Activism is a courageous yet inspiring feat from a young person, especially during these times but nevertheless, a young social impact advocate turned artiste manager and producer Andre Blackwood is doing his part for the community of Fletcher’s Land.
The Wolmerian alumni in partnership with Voices for Jamaica Today Foundation executed a series of workshops focused on drug awareness, conflict resolution, and domestic violence held at Fletcher’s Land Community Centre last Friday, December 23rd.
The first workshop focused on gender-based violence which was championed by counselor Jayson Downer of the Men of God against Violence and Abuse who spoke to the group of young men and women about abuse in relationships. In a twenty-minute interactive discussion, he pointed out that there has been a significant increase in intimate partner violence citing, “Men are ninety percent of the time perpetrators of intimate partner violence.“
He advised the young men and women to not hesitate to discuss their feelings with a counselor if necessary and posed the idea of emotional regulation and intelligence, something lacking in today’s society.
The next workshop focused on restorative justice, conducted by representative Ava Williams Nunez from the Ministry of Justice who offered the same sentiment and recommended persons partake in free conflict resolution sessions provided by the Ministry of Justice in dissolving issues in relationships.
The third workshop centered around drug awareness conducted by Ruth Deen from the National Council of Drug Abuse, Addiction Alert who touched on that drugs can be in three categories: stimulants, uppers or downers, such as nicotine, alcohol, weed, and hallucinogens like molly and LSD respectively. She explained how drugs affect the body, something that most youths are unaware of, “If you see a friend struggling, tell an adult and get them some professional help. There are places that offer support. Abusing drugs is not worth the risk to the body.” she concluded.
The day’s events concluded with Apryl McIntosh, CEO of Niche Entertainment who spoke on the fundamentals of the entertainment industry. An industry the record producer and advocate Andre Blackwood feels needs more education from a business perspective.
Of the initiative which he hopes to continue into the new year, “We really want to help guide the youth of Fletcher’s land by having more community building and other programmes that will help them thrive and ultimately support the fight to end gun violence and gender-based violence in Fletcher’s Land.” shared Andre Blackwood Founder of Ioki Productions and Community Activist of The Voices For Jamaica Today Foundation.