BY COREY ROBINSON Sunday Observer staff reporter email@example.com
FEW things irked the late Dr Heather Little-White during her life, and despite being crippled 13 years ago by a robber's bullet, her own disability factored least among her list of concerns.
"Heather always felt pain for the children who had to go to school daily without a balanced meal, or worse, no food at all," said her niece, Damali Little-White Lorenz, in a tribute during a thanksgiving ceremony for Little-White's life at Jamaica College in St Andrew yesterday.
Lorenz read the tribute on behalf of her father, Lennie Little-White, Heather's brother.
"Heather always felt the pain of young women who see pregnancy as an easy escape route from persistent poverty. She always felt the pain of women and men who walked the streets at nights selling their bodies because viable job options are few and far between," she continued. "Heather always felt the pain of the disabled who get massive lip service from the powers that be but are held imprisoned in their wheelchairs and on their crutches... Heather felt the pain for her country that can find money to import genetically modified meat, fish, vegetables and other fresh produce, but we still cannot find the political will to make it worthwhile and profitable for Jamaicans to feed ourselves and make indigenous agriculture viable," she said to applause from the packed auditorium that included Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and former Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
Reggae legend and Grammy winner Jimmy Cliff, Heather's relative, was also present at the ceremony.
"Heather, today you feel these pains no more, but those of us who are left behind continue to articulate and fight for those things that you stood for. As your only brother, rest assured that I will do anything I can to make this world never forget those things that you believed in and fought for without apology," she continued.
The tribute was among praises bestowed upon the woman many described as a passionate soul; someone who believed in forgiveness, and who always filled her space with happiness and good thoughts. Little-White, a well-known nutritionist, lecturer, and lobbyist for the disabled, died on January 22 after ailing for some time. She was 60 years old.
Yesterday, GraceKennedy director James Moss-Solomon shared fond memories of Little-White during her years as an employee at the company.
"What a dedicated and brilliant Jamaican woman Heather remained throughout her remarkable life, and what an impact she had on those around her, especially at GraceKennedy," he said. "Her early training in communications; her subsequent expertise in food and meal planning and her practical analysis brought food and nutrition into the living rooms of Jamaicans."
"We shared common dreams of a better Jamaica for all. Even after her tragic experience she was never bitter or resentful of the circumstances, except to work towards avoiding the same for others. This, to me, showed the true mettle of a really great Jamaican woman," he said.
Heather's friend, Dr Glenda Simms, also offered tribute to Little-White on behalf of all the women Little-White's life impacted.
"Heather Little-White had a wide cross-section of friends, locally and globally. Today, I speak on behalf of a group of women who represent this sisterhood," said Simms. "We are a tight group of female friends who were introduced to each other through our relationship with Heather. To us, Heather was a faithful friend, a courageous Jamaican woman, a creative intellectual, a generous personality, a caring human being, and a rock of ages in times of distress. Heather was the kind of friend who told us the truth when we needed to hear it," she said. "We thank God for our ability to have chosen Heather as our friend. Together, we join with all gathered here together and say may her soul rest in peace."
Tributes were also offered by Heather's mentor and friend, Dr Simon Clarke; her student, Rayon Walters; her employee Jennifer Esty-Davis; Member of Parliament Derrick Smith; and The Reverends Dr Sonia Davidson and Dr Maxine Martin.
Said Martin: "Let us think of her as a loving soul continuing on a pathway of life. Forgiveness is what this wonderful lady was all about, and I was privileged to see her many sides."
Little-White's remains were cremated.
The family has invited members of the public who would like to pay written tribute to Little-White to do so at her blog site heatherlittlewhite.wordpress.com and facebook.com/heatherlittlewhiteremembered.