Young Jamaican diasporans and others with close ties to the USA, gathered to talk about the impacts of COVID-19, during an April 14 conference, hosted by President of the Jamaican American Youth Alliance (JAYA) Jenine Shepherd.
JAYA, geared towards galvanizing Jamaicans to uplift young Jamaicans in Jamaica, and the USA via mentorship and networking opportunities, led the virtual “Young People Talk COVID-19”, co-hosed by Dervan Malcolm, presenter of ‘Both Sides of the Story” of Power 106 FM.
Two panels discussed Foreign Affairs & Education, Impact on Business, Investment, the Economy, and Community Leader Response.
The forum that attracted scores of youths via a live streaming on Jamaicans.com Facebook platform, Proud Jamaicans and Pure Jamaica, offered, much important information around mental health, and the social and wellbeing of young Jamaicans during this coronavirus pandemic.
The diplomatic community across America, in partnerships with experts have set up hotlines for easy access to information and resources, that would be shared on various social media platforms, as well as the Jamaican Ministry of Health website, and Ministry of Foreign Trade website.
The forum focused on what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is doing to help young Jamaicans stranded in the USA, what projects the various consulates of Jamaica in the USA are rolling out to give assistance, the impact on students studying in the USA and the support the US Embassy is currently providing, and emergency shelter projects for Jamaican college students in the USA.
Support is also being provided to Jamaican farmers who partake in seasonal employment in the USA by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF), support provided to businesses in Jamaica by the government, help being provided to businesses owned by Jamaicans in the USA by the US government, investment and economic forecasts, advice for young business owners, and projects now being implemented by the US government to support Jamaican diasporian families.
According to Shepherd, young people, are confused in an age where false information is easily shared, as such JAYA is trying to protect its peers by making sure they get the truth straight from the horse’s mouth.
‘We, young Jamaicans at home and abroad, need to come together and support each other, because we are stronger when we are unified. We will overcome COVID-19”, assured Shepherd, who is working on several social events, beyond the coronavirus pandemic, to engage youths in the diaspora.
The organization brought together, a high-level team that included Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Commissioner of the NYC Department of the USA Small Business Services, Greg Bishop, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States H.E. Ambassador Audrey Marks, and Jamaica’s Consul General to New York, Hon. Alison Wilson, O.D.
Also on the panel were, State Minister in MICAF, Floyd Green, MP; Consul General of Jamaica to Miami, Oliver Mair; Deputy Consul General of Jamaica to New York, Lisa Bryan-Smart; Jeremiah Knight; Counselor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Kingston, Steven Whittingham, and Chief Operating Officer at the Grace Kennedy Financial Group Ltd., David Mullings, Chief Executive Officer of Blue Mahoe Capital Partners (recently featured in Bloomberg), Xamayla Rose, the Deputy Public Advocate of New York, Dale Holness, Mayor Dade County, Miami, Dr. Karren Dunkley, Ph.D., Northeast USA Representative on the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council and Dominic Christopher, Chief Executive Officer at Deh Abroad, were also on the panel.
JAYA would like to thank, Office of the City Public Advocate, Caribbean Life, NYC Small Business Services, JIS, Jamaican Inspried, Deh Abroad, Broward County Office of Mayor Dale Holness, GraceKennedy, Street Hype, PJ Strategic Partners, and all others.
To learn more, log on to www.jaya.network, https://congenjamaica-ny.org, https://www.uscis.gov/visit-united-states/extend-your-stay,