Freedom’s Children

You were born
First in our hearts
Then our minds began their composition
Soulful songs of Love
Peaceful pulses of Creativity
Arising an Awareness, never before set free

Born out from the hills of our histories
And of the valleys of virtue
You flow into our oceans
Nourishing thirsty plains with peace
And filling wells with wisdom
Your own personal journey to freedom

Our Ancestors paid a great price for you to be here today
Right now, when you are most needed
To remind us
That, “We are all… Freedom’s Children”

Beautiful is he/she, who survives the struggle… God-like,
A Majestik Freedom,
like an overwhelmingly strong, yet distant diplomat calling us to prayer…
My children,
Our children,
Freedom’s Children

Let us raise them up to rise above the shackles of tainted traditions,
with humble hearts and stifled egos,
so that they will sing and play for us,
beautiful music,
building and inspiring our community with
each note nurtured,
every word written,
every syllable spoken…

Dreaming big and loving hard with sincerity and a passion unfathomable

Allow them into your homes of cultural heritage,
so that they may innerstand Sankofa,
teaching us the true art of activism, community love and upliftment.

Freedom’s Children;
Liberate us with your Love

To be cont…
©DaraMonifah March 2011

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There is a movement to heal the wounds of the past. There is a movement to strengthen our family. There is a movement to build community. Will you be a part of this?

Unity! No more crabs in a barrel mentality. We have to work together to achieve greatness. It takes all of us to create life best suited for human beings. Not capitalists, socialists, communists or any other name to marginalize us but a combination of qualities that will ensure our unity as a community. Will you be a part of this?

Self Determination! No longer will you or I let someone else define us. Why are we here? It was written that we all have a purpose here on this small planet. We are all connected. Our roots run deep in the soil of humanity. We must be determined to dream the reality we desire then live it. I believe in me, you and our ability to define, create and speak for ourselves. Will you be a part of this?

Collective Work and Responsibility! Are we our neighbors’ keeper? Can we work together to solve the problems of our community? Can we love unconditionally? Disenfranchised is no longer a part of our vocabulary. Can we come together to share and celebrate the rewards of our collective work?

Cooperative Economics! We determine value. Will we build and maintain businesses and profit from them as a community? Before we run and support another let’s see who of our own we can help first. Is it possible to develop a strong ‘we’ mentality to ensure our community thrives? Will you be a part of this?

What is our purpose? Greatness! Have we done the research to see the tradition almost hidden in plain sight to keep us blind to the truth? Our purpose is community. Our strength is community. Together we can move mountains. Will you be a part of this?

Creativity! We are all creative. We all have a gift we can share. Will we find a way to use our gifts to uplift, beautify and benefit our selves, families and communities?

I have faith in my heart, my parents, my teachers, my community that we will find a way to rise. I have faith we will love. I have faith we will come together…

There is a movement to heal the wounds of the past. There is a movement to strengthen our family. There is a movement to build community. Will you be a part of this?

…those who do the right thing when no one else is looking.

In a society seeking idols we must realize we don’t have to look too far.

To the parents and guardians who provide daily love, safety, respect and understanding while raising your children, we appreciate you. Yes there is no special write-up in the newspaper for what you do but the rewards of your hard work and dedication are priceless.

To the teachers who provide their own supplies when the budget is cut due to legislative red tape, we appreciate you. Some of you are more than teachers. Many of you are the saviors of lives. Thank you for nurturing the vision in the eyes of a child.

To the activists who work tirelessly addressing community issues, we appreciate you. Many don’t see the countless hours you’ve invested. While pretenders come and say they are for community line their pockets only to return home and invest in self, you the activist work for the betterment of humanity. The very people you save sometimes don’t realize that credit is due to you.

To the leaders who lead by example and not by greed, we appreciate you.

To the artists who work locally to inspire the community, we appreciate you.

To those law enforcers who truly protect and serve righteously, we appreciate you.

To the lawmakers who stand for what’s right and don’t participate in politricks, we appreciate you.

To the spiritual leaders who teach truth and don’t manipulate, we appreciate you.

There is a local, national and global movement for social justice. We appreciate those who help make goals attainable.

Thank you for caring about self, family and community.

We appreciate those who do the right thing when no one else is looking. We appreciate you…

The student said “I was running and I buss a skid out round the corner to get here in time.” Imagine that, “skid out” is still used along with many other terms many of us grew up with.

