This week we have a conversation with Eva Greene-Wilson Co-organizer, Anancy Festival 2012 Washington DC. The Anancy festival is June 9th, 2012. Here is our conversation with Eva.
What Caribbean Country are you from?
My parents are from Trinidad and Tobago. Most of my family is still there. A very small number of us live here in the US, and we try to stay close.
Tell us about Anancy Fest 2012 Washington, DC?
I am a Caribbean American parenting blogger, and I approached Dr. Claire Nelson several months ago about doing a children’s event with the Institute for Caribbean Studies. When the opportunity arose, she contacted me, and I was happy to get involved.
What is the main goal of the festival?
The goal of the festival is to introduce children to the wonderful Anansi stories. Many children have heard of Anansi with various spellings and stories. Even comic book characters have been based on Anansi! We would like to make the connection to the Caribbean for the children and parents who attend.
What can we expect this year?
This is our first year, and our event is taking place in the morning, so we have a parent’s corner with coffee and light morning foods, face painting for the kids, storytelling, crafts, and giveaways. Our event is more of an extended story time at the library.
Tell us about this years line-up?
This year, we are fortunate enough have Dr. Claire Nelson herself telling stories at the event as well as well know Jamaican author Joelle Cohen Wright performing a sketch she is tailoring just for our audience of Caribbean, Caribbean American, and American families.
What does Anancy mean to you?
I grew up in a home that I knew was different. We ate different foods, had different sayings, and our own stories. I work very hard to keep my children and my readers connected to Caribbean culture, and I believe that the Anancy stories and this festival are an important and enjoyable way to connect our children to their heritage.
What does Caribbean American Heritage month mean to you?
Many of the achievements of black America can be attributed to a person of Caribbean heritage, and this is a fact that is often overlooked. Influential writers and thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance, proponents the Civil Rights movement, and many of todays artists and entertainers have a Caribbean background. Caribbean American parents and children need to know how powerful their heritage is, not just as a person of African, Indian, Chinese, or other ethnicity, but as a descendant of Caribbean people. For America, I feel that it is important for non-Caribbean people to know that the Caribbean is more than just a vacation destination that produces beautiful music and beautiful people. It is a small place that produces beautiful minds as well.
Do you think there is enough being done to pass in Caribbean and African history to the next generation?
I think that as with any culture in America, the pressure to assimilate is there. Kids and teens, just by their nature, often do not want to stand out from the crowd as different, especially if they are new to the country. I have tried to instill in my own children that their Caribbean heritage is more than grandma and grandpa’s accents, more than great music, parties, and good food, but it is a work ethic, focus on education, and will to succeed that I feel is stronger in people of Caribbean descent in America than in many other immigrant groups.
The festival this year is in four cities and growing. Where do you see the festival 5 years from now?
I would hope to see it spread to New York, and other areas in the US and Canada that have large Caribbean populations.
What other projects and events are you working on?
I am a homeschooling mom of 3, working outside of the home, so I don’t have too many projects outside of educating my kids, my job, and my blog. I do online events for my blog, Socamom.com, including radio shows and twitter parties. I just completed one for the Universal Music, the Marley line of coffee and House of Marley.
When you are not busy with work and projects what do you do to relax?
I am pretty much always busy, but when I do get a chance to relax, I enjoy spending time with my family, experimenting with recipes with my husband, and dancing with the kids. We are a dancing family!
My favorite Caribbean author is…
Claude McKay. I find his story fascinating, and although I don’t agree with all of his beliefs, his poems are beautifully written.
My comfort food is….
my cousin’s roti!
If I wanted to impress someone visiting my city….
I would take them to the new Martin Luther King Memorial. It is really impressive.
Thanks for the time. Where can we learn more about the Anancy festival?
You can check out my blog at Socamom.com or icsdc.org for more information on the event in our city. Go to AnancyFestival.com, http://facebook.com/anancyfestival and Jamaicans.com for information on our city and others.