Thursday 13 December, 2018

Celebrated teen author and activist to rap with youngsters in Kingston

Marley Dias

Marley Dias

American teen author and youth activist for females, Marley Dias, will interact with 60 students from four schools within the corridors of Spanish Town Road today at a function hosted by the J. Wray and Nephew Foundation (JWNF) at Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Dias is the Founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks and author of “Marley Gets It Done: and So Can You”.

The JWNF is covering the 13-year-old’s participation in the week-long Kingston Book Festival (KBF), for which they are the main sponsors.

“This occasion is special. We have an opportunity to have the girls interact with one of their own. The JWN Foundation has arranged for Dias and 60 students from Balmagie Primary, Seaview Gardens Primary, Seaward Primary and Junior High and St. Patrick’s Primary, to sit together and share,” noted Clement ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, chairman, JWN and JWNF.

He noted that the association with KBF created the ‘ripe’ climate in the Foundation’s continued thrust of ‘transforming lives and communities for a better Jamaica’.

“The occasion will see each school sending a delegation of 15 students and will change the outlook of the participants. One cannot reflect on Marley’s work and worth without resorting to biblical phrases ‘out of the mouths of babes’ and ‘a child shall lead them’,” expressed Lawrence.

Kingston Book Festival 2018 coincides with International Women’s Day and Girl’s Day (Thursday, March 8) and Lawrence, attesting to its value, quoted Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget’s saying that ‘the goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge, but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover’.

“We believe education therefore is the key to empowerment and development. Thus when we were approached to join this initiative - we said ‘yes’ as there was an alignment with our key focus areas of education, social inclusion and culture.”

Latoya West-Blackwood, chairman, Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ), lauded the JWNF.

She said: “The Kingston Book Festival planning committee is pleased to welcome the JWN Foundation as a partner. Our shared values as it relates to the empowerment of Jamaica's children and youth and the transformation of communities through education makes this a very powerful partnership, which we hope to deepen and strengthen in the years to come.”

The JWNF is committed to exposing young girls to women of worth. Last year it conceptualised and executed an Empowerment Tour with Alicia Ashley, Jamaica’s female world championship boxer; and through ongoing activities the Foundation has also showcased other talented female leaders in the country.

“As a father of two daughters, whom are talented and accomplished, I feel a sense of pride whenever I see a young girl changing her world and reframing the dialogue on the possibilities that are available to women,” Lawrence analysed.

“At work, I also collaborate with a team that is all female. They are as passionate, as focused and as driven as the most successful teams that I have been fortunate enough to lead,” he added. “But should there be any question let me inform you that I am on team Girl and all about girl power – and so to borrow a popular slogan and apply it to this week’s activity, ‘I am with her’.

West-Blackwood noted: “Reading is a truly transformational habit that we know plants seeds of productive and positive thoughts in the minds of our children.

“The KBF planning committee applauds the JWN Foundation in its move to provide girls from their network of schools with over 60 copies of 2018 KBF headliner, 13-year-old literary activist, Marley Dias.”

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