It was 5am and time to get up. The daily routine of getting ready and journeying off to school. I needed to catch my bus at 6am so that I got to school before 730am and in time for school.
Getting to school was a chore in itself and a struggle for many. We didn’t have dedicated buses for students. Only a strong desire to ensure we were on time and being held accountable by our dedicated teachers. When we got to school it was all about learning. Our morning started with the singing of the National Anthem & Pledge, and the Lord’s Prayer. Then we were off to our classes.
The hardships endured through the limitations of a young nation striving to develop did not stop us from pushing forward. I saw the disparities and experiences of people seeking to survive, including my parents. As part of the struggle, many left the island to search for new opportunities.
Those lessons over the years awaken my views of the haves and the have nots. I was able to see and feel the journeys of both worlds. However, as I sat in my class I was told the stories of the past.
My reality was one built on the struggles of men and women who fought with their lives so that today I could stand in pride. The journey from many nations, to a people who now continue to seek purpose and a way to provide for their families. How they stood up against oppression, and when in 1962 we gain independence.
In Jamaica, we go by the simple motto – Out of Many One People. This symbol is on our National Coat of Arms and is the image of our nation. An island of more than 2.9 million people with a diaspora spread across the world. Jamaica is home to many stalwarts and accomplices of change. We have been agents of change from the moment the first set of slaves came to the island.
We are the product of our 7 national heroes who paved the way and showed us the way. These where the stories I learnt in school and the driving force behind my passion for issues of marginalize people.
Our world is once again at a pivotal point of change. From being crippled by a virus that we are still learning about, to a systematic racial issue that final has caught all our attentions. To get through any of this, it requires us all to acknowledge our pass, appreciate your present and push through the change.
Once such change is one happening in the United States of America. The announcement of Kamala Harris as the running mate for Joe Bidden in the upcoming is another point of change. America had it’s first African American President in 2009. In 2017 another point of change took place that impacted the world. That change has brought to light the intentions of a hidden issue that has been oppressive to many.
Jamaica recently celebrated 58 years of independence. America celebrated 244 years of independence from Great Britain. With these histories, how independent are we. Why do we still struggle with the pass? Some have suggest that we need to forget about the pass. I beg to differ. I believe we need to acknowledge our pass so that we can move forward.
So America, rather than dwelling on Kamala Harris’ racial identity, how about focusing on the content of her character and the diversity of her perspective across all and for all people, especially those who need it the most. The poor, the least, the marginalize, the oppressed, and for the fight towards equity.
Let’s change the conversation towards reconciliation. It is time now for a change. A positive change. A change that steers us towards seeing each other has part of a connected community. For Out of Many We are One People.