Our global community transformed drastically in March 2020- life and our community outreach projects will not be the same...again. Progress and positive growth even in uncertain times of the COVID19 pandemic in March 2020 continue to expand community narratives and outreach programs of the Heritage Education Arts Legacy (HEAL) VICCC Recovery Project [HEAL VICCC RP]. #Healing #Recovery #Repair #Resilience remains integrated with the Caribbean Cultural Studies education programs linked to strengthening outcomes for sustainability methods for disaster preparedness, recovery, and mitigation techniques as the hurricane season closed during this reporting period. Focus on intergenerational HEALing to assist youth, families, and visitors to AyAy St. Croix in creative and innovative ways despite slow post-IrMaria improvements in the general community. Cultural Heritage Education events, seasonal exhibitions, and sustainable interactive programs in November during VI Indigenous Native Amerindian Heritage Month were featured. Partnerships with community-based social development, education, safety management, and cultural heritage preservation management organizations were featured. Partnerships were strengthened with inclusivity of our UVI students and our wider VI community with 1) The strategic resource management and inclusive support services of the VI Developmental Disabilities Council; 2) The indigenous heritage preservation and educational work of O’pia Taino International; 3) The educational reinforcement materials for disaster management and mitigation resources with regional universities; and 4) The PSAs and media blitzes on WUVI Radio and select programming on other St. Croix-based media networks providing HEAL VICCC RP messaging for the wider community.
What will you need to prepare for the next hurricane or earthquake in St. Croix? This is one of several questions that the HEAL VICCC RP team shared during continued focus groups, visual arts exhibitions, hurricane recovery discussion sessions, blended with educational entertainment, and community Bamboula (creative cultural conversations) on a monthly basis to intergenerational participants. Creative science, technology, and arts programming encouraging increased awareness in disaster recovery and preparedness continued to be integrated with the culture, history and educational heritage VI-based cultural heritage legacy narratives that extended from previous reporting periods that included: October 1- Contract/Fireburn Day; October 12- Indigenous Peoples Day; November 1- VI Liberty Day; November 14- Cape Of Arrows/Salt River Bay Remembrance; December/January- St. Croix Annual Festival; February 26- Afrakan Black History Month-Social Justice to Heal; March 16- Queen Mary Ascension Day; March- VI History/Women’s Month; and multiple seasonal AyAy St. Croix based cultural heritage awareness activities with the public, parochial and private K-12 schools during this reporting period. Sessions on benefits and usefulness of solar energy and resources integrated into activities. HEAL VICCC RP continued to use cultural heritage narratives and visual arts presentations that supported cultural tradition stewards/trailblazers and heritage events linked to strategies of empowerment and awareness for our participants and the wider community to embrace our mantra of #HealRecoverRepair with practical application.
Disaster preparation and safety sessions in VICCC and related spaces continued. Confidential recovery and trauma counseling referrals continued with UVI and community organizations with expertise in those areas. 75%+ of our event participants expressed they continued to suffer from post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders caused by their experiences during Hurricanes IrMaria of 2017. Sustainable and comprehensive disaster preparedness and recovery kits for families developed for the opening of hurricane season in June 2020 along with continued Bamboula gatherings and town hall meetings. Holistic services, therapy, and resource support referrals were still requested with priorities surrounding resources for emergency utilities, mental health care, and disaster preparedness even after two-plus years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Life realities changed the global community in March 2020 that demanded the project and delivery methods be reorganized to ensure the safety and security for all involved. The COVID19 pandemic of 2020 inclusive of #StayAtHome directives, transitioning to physical distancing and virtual engagements for all project activities, and global protests for justice against police brutality in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and other revolutionary movements, impacted implementation of culminating programs and activities for the HEAL VICCC RP that still continue to #RemainInspired in the quest to navigate and thrive.
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