Community Matters

Seminars & Conversations

Community & Conservation

The Virgin Islands National Park comprises over 60% of our island making it integral to the community of St. John.  Community Matters is a seminar series intended to sponsor conversations related to conservation, sustainable development, disaster capitalism, and environmental racism. The series is made possible thanks to the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom, Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands and WTJX/NPR.

Caneel Panel wtjx

Caneel For The People: Reimagining Public Spaces

Recorded on Saturday, March 12, 2022

This discussion looks at the challenges and opportunities of the Caneel Bay property in Virgin Islands National Park. 

Panelists: Dr. Hadiya Sewer, St.JanCo Cofounder and President/Research Fellow at Stanford University; Dr. Crystal Fortwangler, Assistant Professor/Film Program Chair at La Roche University; Kurt Marsh Jr., Architect/St. JanCo Vice President; Nigel Fields, Superintendent of Virgin Islands National Park; Steven D. Payne Sr., Senator-At-Large, 34th Legislature.

Additional background on Caneel Bay can be found here. 


Small Islands in the Anthropocene

Recorded on Thursday November 4, 2021

This panel explores environmental justice issues in St. John, US Virgin Islands. Scholars explore how artists, academics, and community organizers grapple with questions related to conservation, sustainable development, disaster capitalism, and environmental racism in the US Virgin Islands. They discuss the environmental issues that emerge in "Paradise" and the path towards centering just solutions.


V.I. Creole: Language, Culture, and Freedom in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Recorded on Thursday July 8, 2021

This panel moderated by St.JanCo President and Co-Founder, Dr. Hadiya Sewer, explores the importance of Virgin Islands Creole in the history, identity, politics, and culture of the people of the United States Virgin Islands. Panel participants are Dr. Gilbert Sprauve, Dr. Clement White, and Mr. Biko McMillan.


Caneel Bay Teach-In

Recorded on Saturday, April 10, 2021

This teach-in examines the challenges surrounding the closure of the Caneel Bay Resort. The event aims to educate members of the Virgin Islands community and encourage community advocacy. The audience should walk away from the teach-in with a clear understanding of the larger socio-historical context that facilitates the current closure of the Caneel Bay Resort and the available pathways to change. We want the community to feel empowered, develop informed opinions about Caneel Bay’s future, and have a clear sense of the most effective channels for voicing their concerns.

Panelists: Dr. Hadiya Sewer, St.JanCo Cofounder and President & Research Fellow at Stanford University; Dr. Crystal Fortwangler, Visiting Professor and Film Program Director at La Roche University; Attorney David DiGiacomo

Additional background on Caneel Bay can be found here.