Category Archives: Love

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.

l’Only a Seed

The eb and flow
Rise and fall
Of it all

Maintaining the horizon
So the clouds don’t come
Crashing down

Numbness feels safest

The rage in every tear drop
Suffering in each smile

How can I dance if my feet are rooted
In volcanic mud?

Burning to ash with each step away from soil
Sunken vessels rise again when salt dries
and fish fly from its absence

Lotus blossom if sun is allowed through
When light shelters the rain
Only the ripened fruit rots from within

So remain as a seed
Promising, yet unspoiled
Perfect in all ways fathomable
Without the need to show possibilities beyond imagination

Sometimes it’s safer to not be known
©DaraMonifah 03/21/2017 8:12 a.m.

Ode to Derek Walcott

#Haiku4UYou remember me. I was too young. Saw paintings.Uncle Derek lives.I only remember the paintings you left on…

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Saturday, March 18, 2017

Haiku For Derek Walcott:

YOU remember ME.

I was too young. Saw paintings.

Uncle Derek lives.

I only remember the paintings you left on my wall of my mother. Still they are enough to remember you were there and forever more shall be. Travel well Walcott.


Alscess Lewis-Brown, Editor of The Caribbean Writer shared the following.

The Caribbean Writer mourns the passing of its esteemed founding editorial board member, Nobel Prize Winner, Playwright, Poet and Artist, Derek Walcott, who passed away earlier this morning. Alscess Lewis-Brown, editor of The Caribbean Writer, states that Walcott’s meticulously woven metaphorical poems and plays captured the essence and spirit of Caribbean expressivity across a spectrum of Caribbean political and social consciousness. Walcott’s support and insight helped to shape and guide the Caribbean Writer’s path over the pass thirty years. For this, we are grateful. We will miss his abiding frank and witty manner.”

He was a great advocate for the Caribbean. Lewis-Brown shared that in an interview with Walcott in 2014, from his home in St. Lucia, in response to her question about his thoughts on the possible idealism in the notion of pulling the fragments of the Caribbean together Walcott had this to say:

“Everywhere has division in all countries. I don’t know what the division comes from, but of course there is a difference in things: difference in pronunciation, accent, and stuff like that. Even in little St. Croix there is a division between Christiansted and Frederiksted. Each island has different qualities assigned to it by other islands. However, I think that regionally we are coming together through the products of our creative imagination. The Caribbean Writer is a good example of that effort. So, no. I don’t think we are being idealistic when we talk about pulling the fragments of the Caribbean together. Poets are doing it.

UVI Professor and The Caribbean Writer Editorial Board Member, Dr. Vincent Cooper, fondly recalls that during the 1970s Derek Walcott either directed or provided advice on the staging of several of his plays in the Virgin Islands. Between 1973 and 1978, he directed scenes from Dream on Monkey Mountain, The Charlatan, and Franklyn, on St. Croix, and later that year on St. Thomas. In 1974 he directed Ti Jean and his Brothers on St. Croix, as well as on St. Thomas, as well as on Tortola. In April 1977, he directed Remembrance on both islands. During the Fall of 1978, he directed Pantomime on both islands.

Throughout the Fall of 1979, Walcott taught a seminar on Tirso de Molina’s The Trickster of Seville (El Burlador de Sevilla) and Walcott’s adaptation of Molina’s play, The Joker of Seville. Walcott also spent part of the summer of 1979 revising his new play, Marie Laveau, while residing at the University of the Virgin Islands (then known as CVI) campus. Tirso de Molina’s The Trickster of Seville and Derek Walcott’s adaptation, the Joker of Seville, as well as Walcott’s musical, Marie Laveau were first produced at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, in November 1979.

​ Author and Poet Edgar Lake another TCW editorial board member recalls his presence at a Walcott poetry reading in New York Public Library in a poem entitled, “Walcott Reads to Brodsky’s God Mother” published in Calabash, A JOURNAL OF CARIBBEAN ARTS AND LETTERS in Summer 2007. The following is an excerpt from Lake’s poem:

“ …He reaches for his poems, curled in a coat-pocket – and begins to read, the lady shifts her weight, and clamps her feet about her bags , Walcott caught his breath and leapfrogs to another page He’s accustomed to this silence, pigeons caught in eaves some simile, once winged, and now fretting for the rhyme Walcott, litany-voiced, free-verses about sea-grapes…”

Walcott has a long history with the University of the Virgin Islands and The Caribbean Writer. Our writers and scholars have been enriched by their drinks at his intellectual and artistic font.

