Interviews

10 Questions with Sharifa Grant, Social Media Specialist, for the Sunday Dinner Project

Written by Xavier Murphy

Do you remember Sunday dinners in Jamaica with your family? This week we have a conversation with Sharifa Grant, Social Media Specialist for The Sunday Dinner Project. The project aims to strengthen Caribbean families and communities across the globe through food starting with a “Sunday Dinner” where families can sit down together and reconnect. Here is our conversation with Sharifa.

Q: Tell us about the Sunday Dinner Project and the main goal?
The Sunday Dinner Project aims to strengthen Caribbean families and communities across the globe through food. We’re inviting families to join us for the 1st annual Sunday Dinner Project on September 28, 2014! Whether you’ll be sitting down to Brownstew Chicken in Jamaica, Ital Stew in L.A., Du Riz Ak Djion Djion in N.Y.C, Pollo Guisado in Dominican Republic or Cou-Cou in the U.K., we’re inviting everyone to share that moment with friends and family around the world.

Every recipe, meal and portrait will be captured and shared through social media! The Sunday Dinner Project is bringing together thousands of Caribbean people from around the globe for a simple but important moment – to sit down together to share a meal.

Caribbean people have always used food to show love, to celebrate milestones, for healing, and for building communities. Throughout the Sunday Dinner Project, we also hope family and friends will reconnect and begin having conversations about important issues such as family history and healing family hurt.

To sustain the progress made among families during the September 28th launch, for the next year families throughout the region and Diaspora will be encouraged to continue to gather for Sunday dinner once a month. Each month we will provide a printable newsletter to help encourage and guide families through interaction and discussion. In-person workshops will also be held in Jamaica, focusing on topics of family healing, ancestry and community development. As the project continues to grow, we will expand in-person workshops to regions outside of Jamaica.

This month’s theme is: The Role Ancestor’s Play In Our Lives

Q: Where are you and the other coordinators for the Sunday Dinner project based?
The main coordinators for the Sunday Dinner project are based in Johns Town, St. Thomas, Jamaica. One of our coordinators is currently based in Barbados, and another is based in New York City. Despite our various physical locations, all of our family roots are in Jamaica. We love Jamaica and the Caribbean as a whole. This love for the island and the Caribbean family is what served as the inspiration for creating a project that will strengthen our connection to each other and our Caribbean home-base, no matter where we are in the world.

Q: How did it get started? How did you get involved?
The construction of the Source Farm Foundation & Ecovillage was brought about through Ms. Atawater’s strong family unit. The Source Farm is continually working on new projects to strengthen and improve families as well as the community. So, the concept of the Sunday Dinner Project was a natural extension of the work done at the ecovillage in Jamaica.

Q: Is this just for Caribbean families?
The project begins with Caribbean families but we expect that it will grow. We also know that many Caribbean families and communities have friends who they may want to include in their circle for their Sunday dinner gatherings. So, we encourage all who are interested in the project to sign-up!

Q: How many islands will be participating this year?
We haven’t begun to track participant registration by location yet. But, through our social media sharing we’ve seen interaction from people in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Haiti, and Dominican Republic. We’ve even had some interest from a Caribbean woman living in Japan.

Q: How is technology and social media being used in the Sunday Dinner Project?
In relation to the social media aspect of the project, we view the Sunday Dinner Project as an open forum. Using the hashtag #sundaydinner2014, we encourage everyone to send us photos of themselves sharing time with their family and friends, recipes, or even links to ol’ time games that many of us have forgotten about long ago. We’re using social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to connect and showcase the best of Caribbean families and food. Simply put, we’re using social media as a platform for sharing because that is what is at the heart of the project — sharing time with loved ones, and using what we’ve shared to make our families stronger.

Q: Is this a once a year event?
The Sunday Dinner Project will officially launch on Sunday, September 28th. But, over the next 12-months we will continue to provide families with discussion questions, games, recipes and more, in hope that they will continue to hold Sunday dinner once a month. We will provide all of this information via our downloadable newsletter, which is why we encourage individuals to sign-up on our website.

Q: What other projects and events are you working on?
Right now, the Sunday Dinner Project is our main focus.

Q: What are the most popular Caribbean dishes shared via your social media sites?
The most popular shares and re-posts on our social media sites consist of fresh fruits such as mango and star apple, ackee & saltfish or anything curry!

Q: Thanks for the time. Where can we learn more about the Sunday Dinner Project?
Thank you! Visit us at www.sundaydinnerproject.org to sign-up and learn more!

Learn more about the Sunday Dinner Project at the links below:
Website: www.sundaydinnerproject.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sundaydinnerproject
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sundaydinnerprj
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sundaydinnerproject
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sundaydinnerprj/

About the author

Xavier Murphy