Women of Jamaica Organize
to Cope with Crisis
Commission stands in solidarity with the people of Jamaica and the grassroots
women leaders of Kingston in particular, as they continue working to mitigate
the violent situation that has taken hold of Kingston.
The Huairou Commission Secretariat is in regular communication with the women
leaders of GROOTS Jamaica, who continue to work on the ground amidst the
violence. The grassroots women leaders of GROOTS Jamaica are in constant
communication with their loved ones and GROOTS Jamaica members to ensure
their well-being. In the short term, the women leaders are working in their
own communities to ensure that food packages make it directly into women's
hands. They are working to get basic necessities for women and they
give each other constant moral and emotional peer support. The groups plan to
organize healing sessions among women, a good practice they have used
for years. The healing sessions will form part of a forward-looking
anti-violence strategy to rebuild their communities as safe spaces.
The Sistren Theatre Collective, Construction Resource and Development Centre
and the Fletcher's Land Parenting Association, along with many other
community women's groups and community groups with a strong women's leadership
component, have been members of GROOTS International and working with the
member networks of the Huairou Commission for a number of years. Two
years ago, they established themselves as a national network, GROOTS Jamaica.
As a network, leaders and groups in poor rural and urban areas link together,
creating relationships of mutual support and solidarity among women who work
to strengthen their communities.
The Huairou Commission has faith that the women leaders of GROOTS Jamaica
will lead the way in rebuilding safer communities when the violence has
subsided. Sistren Theatre Collective implements the Citizen Security
and Justice Programme, a violence reduction and prevention initiative, and
the members use street theater, dance, photography, music, and other forms of
media to build peace in some of Kingston's most impoverished and violent
In the past, Fletcher's Land Parenting Association has coordinated peace
demonstrations, negotiated with the local government, and started a community
parenting program within the neighborhood. The women leaders of Jamaica will
continue this valuable work, but clearly they need local, national and
international support in their long term efforts to build safer communities
on their own terms.
The Huairou Commission continues to urge the police, the city of
Kingston,country of Jamaica and international relief, humanitarian and
peacekeepers to recognize women's vulnerability to insecurity and violence in
times of crisis, and to also support women to take a central role in
reconstructing their communities in this situation of violence. We continue
to send our thoughts and prayers to the women, men and children of Jamaica.