About Us

Our Mission

Jamaica Cultural Alliance (JCA) is a Los Angeles 501(c) nonprofit organization with the objective of expanding and enriching knowledge and awareness of Jamaican culture and heritage. The general goal of the Jamaica Cultural Alliance is to promote the best of Jamaica – its people and their multi-faceted lifestyles – in order to clarify and enhance the image of Jamaica and the Caribbean at large.

 

Coat_of_arms_of_Jamaica.svg

Jamaica’s Coat Of Arms

Our Vision

JCA exists to maximize cultural exchange between Jamaica and the US. The motto for Jamaicans is “Out of many one people”. As printed on the Jamaican monetary medium of exchange, it indicates the successful and harmonious blending of many ethnicities and cultures into one. U.S. currency also proudly displays “E PLURIBUS UNUM” which means “Out of many, one”. Even the Los Angeles slogan “Together, we’re the best – LA” expresses this sentiment but actualizing the concept presents a daily challenge for us all. JCA envisions tremendous opportunities for establishing numerous ongoing and productive inter-cultural alliances. Schools, cultural and art organizations, in both Jamaica and Los Angeles, will be afforded greater growth advantages and increased outlets of expression.

 

Background

The founders of JCA reside on the West Coast in Los Angeles. They came together because individually each had become concerned with the lack of local outlets for Jamaican arts and culture. They perceived Californians as having a stereotyped and often incomplete or inaccurate perception of Jamaica and its people. And although the Jamaica Tourist Board and other organizations continue to effectively promote this small but dynamic country, until now these efforts have been largely concentrated on the East Coast and directed toward markets that were closer to Jamaica. JCA affirms that it is time the image of Jamaica and Jamaicans be expanded in depth and breadth. The JCA objective is to galvanize the Jamaican nationals in Los Angeles, along with other residents and communities, in order to create a conduit of cultural exchange and a platform for positive expression. In order to accomplish this task, JCA’s activities focus on four strategic areas of development;

  • Education and Literature
  • Performing Arts and Music
  • Visual Arts & Technology
  • Heritage and Resource Development

 

 

Ms. Dorothy Mcleod

Dorothy McLeod

Dorothy McLeod is the CEO and co-founder of Jamaica Cultural Alliance; a Los Angeles based non-profit organization, dedicated to cultural exchange. The organization serves as a facilitator to promote Jamaica, their native culture and multi-faced lifestyle through the arts and music in the Los Angeles area, the Hollywood entertainment community and the sportsworld.

As a native Jamaican who migrated to the USA, Ms McLeod’s rich and varied work experiences in the U.S has prepared her for promoting foreign businesses operating in and with the United States to achieve a higher profile. She began her career in New York in the jewelry business as an administrator, where her sharp mind and vibrant personality earned her the reputation as no nonsense professional.

Ms. McLeod held positions of executive assistant to a high power television executive producer at Gaumont Distribution as well as publicist, and event coordinator. She also spent two years in civil service with the U. S. Treasury, Department of Customs, and Fair Housing under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1999 Ms. McLeod established its Your Tour, a travel agency and consulting company. All of these important work experiences helped to develop her excellent communication skills and to further develop her first rate business skills.

She has spearheaded many successful publicity campaigns for international clients including; Jamaica Ocho Rios International Jazz Festivals since 1965 (which she also co-produces); the Dominican Republic International Jazz Festival and the New Playwrights Foundation projects.

Ms McLeod holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in telecommunication from Columbia College Hollywood, and has taken many public relations courses at UCLA.

 


Dr Horace Alexander-Resized

Dr. Horace Alexander

Dr. Horace Alexander was born in Kingston and grew up in Christiana, Manchester, Jamaica. He attended Holmwood High School and Knox College before pursuing tertiary education at Northern Caribbean University (then West Indies College) in Mandeville. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration, both from Andrews University in Michigan, and later an ED.S (Educational Specialist) Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Loma Linda University School of Education. His Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Leadership and Administration is also from Loma Linda University where he taught for six years, training school principals and curriculum supervisors. He has taught from Grade 4 elementary school to doctoral-level graduate students and has been a school principal, district superintendent, Vice President for Academic Administration of a four-year College, and dean at a community college. His experience has been international, primarily in Canada, Jamaica, and the United States. He currently is an English professor at San Bernardino Valley College.

Dr. Alexander is a licensed private pilot and relaxes with his guitar and listening to various genres of music. One of his passions is car restoration (“English is what I teach. English is what I drive”) and he enjoys a small collection of hobby cars, three of which are British. He and his wife Dalila reside in Loma Linda, California, where the Chamber of Commerce recently (October 30, 2013) presented him with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the office of Congressman Gary Miller, and a California Legislative Assembly Certificate of Recognition for his civic involvements. He has one son, Sean, who lives in San Diego California. Dr. Alexander has served on the JCA Board for 14 years and is currently Chair of the Board.

