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Diaspora- the aggregate of communities residing out side original homeland


Life and Debt The movie

Stephanie Black is a cinematographer who went to Jamaica and filmed the two sides of Jamaica: the tourist and the locals. The film showed how difficult it is to live in Jamaica and to survive. An example was the scene from the film that depicted young and middle age women working in sweat shops (Caribbean free zones). They were sewing for brand names such as Tommy Hill Figger and others for wages of less than thirty- (U S) dollars a week. The film also talked about how Jamaica is in debited to the World Bank for the sum of seven

billion dollars. Part of the debt payment settlement is that Jamaica had to agree to have import of foreign goods come to the island at a reduced import tax rate; consequently, the local merchants cannot compete with the influx of cheap foreign products. For instance, the farmers could not sell to the local community because their prices where higher. The cattle industry suffered because local cattle were not being utilized. For example, when a popular fast food chain came to Jamaica, the original agreement was that chain would purchase Jamaican grown beef from the farmers, but later change their mind and used imported beef, despite the fact that the cattle farmers had produced grade A quality beef. The film gives numerous examples of why true commerce is not occurring within the island to pay off the mounting debt that is owed to the World Bank and IMF. Life and Debt will be showing in various cities. For further information on where Life and Debt is showing, go to:

Winter 2001

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South African Flag

WORLD REPORT CONFERENCE ON RACISM The World Conference on Racism held in South Africa from the 26th August 2001 – September 9, 2001 was a very difficult conference but it did have its successes. The NGO Forum was problematic from the beginning to the end. It was at the opening that we first understood that the US would boycott the conference if we spoke about the PalestineIsraeli issue and about reparation. Indeed, President Mbeki did not include his views on any of the two topics at the opening ceremony. The registration itself was a lengthy process. There were several caucuses and commissions formed. The caucuses were supposedly the political tools and the commissions

were thematic. There were times in my view that I could not distinguish the differences between the Commissions and the Caucuses. In the end, many were still unclear about how information got into the final document. In my interview with heads of organizations and individuals, it was obvious that the agendas at the conference were different. Some had a conservative agenda of networking, as the opinion was that the document would not change significantly and that it was more important to focus on post-Durban activities. There were organizations that did workshops around the issues of Racism, Xenophobia and Other Related Intolerance, which were very informative. Many workshops held were powerful and these continued even during the Government forum. Some prominent activists at the conference were Angela Davis, Harry Belafonte and Jesse Jackson. A popular and very effective daily session was one called “Voices of Victims” in which oppressed groups from around the world told their stories. The African and Afrodescendants caucus also did a good job of rallying people around the issues that racism was a crime against humanity, the need for an apology and the issue of reparation. Their issues to varying degrees were addressed. The fact that the US threatened not to attend and eventually arrived with a low level delegation and left early, made many individuals more interested in the issues of slavery and reparation. The African and Afro descendants Caucus also had a candle light demonstration surrounding the aforementioned issues since it was the understanding that the most difficult subjects were

being put off until closer to the end of the conference. It was therefore felt that the issues for African and Afro descendants would not be discussed adequately. I participated in this demonstration. The police presence was heavy. We were given a small space within which to move and we were not allowed in front of the area where the Government delegates were having their meeting. The police officers also formed a chain behind us and had iron barriers. Whatever were the shortcomings of the conference, the United Nations is the only forum where so many nations of the world could sit down and talk about the issue of race. It was interesting at the conference how the European Nations that included the US (for the time that they were at the conference) formed alliances and made decisions as a bloc. The struggle therefore continues. The post-Durban activities are critical to the continuation of work surrounding issues of Racism, Xenophobia and other related intolerances. Kindly contact Kathrine Mendez, CAFRA-Belize at if you would like further information about the Conference.


A trivia fact: fact One of the first acts Jamaica did, as a sovereign nation was to

break all diplomatic and economic ties with South Africa, which began in the 1960s. Compare that political stand with Western Europe and other African nations who would not stand up to South Africa’s racist policies until the 1980’s. This is one of many reasons why Jamaicans should be proud of their heritage. .

