Honouring people while they are alive is an admirable thing to do. With this in mind, excitement, joy and positive vibes filled the ‘Talk of the Town Conference Room at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, last Friday. The event was a forum hosted by the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA) in recognition of International Men’s Day (IMD). The BGA and its partners, ‘rolled out’ the red carpet and treated the men as kings they are. For this reason, before the end of the forum, the event was a trending topic on social media, and the men were in high spirits.
This year’s local theme: “Outstanding Men: Leading by Example”, aligns with two of the core pillars of IMD:
- Promoting positive male role models and
- Celebrating the positive contribution of men to the society
Shouts and chants of “Man deh yah” filled the room. In the mean time, the guests were treated to fine dining and live entertainment by the talented singer Nickeisha Barnes and saxophonist Fred Roberston. Though socially distant and protected by masks, the happiness in the room was evident. Attendees danced, laughed and smiled through their eyes. The speakers also helped to lift their spirits, accordingly, by giving positive remarks and encouraging messages.
International Men’s Day (IMD)
IMD was founded in 1999 by Dr Jerome Teelucksing and has since been annually observed on November 19th. As a result, the interest in this special day increases each year, as more people seek to highlight the positive role of men in society, to their families and communities. The Government of Jamaica (GoJ) has made commendable strides in eliminating gender equality in our society. As such, the GoJ has created and implemented the National Policy for Gender Equality. This now allows a more inclusive and equal amount of support to both genders. It is no doubt that this year’s celebration will be permanently engraved on the heart’s of the attendees. This is what Saxophonist Fred Roberts had to say about the event:
The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport (MCGES), delivered the keynote address. The Minister commended the men for their positive contribution to society. She applauded them for their outstanding role in their families, child care, communities, the environment, and other domains. Minister Grange encouraged the men to continue trodding the path they were on and to be a shining light to our nation’s young men.
The event also featured a panel discussion which saw the awardees and the Honourable Alando Terrelonge sharing their opinion on important male topics. The questions ranged from parenthood, career, obstacles to mentorship and healthy living. The audience empathized with this vulnerable moment, appreciative of the men’s transparency.
Outstanding Men – 2021
Emelio Madden, CEO of Chicken &Tings
Mr Madden was recognised for his outstanding contribution and leading by example in business. Not only is he a mentor to young men in his circle, but he also uses his social media platform to share business tips and advice with his followers. Despite being grateful, Mr Madden still thinks the nation’s men need more highlights:
Lascelles Wray Hamilton
Mr Hamilton has been working with young men for over 20 years. He is passionate about seeing young men grow and thrive to be their best selves. We had the opportunity to have a quick word with him before the event:
Dawitt Jeffrey, JP, Youth Mentor:
Youth empowerment is the theme of Mr Jeffrey’s life. Every day, he seeks to create innovative and personal ways to impact the boys in his community. Listen to the audio clip to hear his contributions to society:
Donavan Lofters, Manning Cup Coach
Mr Lofters is the head coach of the Manning Cup Football Team at the Camperdown High School. He is not the ordinary coach, he is one who pours everything into his boys. His job description can change from a father, mentor, counsellor, nurse and anything that the students need him to be in the moment.
We should make every effort to celebrate our men because being a man is no easy feat. Just like the attendees, I hope for more impact on the men of our nation. Special commendations to the BGA for hosting this annual forum and for tirelessly working to develop and implement policies that are beneficial to our men.