University of the Virgin Islands ● RR 1, Box 10,000 ● Kingshill, St. Croix ● U.S. Virgin Islands 00850-9781  Phone: 340-692-4152 ● Fax: 340-692-4026 ● Email: Website:

‘Strong Currents’ Play at UVI

​Strong currents cleverly pulled laughter out the bellies of at least 100 attendees at The Little Theatre on the 55th birthday of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI). With a packed room, the March 16 opening night at the UVI Little Theatre, directed by Professor David Edgecombe, presented Strong Currents. The play was written in tribute to Austin Clarke, originally from Barbados, who became one of Canada’s foremost authors.

See more photos here from the opening night.

About the Play: From the Playbill

Bernice, Estelle, Dots, Boysie and Henry all moved from the Caribbean to Toronto in search of a better life. Together they weather the ‘storms of fortune,’ but when Henry aspires to be a poet, the others ridicule him. It is the strength of their friendships that will determine who swims and Aho sinks in strong currents.

Check out STRONG CURRENTS, the latest play Directed by Professor/Playwright David Edgecombe at the UVI Little Theatre | 8pm March 16-19, 24 & 25 #UVIpride #Theatre #Theater #Caribbean #Play #UVIpride

See more photos here from the opening night.


UVI/WUVI Communications students and New Media Club Members documenting the play.

In the Audience…

Benita Martin honored for Selfless Service

Award Ceremony for the Helen Gjessing Community Service Award happening now at the University of the Virgin Islands

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Thursday, February 23, 2017

Honoring this year’s recipient of the Helen Gjessing Community Service Award, Ms. Benita Martin, the community is invited to a gathering this coming Thursday at UVI’s ACC Building in the 1st floor conference room, between 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

Over the past twenty years Benita helped keep vital elements of local culture alive, collectively working with a number of organizations that promote, preserve, and defend the future and ability of Virgin Islanders to practice self-determination, and to foster the most basic forms of healthy life and living.  Some of those culturally-based organizations include the Pan-African Support Group, Afrikan Liberation Day, Rastafari Improvement Association, Kwanzaa365, Sankofa Saturdays, Per Ankh, Inc., Queens of the Earth, and the African Diaspora Youth Development Foundation. She has also provided eight years of service to the Dollar for Dollar Coal Carrying Annual Commemoration and ten years to The St. John African Slave Revolution Annual Commemoration.

Benita’s tireless efforts to help preserve the land and sea of our delicate islands include work with the Environmental Rangers, Environmental Association of St. Thomas (EAST), Virgin Islands Recycle Partnership (VIRP), Waste Management Authority (WMA) Community Advisor Board, Camp Umoja Academy, and the Virgin Islands Conservation Society (VICS).

Sponsors for this year’s event include: The University of the Virgin Islands, The St. Thomas Restaurant Group, Buddha Sushi, WUVI Student Radio Station, Sankofa Saturdays Youth Initiative,, and Ms. Cheryl Rae.

Read more about Sister Benita and the award below. 

Named in honor of Ms. Helen Gjessing, this award is perhaps one of the more difficult awards to earn. It is about living life with an attitude of service to, and care of the world around us in a way that exemplifies similarities to Helen herself. Throughout her life, Helen Gjessing has been a quiet force. Never one to garner accolades, she simply “showed up” for decades in the Virgin Islands, in her quiet and unassuming way, to do what she could and what was needed, to make a positive difference. That is what this award is about.

A resident of St. Thomas since 1958, Helen is an environmental-activist powerhouse.  She was given the first “Connie” award from the National Wildlife Federation in 2010; has “Emeritus” status at the University of Virgin Islands-St. Thomas Campus, where she retired in 1999 after teaching biology for thirty-four years; and served on and chaired the League of Women Voters’ Planning and Environmental Quality Committee, tirelessly reviewing countless permit applications and reports on behalf of territorial environmental protections. In short, Helen is the type service-minded individual that communities around the world can only hope to call their own. To read more about Helen’s life and activities in the USVI, follow the About Helen link on this website.