Cultural Pride

Book Club News The Jamaican American book club fall selection was: Waiting in Vain

By Colin Channer. We had the pleasure of interviewing him about his book. Here is what he to had to say:

Q: What inspired you to become a writer and who are your influences? A: I was inspired to become a novelist after reading the work of Carlyl Phillips. I was an editor at Essence at the time-1988--and an editor gave me a copy of Phillip’s debut novel, “The Final Passage”. He was young, Black and from the Caribbean. I realized then and there that was what I had always wanted to do and that I hadn’t done it because growing in Jamaica, I didn’t have a role model. My Literary influences are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, John Updike, William Miller and Bob Marley. Why? Cause they are writers with style and vision. Q: Are all your novels romance or are there other types? A: None of my books are romance. I write love stories. There is a difference. A romance is a predictable, formulaic book that focuses on fantasy. Q: Do you have a family? A: A wife and two children aged six and four, a girl and boy, Addis and Makonnen. Q:: Are you mentoring anyone? A: I am mentoring a lot of people. I teach workshops in Jamaica, the U.S. and the U.K. I have also founded a literary festival in Jamaica, the Calabash International Literary Festival. Q: Do you have an up coming novel? A: Yes, it is called “Satisfy My Soul”. You may contact Colin Channer at:

How to become Rahtid Rich!

A world famous author told me recently that every great story begins with a complicating situation, a problem, and some conflict that needs to be resolved. In my case the conflict was internal. I was no longer happy with my situation. I wanted more than life was giving me. I wanted to be happy, to have money in my pocket and a smart, gorgeous woman on my arm. Unfortunately here I was at twenty-nine under employed, broke and single. I glanced at my bookshelf, crammed with dozens of titles, but one seemed to jump out at me " Think and Grow Rich " the title said. I smiled, wishing it were really that simple. I am a good chess player, surely if thinking was the key to riches I'd be playing golf with Bill Gates by now; Nonetheless, I began to think and even dream as I turned on my radio. " How could I make loads of money doing something I really enjoyed ? " I asked myself." Write a Rahtid book! " The voice of Cliff Hughes on the radio answered my question. I was a bit startled to get a reply and quickly turned up the volume. " Author, Colin Channer will be giving a lecture at the University entitled "How to write a Rahtid Book ! " the public is invited and admission is free. ", Cliff Hughes continued speaking

on the radio. I felt like he was answering my question and the word "free" had proved it. So there I was at the Neville Hall lecture theatre a few days later, waiting (but not in vain) for what would be a lifechanging experience. As I waited, I scanned the crowd slowly filling the room. The word "free" always ensures a diverse and interesting mixture of people. Tonight was no different. There was the white man with dreadlocks, assorted students, several other dreads, many bald heads. Weaves and an artificial blond in the front row also a real blond with tattoos. Pseudointellectuals and even intellectuals were in the crowd. Some people held copies of Mr. Channer's bestseller, “Waiting in Vain ", others with clutched notebooks. Some people looked as serious as judges while others were literally laughing-out loud. I wondered if I was in the right place. That's when she came in, a vision of loveliness. A lady, a gorgeous lady and she sat just two rows in front of me. Now I knew I was in the right place. She looked familiar somehow and I tried to remember her name and where I'd seen her before. Karlene, I think that's her name. I couldn't help thinking that she'd look fantastic on my arm. That's when Colin Channer walked in. He could easily have passed for a student himself, with his casual

outfit and hair skillfully done by the "Mi-jus-wake" salon. He flashed a brilliant smile as he was introduced, waited for the applause to die down and then began telling us how to write a rahtid book. In a dazzling display of the style, which had made his first novel a runaway success, he was entertaining and informative, as he covered all aspects of writing. From dealing with agents and writing book proposals, to actual plotting and even character development. Speaking with the ease of a true master he peppered his delivery with humor and "jamaicanisms" in a way that was truly "boombastical". It is said that from learning to master one thing we could master one thousand things. Colin Channer seems to agree as he showed that even his very life could be plotted out like a novel. He illustrated how to create a gripping plot by using many events in his own life. Thus the keen listeners (and those who read between the lines) were being taught not just how to write but also how to live. As a former student of Ardenne High, I knew that Colin Channer had also been exposed to Ms. Robinson's excellent English classes but it takes many strands to weave the web of success. I knew there was more to his story. Some of these secret strands were revealed when Colin Channer emphasized

his "typical Jamaican mother" and the conversation with God that changed his life. When I realized that the woman I had been admiring in the audience was actually Colin Channer's date for the evening, I knew I had to become a rahtid writer too! The story has just begun. Written by Mark J. B. Bowen. Thursday, 16 November 2000

Interested in joining a book club that meets quarterly? Call (847) 663-1598. Our spring book selection is:

Italy’s War Crimes in Ethiopia by Imaini Kali-Nyah To purchase the book, call 312 326 1238

African TV Chicago highlights Caribbean and African events. It is on every Saturday at 10:30 pm on Channel 23

It’s Kwanzaa time! Kwanzaa 2001 Malcolm X College Chicago IL December 27, 2001

West Indies Dance company featuring Fred Baker as artistic director

The Jamaican presence was found at Chicago’s world music festival. Despite the numerous cancellations of artists from around the world because of 9-11, the world music festival proceeded. The birthplace of reggae and ska is Jamaica, so naturally the little rock’s voice had to be heard. During the festival, Jamaica was represented in two music styles, which were dub poetry and contemporary sounds of Papument Big Band.

