The Jamaican American Cultural Association (JACA) Journal

Welcome to our first issue of the JACA Journal

 

JACA is a registered 501c (3) Not-For-Profit organization whose Mission is to:

  • Provide financial assistance to graduating High School Seniors of African American and Caribbean descent in the Charlotte, North Carolina Community  

  • Provide assistance to schools in Jamaica and the Caribbean including international Charities. (Most recently contributed to a charity in Guyana, South America.) 

  • Promote a community for people of Caribbean descent to connect on a regular basis

  • Provide a medium to expose the Charlotte community to unique Caribbean Culture

 

The JACA Committee Members all volunteer their time to these efforts. Proceeds from fund-raising events and donations go towards various educational initiatives for students.

 

Our motto is EACH ONE HELP ONE 

 

In keeping with our Motto over the past 20 years, several of JACA’s global accomplishments include the following:

  • Awarded more than $200K in scholarships to Charlotte students

  • Supplied technology equipment including laptops & tablets valuing over $80K to schools in Jamaica, West Indies

  • JACA’s goal is to provide IT support to schools in all 14 parishes in Jamaica – we have attained 75% of our goal so far

 

Last year JACA received a Video of Appreciation and Thanks from Mrs. Kali McMorris, Principal of Convent of Mercy Academy ‘Alpha’ a sponsored institution in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston after receiving technology equipment including laptops from JACA.

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COVID-19 Impact on Students

The Pandemic has wreaked havoc on college students, as not all students have had the opportunity to be successful as “Distant learners”. A number of Historically Black Colleges /Universities (HBCU) have been recognized for safe housing and educating students during this time. Latoya Owens, Ph.D., Director, UNCF Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute shares her findings on this topic. Learn more here.

JACA recognizes a former graduate (and son of JACA sponsor) of an HBCU. 

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Dr. Andrew Alexander graduated in 2015 from Johnson C. Smith University where he majored in Biology; he then went on to graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine in 2020. Dr. Alexander credits his parents who are Jamaican for his success as a result of their influence on his upbringing. He stated, “I feel that I have no reason to not be successful because my parents did so much with far fewer resources than I have now.” When asked, what advice would he give to young black males in school, especially in today’s racially charged climate? He shared, “it’s an unfair burden black men have to carry.” 

 

Dr. Alexander tries his best to keep things in perspective and focuses on what he can control. At this time it’s his education and career. Although he does worry about the injustices and unfair treatment aimed towards black men, all are still expected to show up at work/school and put their best foot forward. Dr. Alexander graduated from Medical School at the height of the Pandemic that has taken a mental toll.  However, he has been able to do well because he has a great support system, his colleagues, family, friends, and last but not least his wife. Dr. Alexander is a newlywed.  He got married on December 19, 2020. 

He married his best friend Tasia.  She has been his rock through his medical school journey and now into residency.  Dr. Alexander stated, “It’s definitely tough to balance our marriage with our respective careers, but it helps to have an awesome partner like her to do it with.”  Dr. Alexander was asked, what are your thoughts on the COVID vaccines?  His response, “Get vaccinated. I got the Pfizer vaccine as soon as it was offered to me.  The data shows that the vaccines are effective and safe.”  JACA salutes Dr. Andrew Alexander for all of his accomplishments and we wish him continued success in his residency and beyond. 

Student Highlight – Past Scholarship Recipient: Where are they now?

JACA has supported a number of graduating High School students over the years from many of our surrounding High Schools including but not limited to: Harding University High School, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, and North and West Mecklenburg High Schools. 

Donesha McGowan graduated from Harry P Harding University High School in 2018.  The pandemic made her realize that she is an “in-person learner”! Not being able to stay on campus, she had to move in with a friend

and get a job to assist with the rent.  Donesha contemplated dropping out of school because this required her to work long hours and complete her assignments online. Simultaneously, Donesha was dealing with the illness of her mom.  She shared, “after receiving the JACA scholarship my family was relieved and I was able to focus on school.” Although her mom continues to deal with health challenges, her health has shown some improvement and Donesha is back on campus and focused on her studies.   Her aspirations in her own words, “My aspiration after I graduate is to pay it forward in any way I can.  I would love to have an establishment to call my own. I’m still figuring out my path.  As long as I can help people in the process, that’s all that matters.”  JACA wishes Donesha continued success in the remainder of her college career and beyond.

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President’s Corner - A Word from Our President

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Hello JACA Family,

 

I hope everyone is doing as well as can be expected given this unprecedented season. COVID 19 has impacted all of us, some more than others. I hope you and your families are finding ways to stay safe and enjoy this time together. For those of you impacted by the virus or members of your family, we are praying for you. 

 

This is our inaugural quarterly newsletter – we hope you find it informative.  Please feel free to provide feedback or suggest topics you want to see included.  Our goal is to use this to stay in communication with you, highlight the progress of some of our JACA students, and share community events.  As you can see, JACA has continued to impact the community locally, in Jamaica, and in Guyana. 

 

Our premier event is fast approaching so please join us via Zoom on May 22, 2021, for our Annual JACA Gala.  Our featured guest is the renowned Jamaican Comedian, Oliver Samuels. Please go to our website at www.Jaca1.org for details under our event page. Thanks for being an integral part of JACA. #EachoneHelpOne

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Word Search

  1. How many parishes are there in Jamaica?

  2. Where (in what city & state) was JACA Incorporated?

  3. What is the Jamaican National Bird called?

  4. What is the name of one of the most famous Jamaican athletes?

  5. What is the Capital of Jamaica?

  6. What is the name of the mayor who declared June 2nd, JACA Day?