and international artists, activists and organisations. Groundation Grenada’s website supports both local and diasporic voices, acting as an interface to connect youth who are hungry for innovative change. facebook || twitter

Free Up the Herb – On Herbs and Hypocrisy in the Commonwealth Caribbean

July 30, 2014

:: by Richie Maitland ::

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Ganja has been in the headlines a lot lately in the Caribbean.  Most recently in early June 2014, the Jamaican government announced plans to decriminalise personal possession of up to 2 ounces of ganja by September 2014 – a decision supported by the Drug Abuse Council (1). In May 2014, video emerged of a man who appeared to be the sports Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Anil Roberts smoking what appeared to be ganja (2). On April 20th 2014 – 4/20, ganja smokers in the Caribbean (the brave and less vulnerable ones), posted odes to weed. The braver and even less vulnerable ones posted images of themselves holding extra large size spliffs, fat buds, bongs, joints with bellies (hashtag novices), bashies with scissors cut weed and ganja paraphernalia. Others dare not risk the wrath of parents, employers (even potential ones), or society. The Caribbean reality is that the place small, people can be quite judgmental and parents can be quite brutal (trust me I know).

Anyways, days like 4/20, I picture smoke signals rising above those islands, like the husky smoke that rises from the open mouths of milk tins, converted to pots on three stone firesides. I picture the smoke signals rising, forming genie like smoke men in the Caribbean sky, arguing with each other about who has ‘the hardest’.

4/20 celebrations illustrate some ways cultural imperialism and geopolitics operate; mediated, replicated and perpetuated through virtual space and social media. We’re in the Caribbean celebrating 4/20, in the same way we’re beginning to celebrate thanksgiving – on social media, but also in real life, (roasting turkeys or roasting joints). Cultural significances are being pushed into our lives and the stronger party wins the pushing match. Culture entrenches modes of thought, modes of thought entrench systems and systems…systems entrench advantage and disadvantage, though 4/20 celebrations are relatively benign.

But I not here to talk about geopolitics but about ganja, though ganja and geo politics intersect so much that talking about geopolitics is inevitable when talking about the international herb.

Ganja is now decriminalised in about 25 countries worldwide, including parts of the US, Canada, Australia and Uruguay which has fully legalised its possession, sale and distribution. Regionally, the bill to decriminalise ganja has already been approved by the Jamaican House of Representatives and the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has shown leadership on starting the decriminalisation conversation. In late 2013, he wrote to CARICOM chair, the Hon. Kamla Persad Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, inviting CARICOM to address the issue (3); he himself has been raising the issue in different CARICOM platforms. Policy and law makers regionally and worldwide are realising more and more that the costs of ganja prohibition far outweigh the benefits, as concluded by the Jamaican National Ganja Commission in their report 13 years ago. But not everyone likes this wind of change and how it smells.

“Government’s position on this issue is very clear. The cultivation and use of marijuana in Grenada is illegal, and therefore, we will abide by the Laws of our Land.” (4) Words of Grenada’s Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, the Hon. Anthony Boatswain. He saw it fit to enlighten us, though I don’t think anybody thinks otherwise. Of course the law being what it is, the government can change it, as they often do; his remark reflects a wider symbolic stance against ganja use.

The Minister was speaking at a meeting of the Grenada Drug Epidemiology Network and National Observatory on Drugs (GRENDEN-NOD) in January 2014 and sending a message to decriminalisation movements in Grenada. He justified the government of Grenada’s position by referring to statistics on drug-related admissions to the Mt. Gay Psychiatric Hospital and by saying that the families of psychiatric patients and the state of Grenada were saddled with the responsibility of caring for these patients. To paraphrase, the argument went – ‘some people who smoke ganja go crazy, and when they do, other people and the state have to care for them’. I decided to look at the statistics myself.

People who have drug related mental and physical health problems interact with the General Hospital, Rathdune (the General Hospital’s psychiatric unit), the Mt.Gay Psychiatric institute and the Carlton home. The referenced data is drawn from those institutions. The other institutions drug users interact with on account of drug use are the courts and the prisons.

Between January 2006- June 2013 in the institutions mentioned above, of the complications treated, 37 Carlton home cases were for ganja related issues, compared to 60  for alcohol; 452 Rathdune  cases were ganja related, compared to 530 for alcohol;  33 General Hospital cases were ganja related compared to 1126 for alcohol. Many of the cases over this 7 year period were recurrent ie. the same people were readmitted and therefore reflected multiple times in the data.

