Air Jamaica Town Hall Series Heads North

29th May 2003

Air Jamaica`s Caribbean town hall themes of “Caribbean Unity and Immigration” will be discussed for the first time in the northern US cities of Dorchester, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut on Thursday, June 5 and Friday, June 6 respectively.
These meetings follow a similar successful round this April in Maryland and Philadelphia; and New Jersey and New York where delegates discussed issues of financial freedom as well.

Claire Robinson, Air Jamaica`s Regional Manager - Special Markets Northeast, said these meetings are part of her airline`s mission to inspire Caribbean nationals with a common vision, unity and wisdom. “The momentum flows to New England next month and we are excited to introduce these empowering discussions to the vibrant communities in Dorchester and Hartford,” she said.
Headliners for the meetings include community activist Irwine Clare of Caribbean Immigrant Services, Immigration Attorney Douglas Jensen; Veronica Airey-Wilson, Hartford`s Deputy Mayor and Dr. Edgar Johnson, Publisher of the West Indian American Newspaper.

This round of Air Jamaica`s town hall meetings is sponsored in part by Western Union, Victoria Mutual Building Society, Pepsi, Ting, Counterpart International, ENG Caribbean Vision Center, Golden Krust Bakery, The Caribbean Connection Program on WRCA 1330 AM (Boston), the Community Outreach Program on WDJZ 1530 AM (Hartford), West Indian Social Club of Hartford, West Indian Independence Celebration and Xanadu Hair Salon.

At April`s meetings in Maryland and Philadelphia, delegates considered the ease with which Caribbean nationals are being deported; the importance of observing US laws; the rising cost of education for immigrant students; amnesty for undocumented West Indians; participation in the US Green Card lottery; the relevance of community organisations; attracting second generation Caribbean-Americans and the student population to participate in these organisations; the importance of becoming US citizens and thus of voting; the role of the church in negating the negative effects of materialism; and the importance of elders sharing wisdom with younger generations.
Other conclusions included the establishment of a Caribbean House to unite Caribbean organisations; the urgent compilation of a database of organisations and professionals; intra-organisational support; electing Caribbean-Americans to political office; using carnival and cultural celebrations to foster unity; embracing the ideas and enthusiasm of the younger generation; the importance of organisations working with local media outlets to promote their activities; the launch of educational seminars on acquiring non-profit status; and encouraging the use of the Internet and computer technology.
“The Caribbean people have an indomitable spirit. Our ancestors have done more than us with less. We cannot betray our heritage,” said one inspired panelist at the end of one of the meetings.

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