The Jamaican Diaspora (di-as-po-ra) includes all Jamaican nationals and persons of Jamaican heritage living overseas. The Jamaican Diaspora United States encompasses the primary regions of Northeast, South, and Midwest/West. With an estimated 800,000 population in the United States, the Jamaican community is comprised of hundreds of faith-based/church organizations, alumni associations, charitable organizations (in the areas of health, education, culture, crisis support, etc.), social, sports, and recreational, education, law, and business/trade organizations.
In 2004, the Government of Jamaica and the Jamaican private sector invited over 250 persons living in the Diaspora to Jamaica to convene the first Jamaican Diaspora Conference. At this conference, delegates discussed and debated a myriad of issues impacting Jamaicans, at home and abroad. In June 2008, on the occasion of the 3rd Biennial Conference, over 700 delegates convened in Jamaica for the same purpose and appointed 7 Advisory Board members to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This Inaugural Conference (October 3-4, 2008, held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) welcomed over 150 community and business leaders from around the three primary regions in the United States to discuss the direction of the community organizing efforts, related governance, and community issues of mutual interests to local communities in the United States and to Jamaica. Such issues included trade & economic development, faith-based initiatives, health, education, and disaster preparedness. In addition there were specific discussion on ways in which to more meaningfully incorporate and involve the voice of the next generation of leaders. Representatives from the government (Jamaican and United States), along with consular, and business leaders were in attendance at the conference .
Currently, there are several stakeholder groups interested in deepening the linkages between these Jamaicans residing abroad and those at home. Among these groups are the Government, the remittance companies, various Jamaican private sector bodies and a number of community based organizations in the Diaspora. In the absence of a central entity providing oversight, these stakeholder groups have oftentimes acted independently of each other, although they have similar objectives. The principal goals of the Jamaican Diaspora – United States is therefore to:
(1) Strengthen the links and support systems between Jamaicans residing abroad and those at home;
(2) Deepen the collaboration and cooperation between the stakeholder groups that serve them; and
(3) Facilitate and increase the scope and impact of the contribution of the Diaspora to the development of Jamaicans at home and abroad.
To this end, the Jamaican Diaspora – United States endeavors to connect and enhance communication and mobilization among Jamaican organizations and Jamaicans living in the US, to pursue established or desired collaborative goals, to strengthen existing Jamaican organizations and their best practices, and to celebrate and promote Jamaican culture and heritage. All Jamaicans in the Diaspora and their supporters are encouraged to become more engaged and to participate in the historic, timely and visionary unleashing of the unbounded potential of the Jamaican community.
The main Jamaica Diaspora has three main divisions.
The United States division is divided into three chapters:
- United States- North-East
- United States- South
- United States- Mid-West
The other two main divisions are located in:
- United Kingdom