Celebrating Jamaican Culture – A Student’s Perspective
Editor’s note: On Thursday, Feb. 28, English Professor Randy Laist brought his English class to the College’s celebration of Jamaican Independence, the last event during Goodwin’s month-long observation of Black History Month. Dr. Laist challenged his students to write about the experience. The following entry was chosen for the E-News Blog. The writer, Tyesha Page, is a student at the Connecticut River Academy and takes Dr. Laist’s English 300 course at Goodwin.
By Tyesha Page
Food, fun, and fellowship were on display in the Goodwin College Community Room. Thursday February 28th marked the College’s celebration of Jamaican Independence. The event was developed with the idea of exposing others to a new culture. According to Nicole Miller, the assistant creator of the event, the occasion gives the opportunity to “learn about someone else’s history because you have to understand where people who don’t look like you come from.”
The Community Room was filled with every aspect of Jamaica. From the green, yellow, and black balloons on the tables, to the aroma of the appetizing food in the air, to the island music humming in the background, one could fully feel and embrace the Jamaican culture.
The freshness of the celebration ushered in many curious students walking by the event on Thursday. They came in for the food and fun, but stayed for the opportunity to learn something new about a culture they knew nothing about. One student, Raelene Saglio, felt the event was “cool because I’ve never been exposed to the Jamaican culture, so it’s cool that they are doing this.” From the scene in the Community Room, it looked as if people were really enjoying themselves and learning a lot about the Jamaican culture from the chatter echoing from their tables.
Pepper’s Jamaican Bakery and Jerk Restaurant and the Sunsplash Bar and Grill catered the event, providing the authenticity of delicious Jamaican cuisine. Food is very important in the Jamaican culture and having the jerk chicken, beef patties, curry chicken, and many more dishes allowed for participants to get a taste of Jamaica. Dr. Laist, a professor at Goodwin, believed it was a “great opportunity to have tasty food, listen to good music, and learn about Jamaican food. Though I wish the jerk chicken was spicier.”
The DJ at the Jamaican Independence Day Celebration brought back memories to fellow Jamaicans with the old school music and created yet another learning opportunity for event attenders. He kicked off the celebration with the 1966 version of the Jamaican national anthem, ended with Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” and played traditional island music like “Bam Bam” by Chaka Deemus throughout the celebration. The music gave people an ear to Jamaica.
According to Nicole Miller, “Everybody has felt like an other.” The event gave people the chance to learn about their history and about the history of people other than themselves.