Gabrielle Wildes trods the road less travelled and we’ve got to do whatever we can to keep her on it!
When she left high school, instead of joining the herd – like her older brothers – immediately rushing off to University to get white collar, long-tie jobs, without even a sense of the great “WHY” that makes work and living meaningful – she became a missionary.
U.S. Embassy, Kingston Documentary Screening Serves Much Food for Thought
Owing to her relentless efforts to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957 the United States of America was set on fire.
Eventually an Executive Order was issued by the President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower deploying 10,000 American soldiers to the small town of Little Rock, to uphold the rights of 9 vastly outnumbered and defenceless African-American students.
The story is one of a mythical magnitude. The images of the black students, first being turned away by the Arkansas National Guard amidst the vitriolic jeering of rabid racists are harrowing. The images of the Little Rock 9 – the name by which the group will forever be remembered – being escorted by 10,000 soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division in full army fatigue still speak volumes.
How is it even possible therefore, that in the retelling of the American Civil Rights struggle and in the popular celebrations of its major contributors, so very little is said or known – if anything at all – about the central force behind the comprehensive protest effort that etched the Little Rock 9 forever in the cannons of world history and paved the way for countless blacks in the United States to attend desegregated schools today? Continue reading Discovering Mrs. Daisy Bates→
Didn’t you feel a bit conflicted inside watching Jamaica’s athletes dominate during the Olympics? I know I did. While I was happy cheering for our stars and hearing Jamaica’s anthem being trumpeted in London, all I could think about was 1) what it would mean to make such an extraordinary contribution to Jamaica and 2) how unlikely it is that I will ever do anything as great for my country as win an Olympic Gold medal.
Maybe you felt the same?
At the end of the day though, you and I are no Usain Bolt.
Now that the Olympic euphoria has passed it is clear to see that what Jamaica needs MOST, is not for you or I to start training for the 100M.
There are so MANY issues far more important to Jamaica now that we need to solve, but just cannot seem to. We are desperate for heroes – LEGENDS – to train, execute and dominate. Just like our athletes a few passionate Jamaicans may make an amazing impact in these areas.
Here are just 2 of the many urgent examples where we need LEGENDS:
Jamaican children with disabilities are doomed to a life with limited academic prospects.
On Sunday of this week the Executive Director of the Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities (JAID) Christine Rodriguez was just one of many experts that addressed the issue in a Jamaica Observer story.
“Unfortunately, there are schools that kick the children out and say ‘you are not supposed to be in this school, this is not the school for you’. Those children go home and end up sitting down for a couple of months, for a year, for two years, because maybe the place to which they refer the child might have a waiting list for testing, might have a waiting list for placement, and so that child is being left out in the cold for an extended period of time,” she told the Jamaica Observer last week.
Could you make an impact here?
On the small-scale: Many things can be done to accommodate students with physical disabilities. Youth groups (etc) across Jamaica could organize with schools to build ramps, and whatever other infrastructure is needed to accommodate these students.
On a large-scale:Intellectual disabilities may be harder to address. Just like our runners focus and train, we need minds in education to focus, research, collaborate and address this issue.
Jamaica has a most inhumane prison system – with effectively no rehabilitation.
Let me give you 5 facts about Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre (popularly known as “G.P”), Jamaica’s largest prison.
It has a capacity of 900 but “constantly holds around twice its official capacity.”
“Many prisoners have no bedding to speak of whatsoever.”
“There are no toilets in any of the cells, inmates are required to slop out, and each has a bucket for this purpose.”
None of the cells have windows…some have a small barred vent up on the rear wall of the cell…On certain blocks, the front doors to the cells are solid, and so permits no ventilation – or light – to penetrate the cell at all.
Men on death row receive generally ONLY 2 hours out of their cells each day.
You may wonder, why I chose to highlight the prison system. Why not crime? Why not the backlog in courts?
Fact: how we treat prisoners (our failure to rehabilitate) has a direct impact on crime. Simply, many of the “dutty bwoy dem” INSIDE eventually return OUTSIDE.
We need creative minds in the field of law and justice to solve this issue.
Bigger than Bolt
We all love Bolt – I hope no one thinks this is an attempt to detract in any way from him. However, Jamaica needs more LEGENDS in other fields. Beyond music, beyond sports…we need more people on the front-line.
We are constantly making impressions on others and those impressions often affect how they react to us. If you are serious about the impact you make then you cannot afford to take the impressions you make for granted.