Before I actively began to believe in myself, this young man saw quite a bit in me that was news to me. He has subtly pushed me, and pushed me, and pushed me to aim for more, reach for more, do more, and be more. In my one year at J-FLAG I have grown tenfold in many ways, in many areas of my life, and it is largely because Jaevion entrusted quite a bit to me that I did not even know I had the capacity to do. He will, for a very long time remain the most important person in my professional development beyond age 30.
If Marvia sees me, she may not instantly remember me by name or even face, but I don’t care. She has revolutionised the way I process religion as a system of beliefs. This is very important for me, after having tireless conversations with many persons on issues of religion, morality, and sexuality. She has enlivened what I thought was impossible – reconciling religion, morality, and sexuality. I wish all my gay friends knew her.
In an unplanned way, I have been learning quite a bit about advocacy and effecting change from this powHERhouse. I have seen the fruits of her work and her methodology, some of which I will emulate. In her calmest possible voice she always manages to get me to see my errors, when I do err, and she has never once made me feel insufficient because of them. More than many, she has witnessed my miraculous exponential growth in less than fifteen months; today I am happy she is proud of me.
For over seven years Rochelle has blessed my life and has impacted every single part of my being – every single part of my existence. She has taught me the art, elegance, and pleasure of forgiveness, and, as a hundredfold recipient I remain utterly grateful. She always had a vision for me that I didn’t quite have for myself and each day when I believe I am one step closer to that vision, I celebrate with pride and gratitude.
I met Kenita over a year ago and I have closely observed (when she’s not looking) how she manages her multiple roles and how she easily inspires others around her to make, and be the difference they want to see. She is my Caribbean shero particularly with regard to advocating on behalf of the women in the gay community. She always knows when it’s time for a lengthy Skype call, and what to say to keep me going, and going, and going to the next level.
My nephew. My godson. My youngest heartbeat. Lemarc has taught me the true meaning of unconditional love, and what it means to love someone just because they are. He is what I would call my fulcrum. If there was only one person in this world that I would never want to disappoint, it would be my Lemarc.
While my interaction with this phenomenal woman is only a few months old, she has imparted a small fraction of her knowledge about many development-related issues on me, which keeps motivating me to learn even more. This is one encyclopaedia I never want to lose. One day I hope to amass even a quarter of the wealth of knowledge she has amassed in her time here.
Maria has a subtle way of always keeping me grounded. She always seems to flick the idea switch in my head without realising it. If there is one person who I am certain will always keep me going, it’s her; she says the right things at the right time. Maria helps me to always see the big picture and avoid thoughts of throwing in the towel.
Carlene is very dear to me. She is so committed to helping me improve everything I do and everything I am. She provides a safe haven for a multitude (that’s an exaggeration) of people, and watching her give of herself to others always makes me pause and reflect on what, and how much I give to humanity.
Richard is the kindness person I know on the face of the earth. His selflessness is second to none, and he never complains in the midst of helping others, regardless of the circumstances. To watch someone constantly care for, and help others with such ease, is breath-taking.
When I get older I want to facilitate any and every learning session the way Karlene does. She is simply the best, and it’s a quality I appreciate because of the profound impact it can have on others. This is something I will emulate over time with my own style, because I certainly can’t speak at her speed. Her passion for teaching is orgasmic.
My Rev. Dad. If the story written in the Bible about Job was written in the year two thousand and fourteen, it would be renamed The Book of Steve. My dad – Steve – lives his principles and is almost never found wanting. As father, as minister of religion, as teacher, as brother, as friend, as colleague, as uncle, as granddad, as everything that he is, he positively impacts every life he touches. He is so cool, so calm, and so effective in all his roles and he never short-changes anyone who needs his time and support. If humans were perfect, he would be the measure. His life inspires me.
Thank you. Thank all of you…