Celebrating Women Pioneers of St. Kitts and Nevis‏

On Sunday April 3, 2016, the Kittitian and Benevolent Association (KABA) celebrated Women’s History Month 2016 as part of its 33 year Anniversary activities.

The event was held at the Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church in the Bronx, New York under the theme “Celebrating our Women Pioneers of St. Kitts and Nevis and Embracing the Challenge of Building on their Contributions.

It was under the backdrop of a cool and breezy New York evening that the team of KABA executives, well-wishers and supporters took part in an evening of song, poetry musical renditions and health education. The delightful afternoon included a harmonious rendition by The Francis Sisters, which was preceded by Santoy Barrette’s masterful delivery on the saxophone and later on the fife. Musical giant Uhral Swanston also contributed a piece on the saxophone and provided musical accompaniment on the keyboard for the event.

A poem by Ms. Maureen Liburd, readings of national women pioneers from the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and a tribute to women delivered by the evening’s guest speaker, Ms. Gwendolyn Nesbitt, helped make the event a marked success.

Renowned educator and civil servant, Ms. Nesbitt delivered a stirring message of honor and recognition of the accomplishments of dozens of women of Kittitian and Nevisian heritage whose selfless dedication and passion for nation building has helped to make the Federation a force in the region and the world. They are women who have done their part to ensure that St. Kitts and Nevis is respected and not regarded as a dot on the world map.

While some of the pioneers have long passed, their work and worth remains a template for others to draw from and to be extremely proud of.

KABA members and guests of the event shared specific details about the women pioneers honored by KABA and the consensus was that the evening was a learning experience as many in attendance were not aware of the far reaching impact of many of the nation’s women, who are exceptional trailblazers in their own right.

Ms. Nesbitt spoke about the numerous women who have contributed to nation building and commended these outstanding pioneers for the vast areas of endeavor with which their name is affiliated. “Where we are today is in part due to their sacrifice and love of country and so it is important to have ongoing documentation of these women so that young people and generations to come are aware of these women pioneers,” stated Ms. Nesbitt.

In speaking to their selflessness, Nesbitt asked, “Imagine the state our country would be in if money and material things were placed above all else?” She opined that we have advanced as a nation in part because of many women who made tremendous sacrifices for their families. Placing their families above themselves was difficult, but the long term benefits mattered more for many women who sacrificed much.
The Federation’s women pioneers gave of themselves by placing country above self, supporting their families, community and nation in the process.

The KABA organization also produced an impressive anniversary magazine which is a detailed collection of “Women Pioneers of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.” Executive member Helen M. Byron-Baker spoke about the magazine suggesting that it is not merely a collection of stories but also a helpful resource for citizens to refer to for information on some of the female stalwarts who have positively shaped the social, economic, cultural political, spiritual and social fabric of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Executive member Ms. Shirley Nelson showered words of praise and thanks on all who made the Women’s History month event a resounding success while Mary Desuza presented a bouquet of flowers to the distinguished guest speaker Ms. Gwen Nesbitt.

The KABA executive and members extend sincere thanks to all who assisted in making the event successful.

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