, 17 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
When Jamaicans abroad complain to me about Tivoli Gardens, Denham Town and other areas (which they have often never been to), I have to point out the parts of Miami and Orlando that I don’t feel safe going to after dark.

Every large city has zones of danger and exclusion
Focus on the solutions for those areas rather than pretending that those areas are unique in the world. Don’t stigmatize the residents and paint all with a broad brush.

Be part of the solution or be quiet.
Being “part of the solution” can be as simple as reading about successful pilot programmers in other cities...or better yet...learning about the successful ones in Jamaica itself.

Never heard of them? It’s called Google.

They exist.
They need PR.
They need funding.
Do either
Just a tweet or share about the PMI (Peace Management Initiative) is being part of the solution.

It’s not always about writing a cheque.

Their website is lame? You can code? Volunteer to fix that then. PR not good? Volunteer to help them.

All of us can help in so many ways
That Japanese tourist who attends Weddy Weddy, spends money in the community, takes a selfie and tags the location on Instagram is doing more to promote a positive image of maligned communities than the Overseas Jamaican who bad-mouths the country but hasn’t been in 10 yrs
I love explaining to people how safe Jamaica actually is by asking them why on earth would nearly 3 million tourists stopover in a dangerous island?

Are they crazy?
But I also point out that my safety comes from my Uptown privilege.

My footballer friends from inner city communities have never had the same lack of fear or quiet nights.

I don’t sugar coat it and pretend that all is perfect.

It’s like Miami - Coral Gables to Overtown
2 things changed my thoughts about Jamaica:

1) When we were a sponsor of the RETV high school tour to promote HIV/AIDS awareness in 10 Corporate Area high schools and I went to Tivoli Gardens HS for the 1st time

2) When I worked with JN Microcredit (now Small Biz) across island
The Tivoli Kids were just as bright eyed and energetic as the Andrews girls we had seen days before but their built environment made me want to cry.

How could have develop a sense of self worth when people literally showed you what ugh of your value? (Community, not school)
With JN, I had to work from almost EVERY Post Office across Jamaica over 10 weeks to interview the top clients and present my 5-year growth plan to the board, including Hon Oliver Clarke, Earl Jarrett and USAID...at 20 years old
I was based at Molynes Rd for 2 weeks, Duke St for 2, all over Portmore (what an experience!), Linstead, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Sav-la-mar...I saw 3 different Jamaica’s at a minimum
But I was most in awe with the vendors aka higglers at Coronation Market, a place my parents carried me to growing up but not as much as Papine Market.

Regular flights to Panama, borrowing at high rates but tun han’ mek fashion as Auntie @FaeEllington would proudly say...
I saw entrepreneurs paying for their kids to go to school and university, providing for themselves despite the system clearly being against them, somehow making numbers work that baffled me.

I never forget the seamstress making school uniforms in her house with 6 sewing machines
She was providing community employment as well as providing for her family. We had to help these people.

They were so happy to talk to an “Uptown brown bwoy” and that I would get to present my thoughts directly to the “bigger heads” or that the bigger heads even cared
Until you spend weeks in their lived experience, don’t judge them, don’t make assumptions, don’t belittle them.

You literally cannot relate unless you are one, know one or become one.

Even I still keep learning to this day
#UNICEFstories – Peace Management Initiative - for those who really don’t know that @UNICEFJamaica and others ARE doing things to improve lives and they need support, not more ideas #Jamaica
Since the thread has a little visibility, I’ll share one of my favourite columns I wrote and hope that even one person is moved to action:

From Slacktivism to Activism - jamaicaobserver.com/columns/From-s…
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