Walking through the corridors of various schools random children said “Good Morning.” There was a sense that our community has not been lost. Our culture, though it has been bruised, is still intact. What now? How do we continue to nurture the vision in the eyes of a child for a better tomorrow when so many threaten our very fabric of existence?

Community?! Can we stop talking about how to be and take action by just being there for each other? Each one teach one? Each one love one…

How can someone grow up in a neighborhood in the VI and not do what they can to alter the status quo? Their children attend public or private schools yet they don’t care about the state of affairs? How can someone sleep at night knowing they are taking away from the community? Talking heads making promises while the youth suffer. These individuals take the fruit of the tree but never add nutrients to the soil, water to the roots and sunlight for growth.

Our community has not sunk to the bottom of the ocean, but we need to work on our homes, our family, our environment, our Virgin Islands.

Today we all have something we can give. Our time, love and skill is very valuable. You can mentor a child now. Maybe reading at preschool, maybe sharing your gift at an elementary school, maybe helping a junior in high school make decisions about a promising future? What will we do?

Together we can create security for each other so we can continue enjoying our culture as we expand into the 21st century. We can’t continue taking from the tree of natural beauty and not expect to give back.

Storms will come but how prepared will we be. United we have strength divided the selfish and greedy will succeed. How do we see the future of our community? What will we do to ensure we get there?

Do you remember the story behind the “Good Samaritan?”

We are of different faiths or no faith but we are all still neighbors. We are all part of the global community, with strong loving families at the foundation.

The reality of this life is that we are all connected. Should we feel less empathy for others of different nationality, race or religion? The very idea of community is the act of coming together. Can we?

The story of the Samaritan helping the destitute individual after the priest and the Levite ignored his need shows us truth. Each one of us is our neighbors’ keeper. Can this be? What are you willing to do to understand others? Are you ready to wear the shoes of the less fortunate to become truly aware of their plight? Can you offer a helping hand to a stranger? Can you be like the Samaritan?

We are conditioned in our current society to think only about self. We see public servants mis-using power and trust in the name of greed. We see more division among leaders than unity. At this point we must remember the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’ and other similar lessons on how to truly love our neighbor. The Samaritan was of a different background from the stranger but his heart was in sync. He knew that we are human beings responsible for the protection of this small planet.

Though we might feel that we are protected in the safety of our home, community or socioeconomic status, the truth reveals that we are all affected by the sewer of corruption. We can’t ignore another community that is plagued with crime. At the root we have challenges pertaining to education, status clarification, the environment, politics, neighborhood safety and family. At the stem there is you. On the branches there are the solutions provided by many organizations and individuals.

Will we elect good Samaritans? Will we become concerned with all neighborhoods and not just our own? Will we begin building a future on solid rock or sand? Will we nurture relationships based on unconditional love or false ideals?

Today is the day we walk in light and make a personal choice to alter the state of affairs. All around us dreams are waiting to be planted in the hearts and minds of our future. Reach out and capture the possibility of creating an opportunity for someone. There is a child, a family and a school in need of a good Samaritan. Will that person be you?

The girl said “Mommy, what does this have to do with me? The politicians have been coming by the school frequently recently but I don’t usually see them. Why?”

Her mother contemplated how to answer the question. She didn’t want to turn her child off from the political process. She replied “love, these individuals are running for public service positions. They know that you and your classmates can influence your parent’s vote so they come to the schools to talk about their platform. Some are sincere and others are not.”

The girl looked confused. She shook her head then said “why do they come around only at election time? The last time they did this I was too young to notice. I over heard the teacher talking/fussing about budget and youth programs. I don’t think the teacher was too happy with the folks that came to speak. I wonder why?”

Her mom smiled “Baby listen, these individuals are campaigning. They want to earn the trust of the community so they will receive the votes. Some are sincere but others are running a popularity contest where the facts are buried in pageantry. Do you understand? Since you seem interested, a good project for you is to research those who are running for re-election. Check out what they did for the VI youth during their last term in office. For those who are new to office, check out what they have done for the community. The reality is that those who are most affected by political decisions are left out of the conversation.”

