Dojo co-founder: We’ll stop Rasta City, Muslim gangs

CO-FOUNDER of the Ryu Dan Dojo Youth Empowerment Centre Sensei Marva Logan says gangs like Rasta City must be stopped.

She was speaking yesterday at the US Embassy Port of Spain International Women of Courage Award Ceremony at the Chief of Mission Residence, Port of Spain. Logan was honoured together with TTV Solidarity Network PRO Heidi Diquez and TT Publishers and Broadcasters Association president Kiran Maharaj.

Logan said she was deeply honoured and moved by the award. She recalled she started community work more than 30 years ago, and was not about awards or recognition but saving lives. “Any life lost to violent extremists or gang violence is a generation lost,” she said.

She received, she said, the award not for herself but for every woman not at the ceremony but fighting the good fight and making daily change. “Every gang, whether is Rasta City or Muslim City, we are going to stop it, because that is not what life is about it. And that is not what our deal is about.

“Life is about love and we are going to make that change. And that is what courage means – it means stand up in the face of adversity, make the difference and do what you got to do, even if you is the only one fighting. Fight with all your might and never give up.”

US Assistant Secretary of State Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce said Logan provides an oasis to youth vulnerable to violent extremism and crime through the Ryu Dan Dojo Youth Empowerment Centre. She pointed out the centre, in Chaguanas, is based in an area from which several foreign terrorist fighters originated.

She said last month US First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held the 2019 International Women of Courage Award ceremony at the Department of State in Washington, DC.

“The ceremony recognised remarkable women, like the ones we are honouring today, for their courage and strength in fostering positive change in their communities. To Heidi, Marva, and Kiran – our awardees – you have our deepest admiration and appreciation for your dedication, passion, and sacrifice.” Royce said Maharaj, as implementing lead for the SafeCommniTT initiative, has worked nights and weekends with the embassy to make the counter-violent extremism and counter-crime campaign a success.

“Kiran founded, as far as we can tell, the world’s very first radio station solely for women (Heartbeat Radio for Women 104.1 FM). Of all her notable achievements, this is the one she holds most dear.”

Maharaj said awards were never part of her plan and she grew up with the understanding that failures were lessons to be learned and challenges a test of character.

“I don’t believe you should stay in bad situations. Get out and be happy, be of use to others. Do your best and act in a spirit of excellence. Be grateful for everything. “Never, ever let your ego outgrow your heart.” Diquez said she felt deeply honoured to receive the award.

US Ambassador Joseph Mondello said the awards recognised three outstanding, courageous women. He explained the award, in its 13th year, recognises women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advancing peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice.



"Dojo co-founder: We’ll stop Rasta City, Muslim gangs"

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