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Web Posted - Sunday, August 1, 2004

J'Ouvert City Alliance held a community town hall meeting on Monday July 26th for the purpose of giving New York J'Ouvert steelbands and mas organizations an opportunity to discuss and voice their concerns and problems to and with  their elected officials.  Present at the meeting were Councilmen Charles Barron and Kendal Stewart.  Councilwoman Letitia James could not attend but was represented by her Deputy Chief of Staff / Community Affairs - Ray Martin.

Kendal Stewart announced that the West Indian American Day Association (WIADCA), the current overseer of the annual New York labor day parade, was awarded one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), but that J'Ouvert City as a separate entity, would receive no funding from the city council this year.  J'Ouvert City is the coordinator of the Brooklyn J'Ouvert events.  As a result, Kendal Stewart expressed hope that a portion of the $100,000 funding WIADCA received, would "trickle" down to participating J'Ouvert organizations.   However, Councilman Barron explained that WIADCA was not under any obligation to share any part of  the $100,000 award with J'Ouvert organizations.  The audience made up primarily of panmen expressed their extreme displeasure in this arrangement.

Over the past decade, Brooklyn's J'Ouvert has grown from small groups of revelers, into a massive pre-dawn celebration attracting hundreds of thousands of people, steelbands and old mas enthusiasts.

Several J'Ouvert City Alliance officials stated that they would move forward with preparation for the J'Ouvert celebrations in spite of the lack of support from the city council this year.


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