The Helen Gjessing Community Service Award is given out annually, if an individual comes to the fore that year who’s observed to live their life in the spirit of the type of service to the community that Helen epitomized, and which is typically unpaid. Someone who quietly, and again and again, shows up and helps encourage and accomplish things toward a better world. There is no monetary gift with this award. It is given by citizens, to citizens, in recognition of and as an opportunity to honor those who selflessly give, and live a life of giving to the world around them. The public is however invited to make donations, if so inclined, to whatever cause(s) or projects are embraced to the recipient of that year’s award. Based on suggestions from the public on persons deserving of the award, each year’s recipient will join with Helen and anonymous founders of the event in the decision for the following year’s recipient of the award (with the number of persons participating in that process increasing by one each year). The public is invited to submit suggestions for the next recipient of the HG Community Service Award using the Submissions link on the above website.

In that spirit of selfless community service, Ms. Benita Diana Martin has been selected to receive this year’s award. 

Benita was born in Detroit, MI (1952), though has long been proud to call the Virgin Islands her home. Benita gave birth to five children — Ayinde, Naima, Ariel, Amad, and Lukata — while providing a mother’s love to numerous youth throughout the world.

Benita’s professional career began in 1979 after graduating with a master’s degree in Blind Rehabilitation.  She has provided orientation and mobility (travel skills) Braille and vision training and other vision services to blind and visually impaired children and adults throughout the United States, Kuwait, Egypt, and in 1994 with the Virgin Islands Department of Education.  Benita continues to provide services to various organizations to address issues of person with a disability in the Virgin Islands including VI Find, Center for Independent Living, and the VI Special Olympic – St. Thomas.

Benita began her studies in alternative organic system farm practice in 1978.  After becoming a vegetarian, she realized that we must grow what we eat and educate our community on how the current fast food system generates too many health issues.  In 1995 she began to put her knowledge of organic farming into practice at Green Thumb Farm (GTF) in the St. Thomas Bordeaux area, building a fully operational 20×80 greenhouse, and assisting with all aspects of the farm, making it one of the most productive sustainable organic farms on the island. Benita joined We Grow Food Inc., noting the importance of providing food for their community. She has since served as a board member and is currently co-chairperson of the Future Development Committee. Benita has greatly aided in the development of projects/activities for the advancement of agriculture in the Virgin Islands to include: Land Agreement between Livestock Association and Bordeaux Crop Farmers Source.

In short, Benita is a caretaker of mother earth, continually involved in projects contributing to improved conditions and resources critical to healthy on-island farming practices. She is a vital member of the Bordeaux Farmers Annual Agriculture and Cultural Fair and the Bordeaux Farmer’s Market, as well as, the 1998, 2004, and 2005 Agriculture & Culture Summer Camp.  Benita has worked with many agriculture organizations and educational programs with goals to promote, develop, preserve and defend agriculture in the Virgin Islands.  They include Farmers In Action, Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network – Caribbean Initiative, Virgin Islands Farmers’ Cooperative, Islands Food Security Inc. (The Network), Emerald Thumb Garden and the Gladys Abraham; Ulla F. Muller; and Lockhart elementary school’s garden clubs.

VI AgriFest 2017 St. Croix

Live from #VIAgriFest streaming audio on WUVI AM 1090 and FM 97.3 on the Sankofa Saturdays Weekly Radio Show

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Saturday, February 18, 2017

This year I get to cover the #VIAgriFest in a way I’ve never before had the opportunity…. New Media style! Stay tuned as we share photos, videos and audio interviews from the fair in collaboration with the University of the Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural  Center (VICCC) and Sankofa Saturdays Youth Media Team being shared from their Facebook page.