Graphic - Free up Herb
The statistics show that alcohol is a much bigger public (including mental) health threat than ganja. If global statistics are any indication, cigarettes are also a much bigger public health threat than ganja. Yet, rightfully in my view, alcohol and cigarettes are legal. Policy makers understand, in relation to these drugs, that adults should be able to enjoy their substances and that most adults do so in ways that aren’t problematic to themselves, their families and societies. The hypocrisy comes in the fact that ganja is never given the benefit of those arguments although they apply even more strongly for ganja.

Drug related habits pervade society at every level, but we are socialised into attaching particularly negative associations with some habits; partly because of criminalisation. Grenadian Sociologist Claude Douglas says:

“The stereotypical views held about alcohol and marijuana has a more profound influence on their use and abuse. Because of its legal status and social character of its consumption, alcohol is not considered a drug by most of its consumers and even by stakeholders who invariably use the phrase “alcohol and drugs.”(5)

We also understand the friend who proudly proclaims their addiction to coffee; who ‘needs’ coffee to start their day; who takes great care to ensure a constant availability of coffee and who is queen B (not Beyonce) when they can’t get it. Same for our friends who smoke cigarettes. If a ganja user behaves similarly, that person has a ‘drug problem’. We are quick to point out how much money our weed smoking friends spend on ganja, never mind the expensive Starbucks dark roast we always trying to buy duty free, never mind that we have a percolator home and at the office, never mind the weekly investment in filters, cream and milk. Most of the people we know who use alcohol, coffee and cigarettes don’t have drug ‘problems’, they have drug habits (which cost money). It is the same with ganja smokers.

Some people think ganja smokers are lazy, unmotivated stoners who do nothing but sleep and raid their mothers’ kitchens, beating tracks between the bed and the fridge. Others associate ganja with criminality and decadence – their daughter dare not bring home a ganja smoker, and if she does bring one home they’ll check to make sure he didn’t ‘tief’ anything after they kick them out. Poor them for not knowing their doctor and architect smoke ganja too. The sad reality is that many ganja smokers remain closeted in the Caribbean. Those who know – know, but people rather avoid the stigma and criminality that smoking ganja carries in most circles. The productive, ‘normal’ people who smoke ganja pretend they don’t and so only the other kinds of ganja smokers are visible.  This is probably why this lazy-man stereotype is hard to shake.

Some people call Ganja a gateway drug. I’m pretty sure that most, if not all, of the people who smoke ganja, smoked cigarettes and/or drank alcohol prior to smoking ganja. Are cigarettes and alcohol then the true gateway drugs? Why does the buck stop with ganja? People who are open to trying ganja are more likely to be open to trying other drugs than people who don’t do any drugs; the same is true for alcohol and cigarettes. This does not necessarily make marijuana, alcohol or cigarettes ‘gateway drugs’, a concept which implies that someone would not have used a perceived worse drug, but for the use of the alcohol, cigarettes or ganja.

People have fronted Grenada’s international obligations, suggesting that decriminalising would breach drug prohibition treaties that Grenada has signed. You know what other countries also have similar international obligations in relation to drug prohibition? The USA, Canada, Switzerland all of which have decriminalised to some extent, nationally or municipally, possession of small amounts of ganja. You know what other international obligation Grenada has? An obligation to respect and affirm the equality of LGBTI people – that government doesn’t give a shit about. Governments hide behind international obligations as pretexts when they want to avoid inconvenient action while disregarding other obligations with impunity. Emphasizing international obligations is therefore a weak argument against decriminalisation.

But to address the substance rather than the hypocrisy of the argument, this issue has actually been determined by Caribbean international law expert – Professor Stephen Vascianne (6) from Jamaica. Grenada and most of the rest of the Caribbean share the same drug prohibition international obligations as Jamaica. Vascianne concluded in a 2001 paper (7) that it was possible to decriminalise personal ganja use in Jamaica without being in breach of international obligations, once cultivation and distribution of ganja remained illegal.

