Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
IN THE wake of the controversial beating of a University of Technology student recently, Maya Wilkinson, a 22-year-old freelance multimedia artist and student of The University of the West Indies (UWI), has taken to social media to promote tolerance through her 'One People: Jamaica' initiative.
Wilkinson started the pro-tolerance movement and the Facebook page called 'One People: Jamaica' in support of the NOH8 campaign, an American pro-gay marriage campaign that started in 2008.
"After the recent incident in which a young man was beaten on his own school grounds by ... campus security guards, I decided to finally do more than just talk about Jamaica's intolerance towards human differences, I wanted to do something more," Wilkinson told The Gleaner.
"I decided to combine social media with my own talents to speak out against something I was so passionate about because, more than anything, I am passionate about Jamaica and I want to see it grow and flourish," she added.
Wilkinson began placing posts on Facebook relating to a photoshoot for the 'Every Face Counts' social media campaign under NOH8.
"People such as friends and fellow UWI students began sending me their contact information and told me they were interested. The turnout for the first two shoots was a lot more than I expected. I have also been contacted by numerous people who have asked me to conduct shoots pertaining to the NOH8 campaign in the future. It looks good and I am very excited and surprised above all!" Wilkinson exclaimed.
"Every Face Counts basically asks for 'faces' in support of tolerance for human differences. It's not just the number of faces either, but also the influence these faces have, such as those of opinion leaders, that will contribute towards aspirational change," she added.
Despite the risks associated with promoting such a campaign locally, Wilkinson intends to catalyse the movement towards change, one that will see Jamaica placing humanity above all else.
"I can't say exactly where we will be in the future but, hopefully, the paradigm shift will have begun, and we will be a little bit closer to celebrating the essence of our motto, 'Out of Many, One People'. Right now, our plans remain the same: getting more faces. We want as many people as possible, from absolutely anywhere to take part in our shoots, as every face counts!" she declared.