August 11, 2015
By: Shauna-Kay Cassell
Following my heart, turned out to be a good decision after all. From the moment I said good-bye to one season, the sooner I am beginning to see new opportunities arising with each new day. This last couple of weeks, I have been able to attend events, meet amazing people, spend more time with friends, and explore a deeper Jamaican history.
Just a few days ago on August 6, 2015, I celebrated Independence Day at the annual gala held at the National Stadium. I stared in awe at the numerous performances; including shows about Jamaicans fighting for freedom, and listened to music that aroused my sensibilities and triggered thoughts of my childhood days. I stared at the proud Jamaicans intent on creating a united wave across the stadium. A simple seemingly impossible act was made possible because we were united, I thought, as I watched in astonishment at the hands rising and falling all around the stadium. I imagined it would never end. The lesson of unity gnawed at my heart the rest of the night, leaving me to ponder: What are the other impossibilities that we could accomplish when we work together? Could we use music to break down the different classes and political divisions here?
Suddenly the lights went out, leaving us in darkness while lulling to music such as “Cherry Oh Baby” and “The Land of my Birth”, old songs by Eric Donaldson. I felt sure and proud to be Jamaican that night. A light switch had been turned on, and I realized that this was where it all begun. The spectacular fireworks brightened the stadium with myriads of designs plastered across the night sky, filling the stadium with wide open eyes staring in amazement. The fireworks shed light within my own heart, causing me to reflect on such things; my first dreams were made on this land, my first words, first steps, and first lessons all took place here. And although at this moment I do not know where I will end up, I am sure that all my future steps will leave a traceable trail back to this island.
The following day, I woke up feeling sure that I had made the right decision- to extend my stay. I was introduced to new colleagues, Dervan Malcolm and Leo Gilling- on Power106FM, who reassured me that there is a new option; to embrace my Jamaican roots, while accepting that I am also Canadian- as an official member of the Jamaican Diaspora. So when it came time to leave the radio set, I was renewed and felt hopeful that Jamaica will always accept me no matter where I am, and will create room for me should I choose to call it home.
Weeks before, I was going through the pain of walking away from this country that I have come to love over the last year; but now with my new awareness, I am realizing that I will never be separated again. I am empowered to walk the Hall of Fame as a proud Jamaican. The energy and smiles from the people I met over the last couple weeks imprinted something new on my heart- we are all proud, strong and a powerful people. I am charged to be optimistic about a brighter, more united future for my Jamaica, the land I love.