5 Questions with Rukie Wilson, Candidate for Global Jamaica Diaspora Council Northeast USA

Rukie Wilson - Global Jamaica Diaspora Northeast USA

Rukie Wilson is a Juvenile Justice Practitioner based in Washington, DC. She is a proud Howard University alumna with two bachelor’s degrees, one in Political Science and the other in Administration of Justice. She holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of the District of Columbia. Rukie was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Linstead, St. Catherine, Kingston, and Harlem, New York City to a mother who was a dance teacher, and a father who was a Jamaica Telephone Company technician. Rukie has worked in the helping field for over 15 years, from working in HIV prevention to working with homeless women, to currently in public safety with young people after they have been sentenced. She is active in the Jamaican Diaspora. For the Jamaica Diaspora Northeast, she is a Co-Chair of the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) Think Tank and a member of the Citizen Security Sector. Rukie is a Board Member of The Joseph and Vera Douglas Family Foundation (JVDFF) where she helps lead the Women Entrepreneurship and Women’s Self-Defense S.A.F.E (Safety Alternatives for Female Empowerment) Programs. She is a member of the Advocates Network that advocates for good governance in Jamaica. Rukie is a lifetime member and former Treasurer of The Jamaican Nationals Association of The Washington, D.C Metropolitan Area (JNA).

What is your connection to Jamaica? Have you been involved in the Jamaica Diaspora Movement or Jamaican related organizations before?

I was born in Jamaica, and is passionate about my country of birth as many of us are. I’m active in the Jamaican Diaspora Movement. I was a former treasure for my local Jamaican Nationals Association, chaired the Citizen Security and Safety Taskforce for the Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network, currently a co-chair of the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) Think Tank for the Jamaica Diaspora Northeast Think Tank, and a Citizen Security Sector member.

If elected what will be your main goal in this role for your constituencies?

Focus on Jamaicans living in the diaspora and Jamaica. Remember I said we are passionate about Jamaica, it shows in how we give back to our beloved country no matter how long we have been living outside of Jamaica. A main goal will be strategic philanthropy- being more strategic in how we give back to Jamaica using a data driven systematic approach. That is a systematic data driven mechanism that quantitatively and qualitatively tells the story of how we contribute to Jamaica. Concurrently, focusing on continuing and strengthening our partnerships in the NE that help meet the Jamaican diaspora need for economic development that creates pathways for employment for our Jamaicans living in the diaspora.

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?

First I will start with Jamaicans in the northeast. We have to really be more intentional and strategic about informing our people about what is the diaspora, and most importantly that they are the diaspora. It is made up of all of us Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica. It is not the Jamaican Government, a nonprofit organization by itself, or a stush people social club. It is made up of regular Jamaicans like you and I who live outside of Jamaica. I will continue the current structure that our Northeast Global Jamaica Diaspora Council Representative has established with think tanks in each of the 14 states in the northeast including the District of Columbia, from West Virginia to Maine. We have to go where Jamaicans are, inform and welcome them to be apart of the movement. That means reaching folks through the different diaspora organizations, churches, and businesses in the Northeast that serves our people.

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?

The Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC) Representative being a strictly volunteer position is fine with me. I think the power in the positions lies in the connection to the people in the states the Representative covers. It’s an advisory position to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, who advices the ministry on diaspora related issues. The flow of information to and from the Jamaican Government and the diaspora is important. There are opportunities here to help create and strengthen structures to help the diaspora give back to Jamaica. I know what I have seen in the Northeast that works and it is my aim to continue moving us forward.

Is there a goal that you believe the global Jamaican Diaspora can rally around?

Yes, I believe the global Jamaican Diaspora can rally around a systematic data driven mechanism of how the diaspora give back to Jamaica, and improving economic development for Jamaicans in the diaspora. We are passionate about our country and giving back to it in various ways, we just need to be able to use data to track how we do this holistically. We need jobs to be able to support ourselves here and give back to Jamaica, so continuing and strengthening partnerships with organizations that help provide pathways to employment and improve economic development for our people is key.

Thanks for your time and all the best in the election. Do you have any closing thoughts?

Thank you Jamaicans.com for this opportunity. I truly appreciate the work you are doing and providing us all with this platform. All Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica is apart of the Jamaican Diaspora. Whether you were born in Jamaica or one or both of your parents are Jamaicans, you are apart of the Jamaican Diaspora. I encourage all Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica to get involved in the Global Jamaican Diaspora Council Elections.

The United States Northeast, if for those who live in any of these 14 states including DC- Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, and West Virginia. Thank you!

About the author

Xavier Murphy