As a child growing up in the inner city community of Waterhouse in Kingston, my mother was very protective of me. One of the few times she would allow me out of her sight was if I was going to George Headley Primary school (which by the way this week won the Junior Schools Challenge Quiz!).
It was made clear to me that my going to school and returning home was very traumatic for my mother. So much so that she would actually wait for me at the bus stop on Spanish Town Road to walk me safely back home after school.
Therefore my first message is: “children deserve to be able to get to and from school safely.”
When I went to Wolmer’s High School for Girls I saw something that opened my eyes wide. It was an overhead bridge connecting the two campuses of the Girls School. From day one we were taught the school motto and that no matter what we MUST use the overhead bridge to cross the street.
It struck me that I did not see many overhead bridges by schools. We had over 1,000 students coming and going from school five days a week. Yet my school was one of the few with an overhead bridge.
— UNICEF Jamaica (@UNICEFJamaica) May 31, 2017
Message number two: “in and around school zones there should be extra safety measures to protect our children.”
Now that I am an adult and a driver and four months ago became a mother my perspective has been expanded even further. My son Zyon’s car seat was one of my first purchases for him.
I am now the one protecting him and one of the most distressing things to see on the road is drivers speeding. I know quite a bit about speed as a Double Olympic Champion in the 100m. So it might sound strange when I share my third message.
Message number three: “drivers slow down when on the roads.”
I hope my three messages will be spread around the Globe and help protect children. I endorse the Child Health Initiative’s everylife.org and Jamaica National and the National Road Safety Council’s Slow Down Campaign.