It is all about #HEALRecoverPrepare! Planning and creative engagement within our Virgin Islands (VI US) community continues to intensify as we navigate beyond our Post IrMaria Hurricane recovery journey. Our team’s primary focus and thrust of the Heritage Education Arts Legacy (HEAL) VICCC Recovery Project [HEAL VICCC RP] includes integrating transcultural Caribbean Cultural Studies education programs as seasonal themes for teaching sustainable methods for disaster recovery and mitigation techniques. The intergenerational HEALing continues to focus upon helping our youth, our families and our visitors to our tranquil shores to respectfully share and care for one another on this road of healing, resilience, recovery and preparation. The annual summer solstice in June complements the community-wide anxiety of the annual start of hurricane season in the Virgin Islands Caribbean. #HEALRecoverPrepare is the mantra! The HEAL VICCC RP team has hosted focus groups, visual arts exhibitions, edutainment events (educational entertainment) and community Bamboula (creative cultural conversations). Several VI US historical ancestral icons have been commemorated in this quarter’s programming starting in April with Hubert Harrison, MaryAnn Golden Christopher and Delta Dorsch; In May with Gene K. Emanuel, Leona Brady Watson and Eulalie Rivera; and in June with Barbara Christian, Yosef ben Jochannan (Alfredo Johannes) and Janice Pemberton Tutein. Cultural heritage narratives and visual arts presentations on each of these cultural tradition stewards and trailblazers have been linked to strategies of empowerment and awareness for our participants and wider community to embrace our mantra of #HEALRecoverPrepare
Group and individual counseling support resources have been made available for attendees that have experienced any post IrMaria trauma by certified counselors. An average of 75% of our event participants have expressed they experienced some spectrum of trauma during the two category five hurricanes impacting the Virgin Islands in September 2017 that continue to impact their daily lives in 2019. These community-centered gatherings have contributed to the creation of design and implementation plans for media outreach on WUVI Radio http://wuvi.uvi.edu , WSTX Radio http://wstxradio.com and other social media networks highlighting ways to increase our Virgin Islands community’s awareness of post-disaster counseling opportunities and preparedness strategies to reduce anxiety and stress. #HEALRecoverPrepare
April 2019 provided a time for our team to plan and strengthen our implementation design framework for achieving the goals and objectives of this project. Our team hosted symposia on “Culture, Creatives and S.T.E.A.M.” at the University of the Virgin Islands campuses on St. Croix and St. Thomas with highlights on the use of VI-seasonal commemorations and heritage with support from our community partners and alliances: Music In Motion School of Higher Dance Education, MACISLYN Bamboula Dance Company, Inner Changes for Girls and Boys Academy, Sankofa Saturdays Youth Enrichment Program, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development, Per Ankh Khamniversity and other trailblazers within the Caribbean and Americas. May 2019 featured programs to #CommemorateLiberateOrganizeMemorialize annual VI African Heritage Week celebrations inclusive of official community-wide cultural heritage events with highlights of an exceptionally exquisite visual arts exhibition by Emmanuel Phillips of EFex Photography curated by Opi’a Taino International. 200+ attendees shared in this cultural creative industry and educational opportunity for counseling and sustainable disaster recovery resources to distribute hurricane and related disaster recovery and preparedness resources to our community while having an enjoyable experience. June 2019 activities complemented National Caribbean American Heritage Month and VI Freedom Week with intergenerational gatherings integrating innovative and simplistic disaster mitigation strategies. Techniques for strengthening and creating communication trees to increase safety and security before, during and after disasters impact our community were highlights of each of our programs and events. The HEAL VICCC RP team included disaster recovery and preparedness information with links to VI community agencies with resources gathered for sustainable and compassionate care pouches for participants to #HEALRecoverPrepare!
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