All posts by DaraMonifah

I’m DaraMonifah Cooper, a 38-year-old freelance ‘NuMedia’ Journalist and self-proclaimed “Culture-Techie” from the U.S. Virgin Islands. I have lived in the Virgin Islands much of my life, with some short term rendezvous in a few other locations: Florida, Oklahoma, Chicago, Belize, a few other places up the U.S. East coast, down our Caribbean archipelago and other spots in between where I’ve either lived or visited. I grew up in the faculty east housing of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) St. Thomas campus right across the gate from the Michael J. Kirwan Terrace Projects with my parents, Drs. Vincent and Fenella Cooper, both still professors at UVI. Being a “University brat” afforded me endless opportunities in travel with my father and ongoing networking with many of his colleagues. I attended various public and private schools on St. Thomas from Kindergarten through the 8th grade, including Michael J. Kirwan Elementary, All Saints and Addelita Cancryn Jr. High and Charlotte Amalie High and skipped 12th grade when I was 17 to start my college life in UVI’s early admission program. In 2000, with my first son D’Ajahni, I took leave from school, moved to Lawton, Oklahoma and got married in Wichita Falls, Texas. Doing self-taught freelance graphic design, photography and website design, among other things, I quickly grew bored of only working from home and home-schooling so started teaching in the Lawton Public Schools. Then, in 2002, I moved to Chicago, endured both the harsh winter and blazing summer heat within only a few months and wisely prepared to return home… I’ve been back here ever since, with a few travels here and there. Later that same year, I gave birth to my one and only daughter Majestik, opened up business again as a freelancer adding event planning, management and community organizing/advocacy to my portfolio. During these years, I started developing a love for philanthropy, extensive community service and mentorship… none of which paid the bills. I always preferred to do things for others in the community who didn’t have the money to pay me, but found comfort and pride in being able to assist with just causes including volunteering as a Family Resource Center V.I. Victim Advocate, event planner, promotions and multi-media Public Relations. I longed for a way to do the work I genuinely loved while not having to depend on charging those individuals and organizations who I preferred to assist. Then on my birthday in 2004, I saw a flyer for a graphic artist position at UVI Cooperative Extension Service office and the result of my immediately applying changed my life. I was hired shortly thereafter to work with Carlos Robles and Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr. My calling had found me a place where the staff is responsible for helping the community based on their needs in a variety of areas using flexible and nontraditional methods. The possibilities seemed unlimited. My returning home and attending school also took a new fervour as I now had more of a passion for learning and using journalism. Under the tutelage of Dr. Noel Gordon, Alex Randall and others, obtained my B.A. in Communications with specializations in Layout and Design as well as a double minor in music and art. As a student worker, my joining the family-staff at UVICES, has been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences I’ve ever been blessed with. Ince I graduated, I was then hired in the permanent position of Extension Agent in the areas of Communications, 4-H Youth Development and Agriculture & Natural Resources, a position created to allow my multiple talents to be used. Being in this position has opened my eyes to passions that I previously hadn’t really focused in on, which includes using all of my creative skill sets in addition to teaching. While teaching farmers, students, youth, elders and other community members through computer and technology classes, which I generally have the freedom to design myself, I am currently working on my Masters degree in New Media Journalism at Full Sail University. I’m also the Programming Manager at WUVI, the UVI Student Radio Station, as well as the Founding Director of my non-profit, the Sankofa Saturdays Youth Cultural Education Initiative. My Saturday program came out of my desire to immediately pass on my skill sets and mind set. I decided to voluntarily teach youth in the community all of my skills instead of me running around the territory trying to cover the PR and documentation for all of the grassroots, culture, arts and history events and activities myself (as KWANZAA365). My ongoing drive for continuing the Saturday program also arose from my need to supplement the cultural, historical and spiritual education for my children and their peers. Once I’m successfully completed my Masters program at Fullsail, I intend to assist UVICES even more in the area of PR while I continue Passing on the Torch to the Sankofa Saturdays youth at WUVI in teaching them all I know so that they can assist with raising our community’s self-pride as well as preserving the culture and traditions in the Virgin Islands and abroad.

Valiant Virgin Islands are We

Gylchris Sprauve: Valiant Virgin Isles

Renowned local musician Gylchris Sprauve received a standing ovation from students and faculty Friday for his performance of "Valiant Virgin Isles." Sprauve and other guests were part of Friday's student organized Black History and V.I. History Cultural Celebration, which took place in the Prior Jollek Hall. Sprauve said his deep love for the Virgin Islands, its history and its people inspired him to write the piece, which has been adopted as this year's Centennial song. More to come!