 


VS-Russel-Resized

V.S. Russell

Mr. Russell hails from the hills of St. Ann Jamaica. Russell’s admiration and respect for Jamaican Folklore served as the primary motivating factor for the founding of Brer Anancy – where he acts as Chief Executive Officer and Author. Russell’s first publication in the Bre’r Anancy Series – a children’s book series based on the African spider God Anancy – was published in 2012 to commemorate Jamaica’s 50th year of Independence.

Prior to Brer Anancy, Russell worked for a number of years in the hospitality industry where he served in senior management working on corporate and product strategy. Early in his career he served as an educator working for Ministry of Education in Jamaica. Russell has also worked in Accounts for Viceroy Hotel Group and Gemstone Resorts, as well as in Sales /PR for Sandals Resorts International.

Mr. Russell is a graduate of Ferncourt High School and Excelsior Community College in Kingston, Jamaica. He holds a BA in Theatre and Media Arts from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in The Business Of Entertainment from UCLA . In his free time, Russell enjoys cooking and storytelling.

 


Mr. Cleveland Neil

Cleveland O. Neil

Cleveland O. Neil held the position of Honorary Consul of Jamaica to Southern California for over three decades. In that capacity, he facilitated official state actions on behalf of the Jamaican government and generally acted as a liaison between the government of Jamaica and American regional interests. During his tenure as Honorary Counsel, Mr. Neil hosted countless dignitaries from various counties, brokered numerous business relationships and created a strong network of colleagues and friends around the globe. Between 1969 and 2003, Cleveland Neil represented not only the pride of the Jamaican people; with integrity in all of his actions, he also represented their strength and spirit. In 2002 he was honored with the JCA Community Service Award by Jamaica Cultural Alliance (JCA), a Los Angeles based Cultural organization

Born in Balaclava, Jamaica, Mr. Neil attended Gainstead College for two years and graduated from Kingston College in Kingston. He began his career as Personnel Supervisor at Kaiser Bauxite Ltd., Manchester, Jamaica. Later, he served as Industrial Relations Advisor at Esso Standard Building Products in Spanish Town.

In 1967, Mr. Neil immigrated to the United States and attended the University of Connecticut and earned a B.S. degree. He later moved to the west coast of the United States and attended the University of California at Los Angeles (U. C. L. A.) where he earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Anderson School of Business.

In1977, he established a consulting firm, the Business Development Center, Inc., administering Federal manufacturing and service contracts in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Anaheim and Colton. BDC, Inc. employed over 100 Angelinos, managed over one million dollars in service or construction contracts and issued bonds or loans in excess of five Hundred million dollars. The company’s client list included, Proline, Inc., Burbon, Inc. Sinclair Engineering, Ali Construction, J. Kim Construction, and Tape and Label.

Through the Mayor’s office of economic development under the Bradley administration, Cleveland also worked extensively with minority owned businesses and nurtured small business ventures through the 8(a) or minority certification process. He help them to secure meaningful contracts and to access management and technical assistance that sustained their growth.

Mr. Neil continues to provide occasional consulting services and he currently serves in an advisory capacity on the Board of Directors for Kedren Mental Health Association in Los Angeles and the Jamaica Cultural Alliance based in southern California. He spends most of his time between Los Angeles, Kingston and Miami where he has two adult children who he enjoys visiting.

 


Ms. Sunni Smith

DeBorah (Sunni) Smith

DeBorah Smith is a professional, coach and consultant who specializes in facilitating the growth, development and success of chief executive officers and individuals in public life. The majority of her clientele work in business, political and entertainment arenas. Sunni has a solid background in media, business and law. After a consulting stint with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sunni took on the position of Deputy Director of Women and Minority Business in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Business and Economic Development where she made a major impact on the numbers of sub and prime contracts within the City of LA.

In addition to teaching at various colleges and universities, she has consulted with and trained executives and managers of fortune 500 companies and nonprofits, including, Southern California Edison, The Liberty Hill Foundation, IBM, The American Advertising Association, The Smithsonian Institution, The National League of Cities and, most recently, Kaiser Permanente, within both the Medical Group and the Health Plan Foundation. Sunni also provides business development consulting focusing on contract negotiation, sustainability and marketing. A high emphasis is placed on establishing relationships, resources, and capital investments that work together, in innovative ways, to create permanent paradigm shifts.


shirley

  Shirley Shamdas

tyson2

Donald Tyson

Donald graduated from the University of Technology in Jamaica where he received a degree in Computer Science. A South African by birth, he started an IT consulting company “Tyson IT Solutions” providing hardware, software and web solutions to clients in Jamaica, South Africa and the United States. Born to a South African mother and Jamaican father, he fell in love with technology and the Internet  at a very young age, and has used it ever since to unite his worlds. He has a personal commitment to the Jamaica Cultural Alliance, its mission and vision as he can identify with Jamaicans living abroad, and the misconceptions about the Jamaican people and their culture.

 

 


me3

Solomon Perkins

 
Solomon is another graduate of the University of Technology Jamaica, where he obtained a degree in Computer Science. As a Jamaican, he is passionate about community development through education and skills training. He firmly believes that technology is an excellent tool which should be used by developing countries, such as Jamaica, to improve quality of life.