The Freedom Skatepark Project has its roots in the tragic death of Andre ‘Wildfiyah’ Thompson, a 20-year old Jamaican skateboarder that was stabbed to death in 2009. A few days before being murdered he was featured in the mini-documentary ‘JA SKATE’, which showcased the skateboarding scene in Jamaica. Wildfiyah expressed his wish for a skatepark to be available to the youth in Jamaica. Following his death Andre’s mother took up her son’s wish as a personal mission. Today, ten years later, she sits on the Freedom Skatepark Committee to finally see the project realised. The skatepark will be dedicated in his honour.
80% of Jamaican children experience some form of psychological or physical violence administered as discipline.
1/4 of Jamaica’s children live in poverty and, as a result, are more likely to engaged in child labour and to be exposed to violent discipline.
At 43.21 homicides per 100,000 per annum, Jamaica is in the top five for highest per capita national homicide rates globally
The Freedom Skatepark project answers local calls for the country’s first skatepark to be built. At the same time, however, the project is about providing the thousands of Jamaican at-risk youth with a positive, constructive and healthy outlet to avoid getting involved in these local problems. CJF’s educational programme will debut in April 2020 while Flipping Youth’s entrepreneurship programme will start during the construction in February 2020.
The plot provided by the local government for the skatepark is located in Harbour View, Kingston, where the skateboarding scene in Jamaica was born and thrives today. Harbour View lies by the shoreline in an easy to reach location some 5 km east of downtown Kingston. The 2000 m2 plot provided is located between the public library and a new community centre, with space for off-road car parking and nearby access to Harbour View shopping centre and the Kingston airport.
The proposed size of the park is 1000 m2 and its construction is scheduled for February-March 2020. The skatepark design has been created by CJF in consultation with the local skateboarding community and New Line Skateparks. The skatepark includes both transition and street features, as well as an area for spectators. Additionally, a community center with toilets and a parking lot will be added to the Freedom Skatepark Project.
Some 20 international skatepark builder volunteers are expected to partake in the construction.
The Freedom Skatepark Project aims to support the existing skateboarding community as well as at-risk youth in the Kingston area.
The public skatepark will be free and accessible to the whole community of Kingston and the wider country as well. Based on Flipping Youth’s consultations with the local skateboarding community it is estimated that there are currently some 100 skateboarders in Kingston, and thanks to the first skateshop (‘The Skateboard Palace’) having just opened in the city, this number is set to increase substantially over the next few years.
Despite not having a single skatepark in the country, Jamaican skateboarders have been active for decades. Over the years Jamaican street skateboarders have partaken in international skateboarding competitions and fared (un)surprisingly well. Most recently, in January 2019 Tafari Whitter and Mario Notice represented Jamaica at the World Championship Global Open Qualifier in Rio de Janeiro. Whitter placed 27th in the Qualifiers, and thereby made the cut for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where skateboarding will be introduced as an Olympic sport. In this regard, the Freedom Skatepark also seeks to support Jamaican ambitions for these and future Olympic Games.
Crucially, the Freedom Skatepark will not exclusively be geared towards those already skateboarding. To the contrary, the Edu-Skate Programme, which will be implemented starting April 2020, will work with Flipping Youth and the Freedom Skatepark Committee to enlist local at-risk youth for the programme. Based on our previous projects, and in line with the structure and curriculum of the Edu-Skate Programme, our expected reach is the following:
"Life skills training can prevent violence against children by enhancing their communication, conflict management and problem solving skills, and assisting them to build positive peer-to-peer relationships." Source