My Grenada: Meet the force behind I Am Grenadian
I Am Grenadian, the popular Facebook page bridges Grenadians, those in the diaspora and others here on island. Followers connect when they reminisce about shared childhood experiences, share local anecdotes, revive traditional sayings and inspire with tales of resilience.
As we continue to celebrate our nation’s 44th year of Independence we caught up with Kimron Corion, co-founder of I Am Grenadian. Kimron shares the inspiration behind the project and what keeps it flourishing.
Who are the people behind I Am Grenadian and what prompted you to come together to do this project?
The people behind I Am Grenadian are Kimron Corion and Trisha Mitchell-Darius. We came together because we realised that Grenada was being misrepresented online. We wanted to do something to help deconstruct any negative connotation that was being associated with us a people. Sadly, whenever something negative happens that can affect us, it is shared across social media at rapid speed. We wanted to give people something to share, something they could be proud of. Also, we wanted to offer a more accurate representation of who we are as Grenadians. Hence we started #IAMGRENADIAN
How would you describe I Am Grenadian?
I Am Grenadian is a transmedia storytelling project that aims to deconstruct negative connotations associated with Grenada online. At the same time we present a more accurate representation of who we are as Grenadians. This is done through personal experience narratives. Basically we curate the stories of Grenada, told by Grenadians.
How did the idea for I Am Grenadian originate?
Trisha and I have been working together for a while on different projects including the Spice Youth Toronto Community Initiative. One day Trisha reached out wanting to discuss an idea for a project which she envisioned would establish a home for Grenadians online. The idea was to create a place where we can be our authentic selves. We were both thinking along the similar lines and I Am Grenadian was born. That conversation was the beginning. We then used the Facebook page I Am Grenadian, on which she shared photos (or content) of Grenada, to make the transition. It was seamless.
I Am Grenadian was established in 2012, in what ways does its development align with the initial vision?
I Am Grenadian today is not what we initially thought it would be. In principle, the vision is still the same. We created a community for Grenadians online and broke down barriers. However, the way we are doing it now is different.
In the beginning, we wanted to create a unique platform, exclusively for Grenadians where people could write articles and share their own unique experiences. The Grenadian community did not initially gravitate towards this and only a few people signed up for the platform.
We quickly realised that we were trying to take people from one platform, in this case, Facebook and bring them over to another. We realised this didn’t make much sense. We decided we could create the community on Facebook and grow from there. Also, instead of trying to get people to write an article, we started featuring people and telling their stories. The stories we tell are not feel good stories, they are real stories of real people. These stories chronicle something that happens, a transformation, a journey, and the Grenadian public both locally and in the diaspora gravitated towards that.
In what new ways would you like to see the page develop?
We have gone from being just a Facebook page to developing a full-scale brand that includes our website and apparel. Moreover, we would like to develop a web series called I Am Grenadian where we can go more in-depth in the lives of Grenadians to tell their stories.
What does being Grenadian mean to you?
It is means freedom. I never really appreciated this until I started traveling and realised some of the things I could do in Grenada I can’t do them in other countries. I live in Toronto now, but whenever I am home I feel free, free to do what I want. I can go wherever. I don’t have to worry about food. I don’t have to wear a winter jacket, in the middle of January, to go outside to discard the garbage. Yes, I am free just to be me.
What makes you proud to be Grenadian?
The way we come together to defend each other especially against outside forces. It’s a weird thing about Grenadians, we fight amongst ourselves—particularly in the area of politics—but when one of us is under attack of any kind, and we band together and have each other’s back. That makes me proud to me a Grenadian.
Describe Grenada in three words?
Freedom, unity and strength.
What are your fondest memories of growing up here?
My fondest childhood memory of Grenada is playing football and cricket in the concrete road with my friends. We would take two slippers or shoes and measure two footsteps to make the goal posts. Sometimes we didn’t have a ball to play cricket, and we got creative and would use a chubby bottle as our ball. I remember, once while playing football, I kicked the ground, and my toenail came right off. There was blood everywhere. And, of course when my toe got better, I was right back to playing football on the concrete again. I wouldn’t trade those days for anything.
What is your vision for Grenada? What major developments would you like to see happen in Grenada in the next 50 years?
I would like to see a strong focus on entrepreneurship because one of the major problems we are faced with in Grenada is youth unemployment. Generally, many people look to governments to create job opportunities for them. However, governments cannot create all the jobs and entrepreneurs can help. The government needs to provide the environment for people to create their own jobs.
Sometimes there are entrepreneur workshops, where people are taught the fundamentals of developing a business plan and the basics of financial management. And, then afterwards the participants receive a certificate. After the workshop they return to live their lives. No change.
I want to see a renewed focus on entrepreneurship with the aim of helping to build a solid private sector. I would like to see more development taking place, possibly new factories. We will produce more instead of being a nation of consumers.
Moreover, I would like to see focus on digital technologies. Young people in Grenada need to know that there are careers outside of the traditional jobs. Social media, virtual reality, voice technology, artificial intelligence, there are a lot of opportunities available in these fields and it’s up to us to create the environment where we can thrive.