I venture to say that a third of Grenada smokes ganja from time to time.  This is not such a grand figure when you consider that a study done in 2006 among people aged 15-35 in the villages of Woburn, Grenville and Gouyave, show ganja usage at 70%. (8) After horning, smoking weed is the second biggest open secret in the Caribbean; our second biggest horn child. Not everyone will be in on the secret because people fear repercussions. Yet, politicians who presumably know the scene quite well continue this performance of piety; ask the man who look like Min. Anil Roberts.

I applaud the National United Front and attorney-at-law Anselm Clouden in Grenada, for starting public conversations about ganja decriminalisation in Grenada at a panel discussion in December 2013.

Ganja possession is a victimless crime; one I’ve seen people convicted and fined for – repeat offenders risking prison. I know how much time, administrative resources and personal time the criminal process swallows and how disruptive it can be; how drug related convictions stain the lives of good, productive people; how marijuana can be useful; how pointless criminalising small amounts of marijuana is.

The danger and ineffectiveness of strict prohibition regimes has gained international attention. Ban Ki-moon, The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in June 2014 (9):

“National laws that stigmatize and marginalize drug users also need to be addressed.  Known drug use or convictions for even minor use of drugs may deprive a person of a range of parental rights, including custody, as well as other legal rights, and may unalterably modify future opportunities, including employment.  In some States, ethnic minorities and marginalized groups living in poverty are disproportionately targeted by drug enforcement efforts.”

I urge all States to reconsider from a human rights perspective the decades-old approach to drug control based on repression. A number of States no longer incarcerate persons for minor drug offences, and some have de-criminalized minor drug offences. It is also possible, and consistent with current international drug control treaties, to re-frame some drug-related conduct as administrative offences, followed with a social and medical response.”

In a 2003 Grenada assessment on marijuana use and youth behaviour “[t]he majority of respondents from all groups excluding River Road dismissed the notion that marijuana encourages young people in crime. In fact, most respondents from Tivoli and Gouyave asserted that on the contrary marijuana instills a new consciousness in the individual, thus promoting positive attitudes and behaviours.” (10)

One female respondent in that assessment says:

“I was a wild child on the street and ah use to smoke more cigarettes, now I smoking more weed. Before them time I did not use to check up on me life but now as ah smoking and thing, I think a lot of things, and is like ah overs (understand) me life because ah smoking marijuana, now I get a meditation to change me life because ah seeing certain things and it change me a lot, so I could say it (marijuana) change me in a good way.”

In 2012 I was talking to a client, a mother whose son I was representing in a legal matter. Because we were both from Petite Martinique, she asked me to talk to her son who was a few years younger than me and encourage him to change some of his ways. I asked her what ways; she said she wanted him to stop smoking ganja. I asked her how she knew he smokes. She said that she could just tell – his eyes look funny, he gets a lot calmer, he doesn’t ‘get on’ with her when she talks to him, he smiles and does whatever she asks him to do around the house, talks to her nicely and just wants to stay home. My head voice asked ‘why the hell you want him stop smoking weed then?’ In her mind, she’d rather have a rude, aggressive, unhelpful, absent son than a ganja smoking son.

I have friends & acquaintances who struggle with being psychologically dependent on ganja and with quitting; I’m not giving ganja an easy pass. But they are a very small percentage compared to  my friends & acquaintances who are struggling with being physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol and cigarettes and who struggle even worse.

It is also probably true that children will have more access to ganja if it is decriminalised, but, certainly still less than they have access to alcohol and tobacco.

The responsibility is on parents to provide meaningful information to their children and to protect them from what they consider harmful substances. The responsibility is on adults to not sell or give drugs to minors. The responsibility is on the state to criminalise adults who do. This is the approach taken in relation to alcohol and cigarettes and should be the approach taken in relation to ganja. It is the approach that strikes the best balance between protecting children from the potentially harmful effects of substances and allowing adults the right to make their own decisions about what to put into their bodies.

We have the data, the arguments and the examples of other countries that have decriminalised. Will we dare to be progressive?

I say, free up the herb.

 


richie bio pic 3Richie Maitland
Co-Founder Groundation Grenada

Richie Maitland is a Grenadian attorney and activist. He is a graduate of the Presentation Brothers College  and T.A. Marryshow Community College. He earned his Bachelor of Laws Degree at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill, Barbados in 2010. Richie is a member of the Hugh Wooding Law School class of 2012 and is currently working as an attorney-at-law in Grenada.

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.

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