Sunlit St. John is, at this point, a conversation about the future of the island, led by St. Johnians urgently opposed to visionless development and cultural erasure.
These videos were granted by multi-generational Virgin Islanders who are so kind and caring that they have offered- in addition their immovable love for St. John- their honest and heartfelt truths. Their dignity, grace and wisdom represent the core of Sunlit St. John.
These short films are the first of many.
They speak against the pressing and short-sighted forces
bearing down on St. John, right now.
What We See
Spaces hijacked by continental and non-native, often callous and entitled
Narrative on social media dominated by non-resident experiences
Brand suddenly shifted to a "party island" with no back-story
Tourism (and disaster reconstruction) has created a vulnerable one-crop economy
Politics driving economic development into modern colonialism
Corruption means money determines our course
Race Issues steeped in black and white history will require the most illumination and attention to mend
Status as "America's Foster Child" leaves us awaiting rights and self-determination
National Park - mixed legacy of "Con-dem-nation"
Spaces mostly influenced by natives and respectful residents and tourists
Narrative on social media largely led by authentic St John voices and visions
Brand about nature, culture, and leisure that defers to the first two
Tourism cultivates its own people and preserves its ecology as the essence of the product
Politics focuses on the long term standard of living for the body Virgin Islands
Corruption finds no host in our politics
Race Issues addressed with honesty like Cancer in a family member
Status allows for a Virgin Islander to vote for or against a President
National Park makes amends to a land and its people
Present our culture and history with respect;
Secure our natural resources through preservation;
Close the brain drain with education;
Retool our economy with diversity;
Confront climate change with leadership,
It is time to heal.
"Amen to all of these ideas. I've visited for only 20 years and the changes to me are terrible. I once learned that visitors should dress with decency in town, say good day and be friendly and open to meeting people, and to appreciate the beaches, trails, and historic sites with quiet respect and a leave no trace policy. Now I arrive and Cruz Bay is like a Spring break Florida scene. Heavy drinkers and half dressed people everywhere. On the beaches? Crude men announcing they have to "go to the bathroom" then stomping into the water oblivious to sensitive grasses underfoot or that the coral rubble if observed carefully is actually home to many creatures. Don't get me started on how turtles aren't given respectful space. My wish? To have the residents of St John control the island so that the dignity, the confident friendliness, and of course the natural beauty aren't lost forever to plain selling out."
FV234POP | Youtube Commenter
"Thank you. I am in such gratitude for this work, it is beautiful, impactful and a HUGE message that needs to be blasted! Give thanks and praises for the brilliance and the space for this dialogue. Yes."
Sayeeda Carter | Youtube Commenter
We invite you to join the conversation and share your ideas for how St. John may generate revenue without selling our land or bowing to projects and people who don't respect who we are.