Posted by Antilles School on Friday, April 7, 2017

(Click here for Song lyrics)

If the world learns nothing else about the place of my birth, I need it to know of our resilience, our innate kindness and our value. Beyond the beauty of our sun, sand and seas, the treasure that is our people, always revitalizes my sense of pride to be, “bahn” here as we say in our native tongue.

Far more valuable than any material goods or even the naturally hospitable services of Virgin Islanders, is the richness of our history, culture(s) and our faith. I don’t mean the over 300 churches that stand erected in our small archipelago… the most churches on the globe within such a small sized location. I’m not even talking about the grandeur of our architectural structures, frombuildings to step streets… as we also are the one location globally with the most step streets.

Us. The people. Are the most valuable asset that exists amongst all this… and when nature’s disasters strip away everything else, it is our true spirit that shines through ever so brightly as if only washed off and waxed by earth’s most tumultuous season of destructive forces.

I’ve much to share, but I just wanted to start with a prelude. Dear friend and proud Virgin Islander Gylchris Sprauve wrote the song Valiant Virgin Isles way before the storms shook our islands to their knees, but now I hear it ever so much clearer.  A March 28th V. I. Source story shares details as quoted by Sprauve himself.


Listen and share in the strength and vulnerability of this, our theme song for what will remind our people of their greatness in this time of deep despair and great need.

Yes, send support for our islands, but do it humbly, recognizing that though we are now battered and bruised, we will soon rise again stronger, wiser and more able to shine again like the diamonds we’ve always been.

“Press-ing on through ar-duous trials,”

Valiant are, our Virgin Isles – (Click here for full Song lyrics)

Posted by DaraMonifah.com on Monday, March 20, 2017

3 VI Queens Season

Listen to the entire 2 hours below:


Stay tuned for updates right here!

#FBlive #StudentRadio #Streaming #TelevisingRevolutions #3QueensVI #3Queens3Islands3Months

Muslim Origins in the Caribbean

Muslim Origins in the Caribbean Lecture at UVI

UVI Center for the Study of Spirituality and Professionalism (CSAP) held it's Muslim Origins in the Caribbean lecture. WUVI aired it live and will re-air the recording 6am & 6pm on Saturday & Sunday 8/19/2017 & 8/20/2017. For more info about the CSAP lecture series email wendy.coram@live.uvi.edu visit:http://www.uvi.edu/announcements/articles/current/interfaith_lecture_series.aspx #Islam #USVI

Posted by WUVI AM 1090 and FM 97.3 on Friday, August 18, 2017

The UVI Center for the Study of Spirituality and Professionalism (CSAP) in collaboration with the Masjid Nur, held a lecture entitled “Muslim Origins in the Caribbean” with featured speaker Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick. WUVI‘s Student Radio Station aired it live on air/Facebook video and will re-air the recording 6am & 6pm on Saturday & Sunday 8/19/2017 & 8/20/2017. Listen at 6am on 1090 AM & 97.3 FM (FM only after 6pm daily).


Watch the live videos: Part 1 | Part 2  and Listen to the Interview


For more info about the CSAP lecture series email wendy.coram@live.uvi.edu visit:
http://www.uvi.edu/announcements/articles/current/interfaith_lecture_series.aspx #Islam #USVI


WorkCation on St. Croix

At the beach! Follow me @UVICES as I share the play for play at #AgDiscovery Camp @uvi_edu

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Saturday, August 5, 2017

Where else can you fly to an island paradise, engage in constant learning experiences around agriculture and culture, with some of the most uniquely intelligent and environmentally aware young people who just happen to be interested in changing the world?

Right here. I’m there… and getting paid to do it, while getting to do what I love most at my leisure: New media documenting, spending quality time with young people, and teaching them by doing.

At the beach! Follow me @UVICES as I share the play for play at #AgDiscovery Camp @uvi_edu

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Saturday, August 5, 2017

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We spent week one on the island of St. Croix enjoying the first part of the AgDiscovery summer program at the University of the Virgin Islands. To follow us along the way connect with us @UVICES online via FacebookInstagramTwitter and Youtube to stay updated. Facebook live videos to be added*

See how 20 students from all over the USA (with a few locals from the Virgin Islands) are getting the experience of a lifetime learning about agriculture and related fields, while rooming in the dorms for two weeks at the AgDiscovery summer program. All happening at the University of the Virgin Islands, Albert A. Sheen, St. Croix campus. 