Mutabaruka, Cherry Natural and members of Paiumba big band made an appearance at the museum of Broadcast Communication during the festival, which ran from September 20th-30th 2001.


Brest cancer month was in October. Brest cancer is a lump that is felt in the breast or seen on a mammogram film. A woman can detect this lump during her monthly self-breast exam. It is difficult to determine if the lump is cancerous or not by just feeling it. At certain times of the month, it is normal to feel lumps in the breasts. To prevent confusion about what is cancerous or not, the American Cancer Society, has a set of guidelines. The ACS (American Cancer Society) recommends that a woman check her breasts about one week after her menstruation. It is advisable that women check her breast before or after a bath and use a mirror to guide her. She should start by raising her arms over her head and visualize her breast. Check the breast for equality, dimpling, or abnormal lumps. It is normal for one breast

to be larger than the other. She should press firmly with the pads of her fingers, move her left hand over her right breast in a circle and check all over the breast, including the armpit. After checking the right breast she should repeat the same steps with the left. Breast Cancer ranks second among causes of cancer death in Black women, which is just behind lung cancer, the number one killer. It is estimated that 5,800 deaths from breast cancer will occur among Black women in 2001, according to the ACS. The survival rate for breast cancer has increased in recent decades for Black women, but they still lagging behind White women in terms of survival rate. Here are guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer according to the ACS: • If you are age 40 and over, have a mammogram yearly. • Do a breast self-exam each month. • If you are age 20 to 30, have your breast examine by a clinical health care provider, such as your physician, at least every three years. • Do a self-breast exam each month. For more information about breast cancer, call toll free (800) ACS-2345 or

American & Jamaican Food West Indies Bakery & Restaurant

• Catering Service • Jerk Chicken • Cakes & Buns 841 E 79th 79th Chicago, IL 60619 Phone 773 651 7917

contaminated food, then the symptoms will be abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Treatment for anthrax is antibiotics. The most common types of antibiotics that prescribed are Ciprofloxacin, Doxycycline and Levofloxacin. If you or your family have any questions about anthrax, it is best to consult your Physician.

September 11, 2001 9-11 America on Alert


Recently Americans are afraid to open their mailboxes on account of fear on contracting Anthrax. It has been reported as being deadly. So, lets talk about what is it, and why should we worry about being expose to it? Anthrax is bacteria call Bacillus Anthraces that produce factors to destroy our phagocytes. The phagocytes in our bodies usually destroy infected microbes but in the case of anthrax, the body cannot fight against this organism. Anthrax produces a chemical that kills our cells natural defense. A person can become infected from skin contact, ingestion or inhalation of anthrax spores. If a person becomes expose to inhalation Anthrax the symptoms would be flu like. Patients can develop respiratory failure, which could lead to death. Anthrax exposure to open skin starts with itching, then turns to lesions and eventually becomes a black eschar. If anthrax is contracted through

Believe or not smoking does contribute to air pollution and lung cancer. For the New Year, why not consider quitting. According to the American Cancer Society, when you quit smoking, food will smell and taste better to you that will tempt you to eat more. When you snack, try munching on fruits and vegetables, sunflower or pumpkin seed or unbuttered popcorn. To monitor your calorie and fat intake, keep a list of everything you eat. Drink lots of water, fruit juices or herbal teas. Eat smaller meals more frequently. Get plenty of exercise to speed up you metabolism. Keep busy; Go to the movies (like Life & Debt), take walks or begin a new positive hobby.


SBF SEEKING TO MEET SBM BETWEEN THE AGES OF 3542. MUST HAVE A JOB AND GOALS FOR THE FUTURE. SEND INQUIRES TO Jamaican American Club is a not for profit organization that seek to improve the lives of the community and welcomes everybody. For more information, call 847 663 1598 or email us at: Kids Corner

My Ingredients for A Good Year • • • • •

By a ten-year-old boy One teaspoon on of caring One ton of attitude One handful of respect One Pinch of teamwork One cup of helping One pint of fairness

Mix it all together and you have a successful year.

Winter 2001  

Jamaican American Club Newsletter

Winter 2001  

Jamaican American Club Newsletter