Peter Gracey, a Community Advocate, has dedicated his life to helping his fellow man. He’s a community leader and grassroots organizer. He has won both institutional and widespread respect for his dedication to uplifting the ordinary families and communities. In 2019, Peter was awarded the People Profile Executive Leadership Award from the Jamaican Consul General in Miami. Born in Waterhouse, in the district of Cockburn Pen, Kingston, Jamaica, and a product of Jamaica College, Peter is the Founder of the “This is Jamaica” Organization, a Florida non-profit with its mission to empower the children of Jamaica to restore and preserve the Jamaican culture through poetry and the creative arts. Mr. Gracey also founded The Gracey Academy for Critical Thinking, VP of the People Profile organization, (recognizing ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the community), a founding member of The Jamaican Men of Florida and The Jamaica Diaspora Southern USA.
What is your connection to Jamaica?
I was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica (Waterhouse) and spent the greater part of my adulthood illuminating our island. I understand the system and culture, and I understand the pride we share for Jamaica. I am one hundred percent born and raised in Jamaica and I am proud to say that I am Jamaican.
Have you been involved in the Jamaica Diaspora Movement or Jamaican related organizations before?
Absolutely, it’s my pleasure and it has always been my pleasure to serve my island of Jamaica. Jamaica has always needed our support economically, socially and politically I try my best to assist in any ways I can.
Most recently I have created this platform, “This is Jamaica”, where students in the lower social class are able to express themselves freely, to restore and preserve our Jamaican culture through poetry and the creative arts, while providing thousands of dollars in scholarships to further their education. Additionally, I am a founding member of the Jamaican Men of Florida, an organization which targets young Jamaican men needing support and a mechanism to foster personal development. I have also been a consultant to the Jamaican Diaspora for the Southern USA.
I am a past student of Jamaica College who have always supported my Alma Mater and the efforts of Jamaican organizations in the diaspora in the state of Florida for many years.
If elected what will be your main goal in this role for your constituencies?
Based on the mandates of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council of deeper and broader engagement, and also to manifest the Vision of Jamaica 2030, I will definitely be serving on one of the board of the committees and fostering the goals of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign Trade. My primary intention is to be on the board regarding people, especially in the area of education, social welfare and well-being.
As a person being in the music industry, I can bring great strides to that department and I am prepared to foster the growth of our leading artists and struggling artists as well. Let me remind you, Jamaica’s economic future is dependent on several sectors and the entertainment industry is one of the greatest areas. Let me also remind you of Bob Marley and his role in nation building, branding Jamaica to the forefront of the world. Entertainment is one of my strong points. Additionally, I am well suited to lead the community in terms of broadening and advising the diaspora and the government of Jamaica as to matters that relates to us here in the diaspora, and to matters that enhances the viability of brand Jamaica. I am more than suited.
Many in the Jamaican community abroad don’t know much about the Jamaica Diaspora movement and its goals. What will you do to change this perception and get all Jamaicans in the Diaspora involved?
Our outgoing chair, Dr. Allan Cunningham has done a very good job in educating the persons of Jamaican heritage and decent and they appreciate the definition and value of a Jamaican diaspora, especially here in the Southeast of the United States. My role is to continue on that strength of defining who we are as a culture, a group of people and the things that make us successful. I will endeavor to move forward in terms of bringing this level of comraderie and shared common values amongst the Jamaican diaspora, and to let them understand that the fact of them being here, they are already included as a member of the diaspora. With that, we have to build structures and institution, to make sure that mechanisms are In place so we channel all our energies into a single entity that make us a powerful nation. This not about a single Usain Bolt, or a single Miss Lou, or a single Bob Marley; but collectively, we can make an indent into the world if we are unified. Bringing unity to the Jamaican diaspora, while educating the masses, so we are equipped to move forward in a positive light. That’s my focus.
Recently there have been some who have expressed concerns about the lack of funding of The Global Jamaica Diaspora Council and if the position has any power without direction from the Jamaican Government. Do you have any thoughts on this?
First and foremost, as advisors to the government of Jamaica, we don’t work for the Ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade, so we cannot tell people we work for them and they are not responsible for what we do, and neither are we responsible for what they do. What is important is that I have the necessary experience, the necessary prerequisites and qualification, because I have worked in a philanthropic role for several years, especially with the People Profile organization, forming the Gracey Academy for Critical Thinking, working with the Jamaican Men of Florida and the Jamaican Diaspora for the Southern USA. These roles are purely philanthropic and it’s from a humanistic point of view that we work and strive for the best. This is no different. If this is what it takes to push my country forward then I will gladly serve in this capacity. If there is a situation that I cannot fund several trips of engagement, then I will seek partnerships and donations from organizations and persons in the community who has the necessary resources to assist. I can identify such persons, because I have worked with them on several opportunities and it would only be beneficial to invite them again to become partners to push our mission forward to benefit our beloved island of Jamaica.
Is there a goal that you believe the global Jamaican Diaspora can rally around?
Absolutely, yes, unity. Marcus Garvey once said, “The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.”
As we assist and bring out the very best in ourselves, then there is nothing to stop us a people. An educated and unified Jamaica will be a force of the global stage as long as we work simultaneously with each other. We have the knowledge and skillset, we just need to learn and understand how to work together. My role in the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council is to bring together, regardless of background, for one common purpose, which is to empower all of us Jamaicans, both here in the diaspora and on the island, to make the changes we need so we are able to empower the younger generation of Jamaica.
Thanks for your time and all the best in the election. Do you have any closing thoughts?
Absolutely. I am in awe of the amount of qualified candidates that I see put themselves forward to serve on this council. It goes to show that we are committed as Jamaicans for the betterment of our island and the betterment of its people. I am especially happy to announce that I am one hundred percent committed, and if I am your next Global Jamaica Diaspora Council representative, I will not only live up to the expectation, but I will make sure that our country and the people of Jamaica will be proud of what we will accomplish together. So I hope that this is a turning point for all of us living here in the diaspora and for those living on the island. God bless you and God bless Jamaica. Thank you very much Xavier Murphy, your platform Jamaicans.com is a miracle and is well received. Thank you very much.