AgDiscovery is an outreach program to help students learn about careers in animal science, veterinary medicine, agribusiness and plant pathology. To find out more information about this program click on the 2017 AgDiscovery brochure

DAY 1 | Photo Album
Meet & Greet
Along with a few local students, twenty “AgDiscoverers” from as far West as California to North as Seattle took the first afternoon/evening to get acquainted with each other and the staff.

DAY 2 | Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3 | Video 4 | Video 5 | Photo Album
OH SHEEP! 
One sheep, two sheep, from scooping out sheep poop first thing in the morning to checking through ultrasound technology to see if they’re pregnant… then collecting/checking their stool and blood samples for parasites and anemia, AgDiscovery campers spent the first day getting to know Agriculture deeper than ever before, from the inside out, literally.

DAY 3 | Video 1 | Photo Album
This Lil Piggy went to Market… as a dish.
This little piggy’s going to market… on a plate. After a trip to the Abattoir, AgDiscoverers now know the procedure that pigs endure when being slaughtered at the VI Department of Agriculture. Then after lunch (no pig today), they walked over to the Research and Extension Center to learn horticulture from Dr. Stuart Weiss and went along with him to the greenhouse to learn about sooty mold and other potential hazards to plants. They ended the day making smoothies with 4-H Ambassadors in the CES Kitchen Lab.

DAY 4 | Video 1 | Photo Album
2 ‘Ponics & an Eggfruit
Water water everywhere, putting it to use. Day 3 was about Hydro and Aquaponics systems. They helped to make and then enjoyed eggfruit smoothies with the 4-H staff in the CES Kitchen Lab.

DAY 5 | Video 1 | Video 2 | Photo Album
Planting Sugar Cane, Sejah Farm & Cruzan Rum Factory
Measuring the field area, Laying out the tubing and Planting sugar cane was how this day started with AgDiscovery campers having hands on setting up a SWEET hydroponics system. Then they visited their first local farm with Yvette and Dale Brown giving them an experience of local plant identification, herding lamb and making fruit smoothies. They got a quick tour of the Cruzan Rum factory before heading back on campus.

DAY 6 | Video 1 | Photo Album
Ridge 2 Reef Certified Organic Farm & Salt River Bay Historic Preserve
AgDiscovery campers took a long, winding, and bumpy trip up the mountain to the only USDA Approved Organic Farm in the USVI, Ridge to Reef Fa rm and spoke with it’s Driector before heading to the SaltvRiver Bay National Park site for a hike on tribal Taino land and left with jewerly that they made during the visit.

DAY 7 | Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3 | Photo Album
Farmers Market, Whim Museum, Town & Beach
What would learning about local agriculture be like without a trip to the farmers market?
A little historical edutainment at the Whim Museum gave the campers a new appreciation for the rich history of the islands and making it to town and the beach before eating on the Boardwalk was an excellent way to wrap up a full day…week!

#AgDiscovery Campers at Whim Museum

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Saturday, August 5, 2017

Stay tuned for more  week 2 footage starting with these photos:
AgDiscovery Day 8: Early Morning Sunrise to Sunset on a Beach

AgDiscovery Day 9: Visit to the Department of Ag, Diving Cows & Party!

AgDiscovery Day 10: APHIS Info, Interviews, 4-H Health Ambassadors & AgRobotics

AgDiscovery Day 11: GLG Plants & Produce Farmer Grantley Samuel


Watch the interview below as collaborators share their reflections after opening day of the AgDiscovery 2017 Youth Camp held at the University of the Virgin Islands Albert A. Sheen St. Croix campus. Click the photo below to watch the video:
From left to right: Sarah Dahl-Smith, UVI Cooperative Extension Service 4-H Specialist; Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr., UVI Cooperative Extension Service Assistant Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources (St. Thomas-St. John District); Tammy H. Lowry, AgDiscovery Program Manager & Management/Program Analyst (Office of Civil Rights, Diversity, and Inclusion (USDA); Kai Nielsen, Camp Site Coordinator.

The AgDiscovery program was initiated as an APHIS Veterinary Services pilot program in 2002. This year, we have a total of 22 universities hosting an AgDiscovery program at college campuses nationwide.  Funding for AgDiscovery is enabled through cooperative agreements between APHIS and the host universities.

