Guyana and Black History— High time to change the Story
By Yvonne Sam
We are currently in the month of February, traditionally the period when Black History Month is celebrated. The truth be told Guyanese do not need to worry in any way shape or form about negritude or history as both are being daily celebrated. To be clear and also frank, Guyanese in Guyana have failed to make the progress that they mouthed, spouted and voted for. In fact, it appears that they have fast forwarded backward. So let us forget about placating ourselves by celebrating Black History Month. We have not broken any stereotypes. We have made no progress.We just haven’t.
When will we start allowing the world to once again acknowledge our once famous country, not one month out of the twelve, but every single day? Guyana the country that is larger than New York State——home of the largest eagle, largest water lily, home to No. 2 ranked top waterfalls in the world, home of the largest rainforest in the world.
When will we begin to treat one another as fellow citizens, and realize that our country that is being destroyed was built because our forefathers and mothers were willing to go the extra mile even laying down their lives, all in the name of progress? When, oh when will we come to realize that we need to support each other as a culture? The time is now for the truth to be faced and bravely spoken. The truth about what it is like this day—this very moment in time to be a Guyanese living in Guyana—- The double standards in the education system, the government, the police, the business world, the spiritual arena etc.
Here is another serving of truth, although some may not like to hear it, but then again how can we pull ourselves up by our yachting boots strings in a country replete with visual and auditory deficients. We are still a divided nation, national disunity is still prevalent and the election promise nowhere near to being fulfilled. Where is the emotion and anger at the unthinkable wrongs that are still being done – to our own people by our own people? We started out behind, and are still behind. That’s the reality.
How can we go about changing things, being proactive rather than reactive and destructive?
Here are some steps along with a caveat. Let it be known that I do not claim to have a monopoly on answers, remedies or solutions. Let us stop being silent when we see wrong being done. Silence is endorsement. Why are we killing each other? The answer will speak volumes about the value we place on ourselves, answers the question as to the esteem in which we hold each other, and how we have been conditioned to think less of ourselves and each other. So let us stop violence against each other, especially the ongoing abuse of our women. It is time to step out of the past and come to the realization and awareness that God created us in his own likeness.
Initiate previously avoided conversations with each other and call out cronyism or racism when it is seen, heard or practiced. The time to be afraid has passed. We must find our voice and guard our hearts. It is imperative that we start now, striving cooperatively, intentionally and with courage and continuing long past February 28. Remember that it is not all about us but also the children and their future. Enough is enough! Let the action start. After all Black History begins with a positive “who am I experience”, not hero-worshipping.