May 30, 20007 – I am Lois Hassell-Habtes, a long-time educator/educational administrator, and I'm running as a delegate from the District of St. Thomas/St. John, for the Fifth Constitutional Convention. For the last twenty-seven years, I have been working on researching, documenting, preserving and presenting our Virgin Islands culture and its traditions. Having served the territory as Teacher, Music Supervisor, State Coordinator of Arts and Culture, and now Assistant Principal (at the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School), it is my belief that if our traditions are to be preserved and continued for generations to come, we must train our teachers to teach and present them in our classrooms. In this convention, my agenda is to make sure that preservation of our culture, traditions, architecture, environment and resources are protected for future generations! We cannot continue to talk about preservation issues within the community unless we do something about it. This is our time to ensure that action of this important component is included in the Virgin Islands Constitution.
My goal within this convention is towards making sure that the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands understand that the time has come when we cannot any longer be governed under the Revised Organic Act of 1954. I am a consensus builder and my further goal is to ensure that the elected delegates of this Fifth Constitutional Convention come up with a constitution that is acceptable to all of our residents.
Further, we must disseminate this information systematically to the people of the Virgin Islands, and encourage open discussion through seminars, town meetings, and colloquiums.
As a delegate I will work hard to incorporate within the framework of our constitution the rights, guidance, authority, assurances and limitations necessary towards the protection of our environment, our patrimony and our culture. Protection of our natural and cultural resources are necessary and required for the protection and sustainable development of our human resources; our communities of the future and our generations to come. As the elders ask the question: "Who gives us the right to discontinue what our ancestors have kept going through the years?" in times to come we will all have to answer to our children.
I continue to serve this territory, as a traditional storyteller and musician. Also, I have contributed my time to this community as Chair of the Virgin Islands Humanities Council, Board Member of the WTJX board, Researcher and Coordinator of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in D.C. and Director of the Restaging of the Folklife Festival in St. Croix. I have conducted Cultural Workshops for Educators and I am an Advisory Member of the Alton Adams Music Research Institute and Secretary of the St. Thomas Historical Trust. I have the ability. I have the experience and I want to play a role in mapping out the future of this territory through a constitution that speaks to the needs of our people.
Lois Hassell-Habtes, Ph.D.
Lois Hassell-Habtes Seeks to Be a Delegate
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