Rev Carla Dunbar visits the White House ... and she didn't talk about sex
It's not a common experience for Jamaicans to be invited to the White House. However, Reverend Dr Carla Dunbar has joined the locals to have walked into the United States' hall of power.
Dunbar was invited by Dr Agorom Dike, president of the Caribbean African Faith-Based Organisation in Washington DC to the Caribbean/African legislative week of events, June 19 to June 24, to represent the Caribbean, speaking on issues of role reversal and economic advancement of women.
This was held at the US Department of State's Office of Religion and Global Affairs. She was invited to a briefing with members of President Barack Obama's administration at the White House, a forum at the United Stated Congress and a function at Howard University.
So at these events, she did not present on the racy topics of sex and sexuality, for which she is mostly known locally. In fact, Dunbar spoke on a wide range of issues affecting Jamaican nationals, including leniency for Caribbean immigrants after incarceration, and getting US-based Caribbean fathers to support their children in the region, including Jamaica.
Dunbar led the Jamaican delegation to the White House, which included persons such as Marion Hall, formerly Lady Saw, now known by her stage name Minister Hall; retired Archbishop of Kingston, Charles Dufour; Bishop Wellesley Blair; and Nadine Blair.
President Obama was not present while they were there, Dunbar said, due to the shooting in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 persons were gunned down at a gay nightclub. Her audience, however, included delegations from Caribbean and African countries - mainly pastors and leaders of faith-based institutions.
She described the experience as "simply awesome", even though the security to get in was "tight and heavy".
"We had started security processes from as far back as January to go through," she told The Gleaner.
She noted that some persons were turned back from the event because people were chosen from a list, which was eventually downsized.
Archbishop Charles Dufour and Bishop Wellesley Blair were honoured at an awards gala, part of the Annual International Leadership Conference, established by The Caribbean and African Faith-Based Leadership Conference in partnership with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships.
- Mikhail Williams