Check out the VICCC at UVI (STX)

Check out the Vi Caribbean Cultural Center at #VIAgriFest this weekend with Dr. Chenzira Davis Kahina. #VICCC365 #SHARE Sankofa Saturdays Jason Klarl D'Ajahni Estrada-Petersen PerAnkh Khamniversity Uvi Pro Reginald Cyntje Reginald Cyntje Music University of the Virgin Islands

Posted by Sankofa Saturdays on Saturday, February 18, 2017

VICCNotes live at 46th Annual St Croix Agriculture and Food Fair. Day 3 On air LIVE WUVI AM 1090 and FM 97.3

Posted by Vi Caribbean on Monday, February 20, 2017

“Filled with many activities for the entire family, AGRIFEST captures fair goers and non-fair goers alike repeatedly. ” ~VIAgriFest Website

Special thanks for the assistance of the VICCC & Sankofa Saturdays: Dr. Chenzira Davis Kahina, D’Ajahni Estrada-Petersen, Jason Klarl and Zachary Taibi.

I’ll post all the videos and photos I find below on this page and my Facebook page.

Here 2 Heal: Kamani Tait Returns

Radio Interview with Kamani Tait on WUVI

Watch this #FacebookLive video (interview starts at 6:30) archive or #ListenIn to the audio (link below) as I speak w/ Kamani Tait aka KT The Arch Degree (also known as Dr. Sebi's Son) on WUVI: Learning about him and the gathering at E's Garden Teahouse and Things on Feb 11, 2017! See full details here: Topics: Who is Kamani Tait, Why the Virgin Islands, Kidney's Decoded, Tropical Vegan Food, Super Fruits & Indigenous Herbs of the Rainforest | Streaming live at 1pm on Like/Follow: WUVI AM 1090 and FM 97.3 #health #wellness #drsebi #LoveNHealingVIAudio Archive:

Posted by on Saturday, February 11, 2017

Most people don’t know it but Cruzan born Kamani Tait has returned home to the United Virgin Islands with some answers according to his Facebook post. Baba Dr. Sebi and our ancestors continue leading the way.  

Whether you watched it on #FacebookLive or #ListenIn to the WUVI audio archive, pay attention as I spoke w/ Kamani Tait (Dr. Sebi‘s Son) aka KT The Arch Degree on WUVI: Check the video of him at E’s Garden Teahouse and Things coming soon!

Topics included: Kidney’s Decoded, Tropical Vegan Food, Super Fruits & Indigenous Herbs of the Rainforest and so much more…

Streamed live Saturday, Febraruy 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm on
WUVI AM 1090 and FM 97.3 #health #wellness #drsebi #LoveNHealingVI

KT shared clarity on the real Super Foods of the Sun. HE spoke about the differences between diabetes types.  He went in about the importance of our kidneys and Indigenous wild herbs of the rainforest are the topics at hand.

For more details…
Contact: 340-244-1196
Visit for more on Kamani Tait.

Art Exhibit: It’s a Family Affair

When artists unite, what is created from their combined energies can be nothing less than a work of art… Be it canvas, melodic score or a beautiful young human being…being nurtured.

On Saturday, February 4, 2017 at E’s Tea House in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, a local artist family will share for the first time in public exhibit, Faces of Hope and other works of art. From illustrations to origami & digital art.

Using portraits of local artists, culture bearers and a variety of individuals, the  ‘1 Million Faces of Hope Charcoal Sketch Series’ is his way of bringing out the best attributes of a community through portraits of the people that nurture it to wholeness, as he is doing with his son from a distance.

“I love what I do, and I have experienced the joy it brings others when doing it.”

~Abrahaman Muhammad

In simple words Abrahaman Muhammad is an artist. Born on St. Thomas to two artistic and free thinking parents, who instilled in him the desire and motivation to keep creating.

The illustration presented as the background for his work is one of his son Bilal, which we’ll get back to in a moment.

According to his website, he has never enrolled in an art institution, but instead has taken tips and guidance, from more experienced artists than himself along the way and continues to do so.

“Drawing for me has always been fun, relaxing and mind freeing.”

Abrahaman created the series with his son Bilal in mind. Also an artist, his son will help to curate the exhibit and may even bring some of his own to display.

Abrahaman’s statement of purpose:

“The proceeds go to whatever cause Bilal feels his peers need to help them develop.

There is a reason why in all major perfection and high studies of life, it is call the practice. A humbling word, that tells me that this one lifetime will never be enough to perfect nor master any thing I do. As good as I become at one thing I will alway find someone better then me at it who I can learn from.