The girl smiled “Mommy, why are you trying to give me work to do? I know some of them are crooks. I get a vibe that they are about nothing. The same roads are being worked on or being reworked. Crime rates are rising. It seems tons of money is coming in but hardly any of it is being spent on the community. Some of my friends said their parents told them that crooks keep getting re-elected. If that is true, why?”

Her mother laughed. She lost control for a moment and just laughed releasing the tensions from within. Tears rolled down her face as her daughter, not fully understanding the punchline, began laughing too. The mother thought to herself that the children can see. She gained some control over self. “Honey in the world we live in some folks practice the art of deception. The trick is to be able to see beyond the haze of corruption and make an educated decision. In November many people will have to make educated decisions based on truth and not pomp and circumstance. Do you know what you and your friends can do?”

The daughter shrugged her shoulders with a perplexed look on her face. Her mother continued “Many people like to look at elected officials for solutions. We can’t put all the work on them. At your age, you have responsibilities. Though these individuals took an oath of service, the power of change lies in the community. You and your friends can make a difference.”

The girl asked “How? What can we do? We can’t vote!” “No you can’t vote but you can assist in changing your environment. You and your friends can start doing things to uplift your peers who are struggling. You and your friends can become aware of the status quo and alert others of the ones who are for the people and the ones who are for self. You and your friends have much more power than you think. When I was your age, I joined a youth activist group. We did many things to help our neighborhood and school. Would you like to do something like that?”

The girl smiled “Mommy, I asked you a simple question and you went off on a tantrum.” Her mother gave her the eye. The girl continued, “Just kidding. Actually, there are some youth groups at my school that I’m considering joining. Many of us are tired of seeing our friends die or know someone who lost a friend or family member.” The girl paused then said, “Mommy, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Can I go do my homework before you talk my head off?” The mother’s eyes opened wide and they both burst out laughing.

He said she said we grew apart…

One of the most important foundations of community is the family. The internal and external system that teaches us moral, spiritual and social values. The mother teaches the daughter and the father teaches the son.

We learn respect for self and others from this ancient institution. Love? Responsibility. At one point partners were chosen with prayer, meditation, rituals and guidance from elders to ensure strength, stability and stamina to survive the ups and downs of life. What happened?

There are still strong families but they are becoming a rarity in our society of growing adolescent issues. Adults are saying “I want to be happy. I must live my life.” But should temporary happiness destroy the fabric that bonds the home? What about friendship?

When discussed, the couples in most 40 to 60 year marriages talk about the ups and downs. When one was weak the other was strong. They speak about the moments when both were strong. It seems that fewer people are learning from the wisdom of elders and are making up their own rules or they never had the opportunity to properly learn the rules because they never had a family.

The complexities of family must be navigated by individuals willing to learn. Friendship and respect are at the beginning of any true relationship and should remain for the life of that relationship. Also, if people connect and have children they should realize that they have a great responsibility. Why? Children are forever…

Many of societal issues can be traced back to a poor family life. Though some rise above the dilapidated constructs of home life most give in to the poison. If parents (guardians) are the first teachers, why do many not take responsibility for the task at hand? Daughters looking to fathers for examples of real men. Sons looking to mothers for what a woman should be. But as parents, have we lost our minds in the choices we make?

Love? What about love? What about happiness? What about family? What about future? People take a test to become a cashier at the grocery store but anyone can be a parent. The law offers very limited protection to the child who suffers from parental ignorance. There are millions of books written on parenting. Most will pick up a cook book and read how to make their favorite dish instead of reading how to nurture a child.

How did we get here? How did some become so selfish that they can’t see how their actions affect others? Yes a parent deserves love, compassion and happiness. But a parent must still always realize their responsibility. The truth guides us even when we stray, but when we refuse to see reality we are forever lost.

There are many variations of family. When love no longer lives between parents the respect and friendship should remain. Offspring of all ages can be affected by the mishandling of affairs. Can we be humble and live in community? What about divine intervention?

Do you remember when we respected family? Do you remember a time where we knew the code and honored it? Do you remember when men treated women like Queens and women treated men like Kings? We have lost touch with the true meaning of family. How can we regain the respect and dignity we have lost? Let us re-educate ourselves on what it means to love, forgive and rebuild our community starting with our home.

Away from the trade, corruption, misinformation and division lies an undeniable truth. We are surrounded by natural beauty.

