Member Feature #13: Saskatchewan Jamaican Association (SJA)

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Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, cultural diversity, intercultural, education, anti-racism, racism, multiculturalism, ethnic diversity, culture, ethnicity, awareness, acceptance

A Closer Look

sporting the Jamaican coloursWhat are your mission and vision?

Our organization is guided by the motto: “Striving for excellence in all that we do.”

Goals of our organization include:

  • To provide assistance to Jamaicans and Jamaican institutions in need locally and abroad;
  • To preserve Jamaica’s heritage particularly within the youth of Jamaican ancestry;
  • To foster leadership skills in our youth;
  • To educate ourselves and the community about Jamaican culture;
  • To sponsor youth awards and scholarships for academic,  athletic, and socio – cultural excellence;
  • To make representation to all levels of government on behalf of Jamaicans;
  • To assist Jamaicans in understanding the legal, moral, educational, and social rights and obligations of persons residing in Canada; and
  • To strengthen unity in our community.

What are the programs and services offered by your organization?

Cultural – events that celebrate Jamaican heritage

  • Jamaican Independence Celebrations – annual flag raising ceremony and Independence Gala;
  • Gospelfest; and
  • Heroes Banquet to commemorate Jamaican National Heroes.


  • Youth workshops to build leadership skills;
  • Adult health workshops;
  • Tutoring program for elementary students; and
  • Bursaries for high school graduates pursuing post-secondary education.


  • Assistance to new arriving Jamaicans in Saskatchewan;
  • Sponsorship of schools in Jamaica, hurricane relief; and
  • Donations to hospital in Jamaica


  • Children’s Christmas party

Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, Member Feature, Member, Black History Month, Anti-Racism, DiversityWhom do you serve/target with your programs and services?

All programs and activities are aimed at engaging Jamaicans and “Friends of Jamaica” of all ages and backgrounds.
What are you working on right now (project, fundraiser, special event, etc)?

Current projects include:

1) Creating a logo and web site for our organization;

2) Planning for Black History Month activities including:

  • Black History Month Breakfast – February 7, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at Shiloh Assembly, 1600 Broadway Ave;
  • Gospelfest – February 15, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at Shiloh Assembly 1600 Broadway Ave; and
  • Planning for Jamaican Independence 2015 celebrations.

Do you have a call for volunteers, fundraising, employees, resources, or submissions?

We are continually seeking to grow our membership. SJA welcomes any individual interested in membership in the association and wanting to volunteer his/her time. Our annual AGM will be held in September 2015 where interested persons may be elected to sit as an executive member.

We are currently seeking a volunteer who is able to set up and maintain a web site for the association.

What is one thing people may not know about your organization?

SJA has been in existence since 1992 and has members across the province of Saskatchewan who have been involved in broader community activities and served on various committees and boards including Mosaic, Yorkton Film Festival, MCoS, RMC, SaskCulture, Ministry of Education committees and Regina Public School committees. SJA is part of the larger movement of the Jamaica Diaspora Canada Foundation that helps to bring Jamaica Nationals together in a conference every 2 years in Jamaica.

Please share a story that illustrates your organization’s impact in the community.

Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, Member Feature, Member, Black History Month, Anti-Racism, DiversitySJA is an organization that has, through the hosting of different events, been able to bring the community together in a way that overlooks differences and breaks down barriers. SJA experiences overwhelming support for many of the events it hosts, in particular the annual Gospelfest in February, and the annual Jamaican Independence Celebration in August. At both of these events attendees and participants range in age from the very young to the most senior members of our community.

SJA first hosted Gospelfest approximately 15 years ago. Although there have been a few years hiatus, Gospel fest is an event that continues to be a very popular and well attended event. Each year when SJA hosts Gospelfest during Black History Month we receive overwhelming support from the community in terms of participation from diverse individuals and groups interested in performing, and attending the event. SJA also presents a Community Hero Award each year at Gospelfest to acknowledge the effort of individuals who have gone above and beyond to support and work in the community. This award has been presented to individuals as well as one organization from Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw. This award is also not limited to recipients’ Jamaican heritage.

The Jamaican Independence celebration has been going on for more than 20 years, and it still draws a crowd of proud Jamaicans and Friends of Jamaica who gather to celebrate their patriotism, and to share their heritage.

The Jamaica 50th Independence Gala in 2012, although now 2 years in passing still resonates with those who attendance. That a very small committee of dedicated volunteers could host such a successful event that drew an audience of 250 from within Saskatchewan as well as from neighbouring provinces of Manitoba, Alberta & BC speaks to the determination and drive of the organization. The event also drew comments from as far away as New York via the Jamaica 50th Saskatchewan website.

The support received from the community for these and other events speaks to the ability of SJA to bring together people of different backgrounds for a common goal.

What types of challenges does your organization face?

  • Maintaining a consistent volunteer base and
  • Securing financial resources to support various initiatives & activities.

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