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Jamaican cultural activist to be honoured in New York

BY CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON Observer reporter livingstonc@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, April 28, 2014    

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The co-founder of the Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music (CPR) and cultural activist Sharon Gordon will be among the four women to be honoured on Saturday, May 3 at the New York Ritz-Carlton as part of the 18th staging of the Women of Great Esteem Emerald Awards.

The award this year is being presented to women who develop and advance their communities "without regard for race, ethnicity, religiosity, gender, age or national origin," this according to a release by the organisers.

Gordon, a Jamaican living in New York, has been a loud voice when it comes on the preservation of reggae music in its purest form.

Commenting on the honour bestowed on her, Gordon told the Jamaica Observer that she feels good about it, as women who receive this award are considered "true movers and shakers in their community".

"In addition, it means so muchfor CPR...When I look around and I see how Tony Rebel used the word 'preservation' now in his marketing of Rebel Salute, that speaks volumes. When I see how roots reggae music ah come back it speaks volumes about CPR and the work we have been doing...When I see now that Mikie Bennett is now hosting "reasoning with seasoning", which is a take-off from our CPR forums, I feel good. We have been doing great work here at the community and international level and when I see how much impact we are having...even via CPR Live, our Internet broadcast platform...we have done serious work in reintroducing certain notions, certain thoughts, certain standards to the industry and to the community," said the woman who declares that preserving the music is her real passion.

Gordon is president of TSO Productions LLC, and chairperson and co-founder of the nine-year-old Coalition to Preserve Reggae Music (CPR). In her own right she has been an accomplished journalist, radio personality, media specialist, and event producer for more than two decades. Since 1992, her distinctive voice has been heard on several radio and television programmes. Currently, she hosts the popular Reggae Calling, on CPR Live and her role as host and moderator of the CPR Community Conversation Series aptly demonstrates her prowess as an effective communicator.

Other Caribbean women who will be honoured at this years Women of Great Esteem Emerald Awards are the newly appointed director of the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation, Dominican-native, Dr Clarissa Etienne, who resides in Washington, DC, who will recognised for her outstanding work in the field of medicine as it relates to global research and policy around primary health care. US Virgin Island's Dr Suzette Graham will be honoured for work in the field of medicine, which includes exemplary work as a cardiologist and professor at Downstate SUNY and Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn. Saint Maarten's first ombudsman, Dr Rachnilda Lynch-Arduin is known as the "Guardian of the Constitution" in the Netherland Antilles. She will be honoured for work in the field of politics, her pioneering work as a scholar and lawyer, and one who is dedication to making the constitution understandable and accessible to the general public has been highly regarded. She was born in Curacao is also a well known television host and New York attorney. Yolande Nicholson will be honoured for her unprecedented work in preserving homeownership and promoting community stabilisation through her work as a foreclosure advocate. Through her work at Chase Manhattan Bank, Nicholson has implemented the "Turnaround Plan" for communities targeted by foreclosure.

The Women of Great Esteem Emerald Award was founded in 1995 by Brooklyn-based Bishop Sylveta Hamilton-Gonzales, who had a vision to recognise the increasing contribution of women who have excelled beyond normal expectations in a multi-cultural society. Bishop Gonzales points out that: "The Emerald Award is a vehicle used for the empowerment of women, honouring them for their relentless efforts to nurture and serve their communities." To date, the organisation has honoured over 150 women from 27 countries from North America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Central America.

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