July 24, 2012

Exonerate Marcus Garvey: 5 Ways You Can Help

During the last few days, I have been receiving some very interesting calls and emails about my involvement with the petition to EXONERATE Marcus Garvey. Some of the calls have been helpful (Give thanks again to Don Rico Ricketts for clarifying certain issues), and some have been, well... I’ll just leave it at that.

So why am I involved in the drive to exonerate Marcus Garvey?

I started the petition out of my love and respect for Marcus Garvey. For ten years, I taught Marcus Garvey’s Life and Lessons as part of a course on heroes.

Marcus Garvey is a neglected hero. By exonerating and honoring Garvey, we honor ourselves. It becomes a visible sign of our commitment to the cause of human rights and social justice. We move from TALK to ACTION.

And why have a hero if he or she does not inspire you? As a writer, teacher, and father, Marcus Garvey inspires me.

Also, as I explained to Vanessa Byers @ Blogging Black Miami:
"Growing up in Jamaica with the music of Bob Marley and themes of freedom, equal rights, and justice as an integral part of his lyrics, four questions haunted me: Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going? How can I be a good man?
Not surprisingly, these questions about the creation of an authentic identity and the impediments, have been central to my work as a writer and teacher. Added to this was the question of what W. E. DuBois called "the color line" and the connection between race and class that C.L.R James wrote about in The Black Jacobins.
These questions could have remained abstractions. However, with the birth of my son, they became pressing concerns: How do I teach my son to be a good man and father? What does it mean to be a good man? A good father?
As a father, writer, and teacher who has spent the past thirty years living in Miami, Florida, where many of our children, especially our boys are in trouble, the challenge broadened: How can I teach our sons to be good men?
So, why petition President Obama, especially in an election year?
I addressed the online petition to President Barack Obama for the following reasons:
  • President Barack Obama has shown his awareness of the historical legacy of Marcus Garvey. In his book Dreams From my Father, Obama quotes one of Garvey’s more famous lines, “Up ye might race!”(199).
  • Other attempts to exonerate Marcus Garvey died in committee. This is a cynical ploy of some politicians. They introduce or support a bill knowing full well it will die in committee. They get to look good and the issue fades away.
  • Activists (never thought I’d ever use that word to describe myself) from minority communities should embrace social media to make sure that politicians carry out the will of the people. If there was one thing I learned from teaching Marcus Garvey, it was that power resides with the people and not with the politicians.
Is Garvey's work still important?

Marcus Garvey's son, Dr. Julius Garvey. summed up the cardinal attributes of his father's work:
"A sense of identity, self-reliance, unity/nationhood, entrepreneurship, education in the physical and psychological sciences, and spirituality based on the Father/Motherhood of God and the brother/sisterhood of woman/man. The principles that Garvey outlined in was a philosophy, theology, psychology and social action plan that could be applied by all people in any location."
If you would like to help, please

Sign the petition:

Contact the White House directly:
(North American readers) 

Contact the senators and representatives from your state: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet:

E-mail the link to your friends:


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