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Help our children understand their heritage

Published: 
Monday, May 28, 2018
Toronto appeals to LiTTscapes author

Help us understand how to pass on our cultural identity and heritage and save our children and next generations.

This was the unanimous plea at LiTTribute to Toronto to heritage educator and author Dr Kris Rampersad during her interface with a cross-section of Canadian educators, media, cultural and religious developers, all of whom were concerned about the eruption of violence and extremism in schools and identified problems with intercultural understanding and making meaningful impact on youths while lamenting disconnections within families and between schools, churches and community organisations.

Father Terry Gallagher, one of the few remaining priests of the Toronto Scarboro Missions, which is celebrating its centenary, commended Dr Rampersad for her publication LiTTscapes—Landscapes of Fiction, acknowledging its attempt to capture, document and excite the imagination of the young and old and bridge the gaps between cultural and ethnic communities.

He blessed Dr Rampersad’s work and encouraged her in her efforts and vision for a more holistic approach to the culture of the Americas.

“For me, the publication of LiTTscapes was not an end but a beginning,” Dr Rampersad explained after being welcomed by ten-year-old Milan Maharaj who has shown a keen interest in the book to the gathering at LiTTribute to Toronto at Windies Restaurant. She said her unorthodox approaches to education through methods for lifelong learning that include such cultural exchanges were meant to encourage institutions as schools, churches, museums, restaurants and other community and family institutions as well as those in charge of making policy to rethink their approaches to passing on knowledge and information and to engage the next generations on ways that will stimulate their creative energies.

Dr Rampersad revealed the intention of preparing and presenting the book which captures multiculturalism through hundreds of colour photographs and descriptions the literary and cultural traditions and lifestyles heritage as portrayed through more than 100 works of fiction by literary laureates as Derek Walcott and Sir Vidia Naipaul as well as many lesser known and several writers of Caribbean heritage from Canada, the UK, and the Americas.

Rampersad spoke of her vision to engage youths into more constructive and mindful community-inspired actions away from lives of crime and delinquency as recent school shootings through not just the book, but also its related activities as these LiTTributes and LiTTours all of which have been received with tremendous enthusiasm not only in Trinidad and Tobago and its first launch but also in presentations across the Caribbean, the Americas, UK, and Europe.

Dr Rampersad explained that the book is not just an academic publication and while it is attractive to educators and policy makers, it has also drawn considerable interests and excitement of children as young as three year old as well as the elderly in its attempt to bridge the generation gap and encourage dialogue across age, culture, ethnic or national or other barriers. Chair of the interface, managing editor of the Independent Newspaper, Raynier Maharaj, pointed out the struggle to draw the next generations into appreciation and understanding of theirs and other cultures, noting that it is even difficult to stimulate the next generation to be interested in food heritage as that represented in restaurants as Windies which hosted the event. He stated that LiTTscapes, LiTTributes and LiTTours were unorthodox ways of stimulating those, as his son, who were born in Canada or elsewhere, to be more curious about their own as well as the cultural habits and traditions of other cultures.

Youth educator and musician Shelli Karamath related how she has been struggling with identity as a Trinidad-born Canadian who felt alienated and like an outsider to both societies and how she could use the book as a tool with her students to bridge understanding. Echoing similar statements, educators, culture, community and religious workers in the audience identified problems of passing on understanding of traditions of music, dance, food and other elements as represented in LiTTscapes to their children and encouraged Dr Rampersad by committing themselves to formalise these efforts.

Copies of LiTTscapes and bookings of LiTTours and LiTTributes through the Americas are available by request through Facebook LiTTscapes or [email protected]

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