Thank You J-FLAG

NTCG Logo June 2008

I don’t have a lot of experience working with Civil Society Organisations; the closest I came to having any sort of experience with CSOs was four months at my dad’s church – I designed and implemented a short training programme for point persons in the church to provide more youth friendly services for the youth population of that church and neighbouring communities.

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I have spent most of my professional life teaching and going to school.

So when I landed at J-FLAG all I had was several years of teaching experience and a few letters behind my name. Honestly, a part of me was doubtful about the impact I could have because it seemed like a world of work in a world that was largely unknown to me. But with much support and drive in the 16 months I have been there, I have learnt, done, and grown more than I ever did in my life prior to J-FLAG; well, with the exception of 2010 when I was teaching full time, enrolled part-time in a PGDip programme, and enrolled full time in an MSc programme (which I had to hide for the most part for policy reasons, shhhh).

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I was able to learn, do, and grow exponentially in my time at J-FLAG also because of a sort of uncodified philosophy of the organisation: ‘we’ll show you the sea, we’ll dump you in there regardless of whether you can swim, but you gotta figure out the rest’. That’s kinda how the organisation works, which is why it tremendously builds the capacity of those who are largely intrinsically motivated and are passionate about their work.

I will be perpetually grateful to J-FLAG for its impact on my personal and professional development and I don’t care if anyone has a problem with me writing about this every day. Thank you, and Happy Belated 16!

Peace.

Today

Christ Church

Today was a special day for me.

It was the first in a very long time that I participated in a church service outside of attending thanksgiving service, the christening of my godson, or my dad’s annual appreciation service.

When I go I usually enjoy it, but I am rarely, if ever moved by the proceedings.

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Today was different. Today was very different. Today felt like a celebration of the human family with all its diversity. And indeed it was. Because today, at Christ Church, Vineyard Town, Anglican Priest Father Sean Major-Campbell hosted a special service in observance of the upcoming December 10 internationally recognised Human Rights Day.

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Today, in Mass, he delivered a very powerful sermon urging all Jamaicans to

  • uphold and respect the rights of each citizen
  • live together in peace in spite of our differences
  • speak up in defence of the human rights of the vulnerabilised
  • and to use the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as our guide to healthy living.

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In his humility and in keeping with his value to lead by example, he washed the feet of two openly lesbian Jamaicans – Jamaicans who, in their own micro and macro ways are contributing to Jamaica’s National Development Plan – Vision 2030.

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He also invited a transgender man – FJ Genus to briefly share with the congregation what life has been like for him here in Jamaica.

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FJ was touched. He expressed a feeling of gratitude and appreciation to be allowed to speak in a space that is often considered by some to be a hostile space for the LGBT community. But today it was not so.

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It was not hostile.

It was not discriminatory.

It was not stigmatising.

It was not judgemental.

All were welcome with open arms to the delight of many, including Jamaicans for Justice’s Chairman – Dr. Barry Wade who expressed that more services of this nature were needed.

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Dr. Michael Abrahams in his piece on ‘Justice’ challenged Jamaicans to demand justice, everywhere there is injustice. We do not only want justice he said, we NEED justice. He also articulated (in no minor way) that Jamaica needed more Christians like Father Sean to advance the human rights of all of us.

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In the end, I was quite pleased. It was pure awesomeness! Well done Father Sean!

Peace.

Click to view more photos from the service.