3 Jamaican Women of Substance: Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Dr. Mercedes Richards and Sarah Newland Martin

3 Jamaicans Amongst 397 To Be Honored with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire MBE - Rose Hudson-Wilkin


Sarah Newland-Martin

Sarah was born with legs that could not work. She had poliomyelitis, so she had to be fitted with special legs and did not walk until she was seven years old.

But that did not stop her. When experts told her she could not swim, she said, “Yes, I can!”  And she did. She not only became the first  physically-challenged woman to win the Cross the Harbour Race from Kingston to Port Royal, but she made a new world record followed by  many national and international medals.

Sarah has dedicated her life to helping others, through her work with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Jamaica.

Sarah has taught us that we can overcome challenges, break down barriers, climb the highest mountain, fulfil our dreams.

AUDACIOUS: To be bold, brave, courageous.


Jamaican-Born Reverend Offers Prayers at Royal Wedding Rose Hudson-Wilkin

The Montego Bay native, who went to England at age 18, is now one of the most prominent  black priests in the Church of England.

At one time this petite pastor found herself in the middle of a controversy when she became the Queen’s Chaplin of the House of Parliament, another first for a black woman, and even more so, a Jamaican. And there were more firsts in store. In 2019 it was a trinity – when she was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury – the first woman, a  black woman and a Jamaican.

COMMITTED – To be  dedicated, obligated, devoted.



Dr Mercedes Richards

Why do stars shine? Little Mercedes wondered as she sat with her  father at night on the veranda of their home in Vineyard Town in Kingston. The stars were so bright and beautiful, she was determined to find out why.

At thirteen, Mercedes decided to become an astronomer.  One of her friends wrote in her high school yearbook, “Mad Marcy! Her ambition is to obtain a PhD in astronomy!’ And the little girl who loved to watch stars did just that. She became Professor of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Pennsylvania (Penn) State University (USA), lectured on college campuses across the United States, Canada, Mexico and did research with other astronomers worldwide.

The star-gazer from Vineyard Town once said, “We are the forensic scientists of the sky…and I am fortunate to get [aid for doing things I enjoy”

She was awarded Jamaica’s highest academic honour – the Gold Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica – for her record of international accomplishments.

UNCONVENTIONAL: To be out of the ordinary, different, original.

About the author

Gloria Royale-Davis