I want Bilal to grasp this concept and reality from young and know that the less he opens him self up to knowing is the more he will learn and achieve in his personal life and cast affects on the lives of those dependent on him.

I vision a new educational system that is solely surounded on social skills and focuses primarily on the power of NOW. History is fine but has failed society on so many levels and causes the masses to live in resentment towards each other over a thing that was not done be present circumstances. Bilal, he is representing a social unity, how you beautifully described in your blog. Simplicity is all this is.

My wish is for Bilal to express himself and how he feels about being an artist and how we have inspired him in his own words not mine. All I truly wish to do is help inspire him to his greatest level by providing more art and much less words..”

The family exhibit will showcase charcoal illustrations from Abrahaman, poetry, photography & digital design by DaraMonifah and origami, digital art & one abstract acrylic painting by Bilal Djehuti Karheri Muhammad, their son.

Stay tuned for more from this creative collaboration….. Visit to view portraits and more.

2 Services of Solidarity

2 Services of Solidarity ON NOW: WUVI AM 1090 and FM 97.3 Interfaith Weekend in Response to the Muslim Ban with Dr. Wendy Coram, Rabbi Mike Harvey of The Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas & Islamic Center: Masjid Nur Ahl-Us Sunnah #Solidarity Listen to the recording here:

Posted by DaraMonifah Cooper on Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What happens when you get a Rabbi, an Imam and a University Director in the same room? No it’s not the start of another bad joke. It’s about individuals and spiritual centers that have come together with a common purpose. Solidarity. Watch and listen to find out for yourself as we aired it live on WUVI AM 1090 and FM 97.3 (

Interfaith Weekend in Response to the Muslim Ban with Dr. Wendy Coram, Rabbi Mike Harvey of The Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas & Islamic Center: Masjid Nur Ahl-Us Sunnah #Solidarity

Guests were members of the Interfaith Council of the Caribbean and Dr. Wendy Coram-Vialet, Director of the University of the Virgin Islands Center for the Study of Spirituality and Professionalism. Together, they are making sure that people come to attend the 1 pm service on Friday at the Masjid Nur as well as at 6:30 pm the St. Thomas Synagogue. Dr. Coram Vialet stated that she wishes to promote peace and to be supportive of organizations who are working to instill peace initiatives within the community. We are inviting as many students, faculty, staff and community members to participate as possible.

Watch/Listen in to the live video or to the audio recording posted on shared on WUVI’s Facebook Page or join the Facebook event to learn when, where and what can be expected at the two services happening on Friday, February 3, 2017.

Why else to listen? I asked questions like:
How long will the services be?
What is being requested from those who are listening or who will attend?
How can they contact you to find out more?
How does this tie in to CSAP – AVPI?

Photos to be added later today.
Thank you for your support,
DaraMonifah Cooper‪‪‪
Station Manager | Programming, Website & Social Media
‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪WUVI AM 1090/97.3 FM – University of the Virgin Islands Student Radio Station
‪‪Email to share a testimony on Dara’s service!
‪‪‪‪‪On-Campus Line: 1(340) 693-1670 On-Air Call in Line: 1(340) 643-1090
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Crochet Kim and Jah Sekhemna’s Works at Bordeaux Fair

Listen in as Sis “Crochet Kim” & Jah Sekhemna talk about their works in the upcoming Bordeaux Fair Jan 14 & 15, 2017. Join the Facebook Event for updates. Watch the Facebook Live video of the interview here and a quick Instagram interview promo.

Listen to Jah Sekhemna on Reverbnation and follow him on Facebook and Youtube and check out Sister Kim as EmpressionZ Tampa on Facebook.
After the Bordeaux Fair you can find them at Brewers Beach on Sunday afternoons selling boiled peanuts, greens and vegan cookies like chocolate chip and cranberry oatmeal. You can also place your order for crochet wear as they’ll have select items on display. Sister Kim let out the bag that they’ll be introducing a green-nut butter punch which is peanut punch with a green twist.

“Something different for a lil more alkaline,” Sister Kim – aka Crochet Kim

The Crochet line is also featured at Bri Boutique Facebook & Instagram.