When we venture to those places in the Virgin Islands untouched by greed and the need to build a monstrosity for tourism we begin to feel what we’ve been blessed with.

The ocean crashes against the land creating a steady pulse of life. The music we hear is nature’s gift to us. How do we allow a child to see clearly the sea of opportunity? Can we see pass the haze of disparity to communicate the reality of the beauty before us?

Standing on a cliff near the end of the island the human spirit is humbled by the depth of consciousness that surrounds us. In that moment we see that we play a small part in the grand design of life. We begin to understand what we are protecting.

Life is a blessing. The ability to survive child birth and make it into this world is a miracle. How do we allow a child to lose their love and appreciation for life? Though we are surrounded by natural beauty some of us are blinded by our experience. How can we change the negative perception of life in a child’s eyes?

Let us begin with education. First the teacher must see clearly and make sure their vision is not clouded. Then when child meets teacher the vision of the possibility of the future is articulated in such a seductive way that the student cannot resist. The child begins to think for self. The student desires learning because the quest for understanding begins. The value for life is so great that the student can’t fathom using any weapons of destruction. Their curiosity has them preoccupied with learning, loving and living.

How many can appreciate the natural beauty of our islands? How many can appreciate the natural beauty of our people? How many can appreciate the natural beauty of our history?

Now is the time for us to rise together and begin the healing process. No ego necessary. All we need is a united movement towards positive change. A united movement towards mentoring (loving) a child, building community, teaching culture and embracing a 21st century that will foster social equality.

We have the tools. We have the inspiration. We need more action. Let us build together and watch the fruits of our labor feed the minds of our youth.

Over centuries our weakness has been our ability to mostly see how we are different. We argue over slight differences instead of coming together.

The people of this small planet possess more similarities than differences. Misguided leaders have used this knowledge to further divide us. We are divided by culture, language, religion, region, knowledge, social standing and economic freedom. We are all human beings. Why can’t we see that?

During many movements the power of human beings coming together for the greater good benefited humanity. Imagine if there were less dissension and more understanding during the Civil Rights Movement? Maybe we would be further along today as a global society?

Today we are given the opportunity to learn from our past and use our awareness to create real change. This is not the time to tear each other down. We must work together. Instead of criticizing we must utilize our strengths for the future of our home. Our community, our planet is too small for this irresponsible behavior. When there is a desire to say something negative, think about a way to bring people together and say something positive to unite our community. It will take all of us to shift the pendulum from corruption to productivity.

Healthy discussions on the issues are needed but we must close ranks now. We are all soldiers for change and we must take constructive action towards a better future for the youth. Greed and corruption are united. What about us? Are we united for social change? Are we united for a better future? Are we united for our youth?

There are many movements, initiatives, organizations working for the betterment of our islands. Let the infighting stop now and a collaborative effort from all people begin. We are the future of the Virgin Islands and our individual skills will be combined to develop a massive strike against the status quo. The goal – Peace, justice, love and light for our children and our community.

Nepotism runs deep in our beautiful Virgin Islands. When it is good, everyone benefits. But when it is not, well we see the results daily.

As one makes the transition from childhood to adulthood awareness takes place and sometimes shocks the system. A child might not understand why so many Virgin Islanders don’t return home. They might not understand that many can’t return. They might not understand that some in power hold grudges against those who speak truth.

These grudges held by grown adults abusing power only hurt the VI youth. Too many times people say, “well dats how we do tings down here.” That saying holds a certain charm when it pertains to caribbean life but not when individuals suffer.

There are many people who love the Virgin Islands and have tried repeatedly to set up businesses to benefit the community. Do you know there were people who made the process extremely difficult? Some folks became drunk with power after achieving a certain amount of respect because of their pedigree.

Can we let the best person do the job? Are we not supposed to go away, learn and return to share with the community? Isn’t each generation better than the last? Maybe we are supposed to continue doing what does not work?

We all should be thankful for the many families who left a legacy in our pristine Virgin Islands but some abuse their privilege instead of using it to benefit the whole community. We must work towards creating a balanced society that sets aside petty differences for the benefit of the future.

We have many positive initiatives on the shores of our islands. For those seeking positive change, with a little research you can find an organization who fits your skill set.

There will be those who welcome change and others who refuse to give up their unbalanced power. Let us pray we can diminish our egos and really focus on the future of our youth.