AgDiscovery is a summer camp outreach program designed to help middle through high school aged students explore careers in animal science, veterinary medicine, agribusiness, plant pathology, aquaculture, and much more. This 2-4 week program allows participants to live on a college campus, and discover agricultural science from university professors, practicing veterinarians, industry representatives, and professionals working for the U.S. government. Students who participate in AgDiscovery experience hands-on labs, workshops, field trips, and other group and team building activities. For more details click here!

eXtending Knowledge; Changing Lives, join us as we share the journey of AgDiscovery with youth in the U.S. Virgin Islands as they prepare themselves to change the world.

DaraMonifah Cooper, New Media Specialist
UVI Cooperative Extension Service, St. Thomas

#AgDiscovery #USVI  #YouthInAg #AgCommunications

Educational/Behavioral Center offers Workshops

The CW Educational and Behavioral Center Introduction & Workshops this week with DrVincentia Paul-Constantin & Ladi J Whyte (Part 2). Visit www.thececenter.com for more information.They discuss workshops happening this week (July 10, 2017) on Mental Health and Special Education. #MentalHealth #SpecialEducation #UVIalum

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Monday, July 10, 2017

I sat down to speak with the founders of the CW Educational and Behavioral Center,  DrVincentia Paul-Constantin & Ladi J Whyte. They discuss workshops happening this week in collaboration with Beautiful Dreamers. Events are on St. Thomas and St. Croix (July 10-13, 2017) focused around Mental Health and Special Education.

As a new local business, the CW Center will provide educational and behavioral services to residents of the Virgin Islands. Services include psychotherapy-counseling, special ed services, behavior modification, education/psych assessment, law enforcement sensitivity training.

 

 

WORKSHOPS ON ST. THOMAS & ST. CROIX:
MONDAY @7pm – Wynston Reymo Center (Round de Field Community Center)
TUESDAY @6pm – Seventh Day Adventist Church (Tutu) across from Curriculum Center
WEDNESDAY @5:30pm – University of the Virgin islands St. Thomas Campus in the Chase Auditorium (Business 110)
THURSDAY @5-6:30pm & 6:30 – 8pm – University of the Virgin Islands St. Croix Campus in the Great Hall

Click the play arrow to watch the interview above or to listen to it below. For more information check out their Facebook page  or website.

#MentalHealth #SpecialEducation #UVIalum

VI EMANCIPATION DAY 2017

VI Emancipation Day 2017 Program took place on Monday, July 3, 2017 between 10-5pm in the Emancipation Garden. Programs were also held on all three main islands of the USVI (St. Croix and St. John) as well as in the BVI (Tortola) today. Hear more from the VI Emancipation Day Coalition here during their pre-event radio interview with Kevon Browne on the Sankofa Saturdays program:

>>>Last year’s VI Emancipation Day 2016 article<<<

Photos from the set up for 2017:

VI Emancipation Day Program today 10-5pm in Emancipation Garden. Programs happening on all three main islands of the USVI and in the BVI today. Stay tuned for photos, videos & more. Hear more from the VI Emancipation Day Coalition here: http://www.daramonifah.com/2017/07/03/vi-emancipation-day-2017/ #VIemancipation #EmancipationDay

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Monday, July 3, 2017

Setting up at Emancipation Garden. VI Emancipation Day Program today 10-5pm in Emancipation Garden. Programs happening on all three main islands of the USVI and in the BVI today. Stay tuned for photos, videos & more. Hear more from the VI Emancipation Day Coalition here: http://www.daramonifah.com/2017/07/03/vi-emancipation-day-2017/ #VIemancipation #EmancipationDay

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Monday, July 3, 2017

Teaching AgCOM to AgCampers

If you know anything about me, you know that I love teaching and just to being around young people. The past few summers I’ve had the pleasure of being around students of the Agriculture Enrichment Summer Camp at the UVI Cooperative Extension Service office at the University of the Virgin Islands.

At UVICES, my job as a Communications Agent entails doing AgCommunications and in the summers I get to teach what I do while letting teenagers help me do it. This includes introducing them to communications technology that I use everyday including digital still and video cameras, mobile devices, computers, audio recorders, along with the software to edit photos, videos and audio. I show them how I use a combination of these to create media for the purpose of sharing online what we do at UVICES with the farmers and other clients we serve.
On the third day of camp, I let a couple of the students accompany me on our weekly radio program to share some of what they learned as well as to see how I use radio broadcasting to further support agriculture. Our Agriculture Enrichment Summer camp photos show you some of what else they experienced during the first week including a visit to the WUVI Student Radio Station.
Whether it ends up on Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter or a website, the basic point of what AgCommunications does is learned by them seeing first hand and doing with me all that helps to get information out to the public in support of agriculture and the related fields. As they learn by doing, I hope to spark an interest and appreciation in those who may have never been exposed to new media technology, which can really be used for anything… in addition to our focus, supporting agriculture.

