- Thu, 2012-01-19 15:23
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The Union of Jamaican Organizations in Atlanta (UJOA) is a good example of Jamaicans in the Diaspora working together. Comprised of nine different groups, the UJOA worked collaboratively to pull off a series of well supported events to celebrate Jamaica’s 49th year of independence. Celebrations kicked off with a Church Service at the Reverend Dr. Winston Lawson’s Hillside Presbyterian Church. Youth Leader Miss. Candice Green of the Integrity Children’s Fund and recent Masters in Divinity, Mercer University graduate gave a resounding account of her experience of religion in Jamaica compared to in the USA. Rev. Dr. Barry Davies, formerly ‘Uncle Barry’ of JBC and RJR fame, was outstanding on the organ, putting some of Jamaica’s best folk music to hymns and prayers.
Dr. Marcia Forbes was the special guest of the UJOA and the Atlanta Jamaican Association (AJA), a key member of the union, with Mr. Errol Ritchie as its President. Dr. Forbes’ itinerary included appearances at several events, including those hosted specially in her honour such as reading and signings of her recently released CXC, CAPE Sociology approved book, Music, Media & Adolescent Sexuality in Jamaica and lunch with notable Jamaicans in Atlanta. The latter included Rev. Professor Noel Erskine of Emory University, Honorary Consul Mr. Vin Martin and Miss. Sarah Vaughn, President Queen’s Alumnae Atlanta Association.
In recognition of what the DeKalb County of Atlanta described as Dr. Forbes’ “many contributions and achievements” they acknowledged her work in media which they noted she uses “as a positive tool to impact both the country and the world in whole”. The DeKalb county commended her for “outstanding ability to unite the world through her gift of mass communications and outstanding citizenship.” The Proclamation was read and presented by Jamaica’s Honorary Consul in Atlanta for over a decade, Mr. Vin Martin, an accomplished Attorney at Law who gives unstinting service to Jamaica. This is the second honour Marcia Forbes has received from the USA. The first, for outstanding scholarship and “demonstrated commitment to professional and public service”, was conferred on her by Emerson College in Boston and saw her named to the US National Communication Honor Society.
Keynote Speaker at the AJA hosted Black Tie Independence Ball held at the prestigious Atlanta International Convention Centre, Dr. Forbes called on Jamaicans in the Diaspora to put social media to greater use and move beyond connecting only with friends and family. She extolled their use to connect with organizations and local leaders in order to better understand how and where to invest in Jamaica. Dr. Marcia Forbes emphasized that social networks and other forms of new media technologies can make it easier for the Jamaican Diaspora to strengthen the ties that bind them to their homeland and encouraged older folks to enlist the help of younger ones to help them master the technologies.