Week #1 Radio Program | Camp Facebook Photo Album | Radio/Video Show Info
Live Videos & Audio: Part 1 | Part 2 | Audio Recording |

AgCamp with Disability Sensitivity Exposure @UVICES

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Me spending the time to teach students having fun learning how to use & experimenting with the Mevo by Livestream videocamera. #ExperientialLearning #AgCommunications #Agriculture #Communications

UVI Cooperative Extension Service AgCamp at WUVI's Computer Lab having fun learning how to use & experimenting with the Mevo by Livestream videocamera. #ExperientialLearning #AgCommunications #Agriculture #Communications

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Thursday, June 29, 2017

Students learning about technology from Dr. Alex Randall in the WUVI Communications Class/Computer Lab

UVI Cooperative Extension Service AgCamp meets Dr. Alexander Randall V & learns about Google Glass, DIY Google Cardboard BOX 3D Virtual Reality VR Video Glasses, ViewMaster as well as other new and old technology in the University of the Virgin Islands Communications Lab at WUVI AM 1090 and FM 97.3.

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Thursday, June 29, 2017

VI Trees and Flowers Fair

Know the difference between native trees and exotic trees? Get questions answered as well as learn from local specialists at the 1st annual St. Thomas/St. John “V.I. NATIVE TREES AND FLOWERS FAIR” taking place on Saturday, June 10, 2017 in the Emancipation Garden.

USVI Urban and Community Forestry Council Chairman Mario A. Francis shared some details during a radio interview on June 7, on the What’s Going on @UVICES weekly radio show. The UVI Cooperative Extension Service office’s latest publication will be available for viewing as a preview to being on sale at a later date.

Below, view a little preview from pages in the Guide to Safer Trees publication by now Commissioner Carlos Robles of the VI Department of Agriculture.

Native trees are more durable and can withstand more diseases and insects as well as natural disasters. Traditionally, our trees are also used medicinally and there is a lot of history behind them. There will be different tree related professionals. It is a skill, a science and an art to know about and care for trees. 

The Fair’s objective is to build community awareness of the importance of protecting and replanting V.I. native trees; and the role of the urban and community forestry program. Also attend the fair to learn about a needed  tree law so that we can better manage our trees in the territory. For more information, contact Mario Francis  at 340-228-2848.

African Liberation Day USVI Activities

 

Listen/Watch and Learn abt African Liberation Day with the Pan African Support Group here on WUVI AM 1090 and FM 97.3 See the permanent webpage for this video and more info on http://www.daramonifah.com/2017/05/06/african-liberation-day-usvi-activities/

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Saturday, May 6, 2017

African Liberation Day (ALD) was founded in 1958 when Kwame Nkrumah convened the First Conference of Independent States held in Accra, Ghana and attended by eight independent African states. The 15th of April was declared “Africa Freedom Day,” to mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation. For more details visit www.africanliberationday.net.

Upcoming Events or Related Activities:
May 4 – Showing of Documentary on Dr. John Henry Clarke/Dialogue
May 25th – ALD Ceremony at VI Legislature
May 25th – 7-8pm on WSTA 1340 AM
May 28th – 10-6pm ALD Rally at the Emancipation Garden

July 3rd – Emancipation Day Celebration at the Emancipation Garden

The Virgin Islands Code Bill No 18-0147 #5473 exists to proclaim the 3rd week in May as VI African Heritage Week as well as the African Liberation Day celebration which is celebrated at the Legislature.

More to be added to this site. Connect with the Facebook event to stay updated also.

Radio interview audio link

Son of Irony Book Release

Hear directly from local author Michael Lashorn Charles on this radio interview from 5/6/2017 on Sankofa Saturdays 4pm on WUVI AM 1090 and FM 97.3

 

Son of Irony is an exciting re-imagined telling, about a trial which took place on April 25th, 1811. An easy read that is guaranteed to keep you on your toes. This exciting intoxicating work is filled with tones of melancholic imagery, and memorable allusions. Author Hodge, a member of His Majesty’s council of the Virgin Islands, was hanged at the gallows, for allegedly murdering his man slave named Prosper. And was also responsible for the death of two other slaves. This work of art is timeless!