“Out of Many, One People”

Jamaica’s motto “Out of Many, One People”, which can be seen on its currency, billboards and signage around the airport and Kingston, referenced in its literature, talked about at Reggae Wednesday, etc., speaks to the multi-racial roots and diverse origins of the island’s vibrant people.[1], [2], [3]

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I’ve been in Kingston, Jamaica for just over a week now and am currently stationed at Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG). So far, my walks to/from work (if I am not taking transit) include avoiding cars, picking up mangos on the way, occasionally finding parts of a sidewalk, and mostly trying to take cover in the shade of flowering trees and the gates of houses.

The organization I work with, J-FLAG, is a human rights organization that works to serve the needs of Jamaica’s LGBT community, while promoting social change by empowering the LGBT community and building tolerance for the acceptance of the LGBT community. J-FLAG is an organization filled with passionate and dedicated activists. The organization itself, and the work they do focus on optimism and opportunities. They recognize intersectionalities that exist within movements and issues, and as such, work towards the development of Jamaica as a whole.

As it’s currently election time in Jamaica, the general election taking place next Thursday, February 25, J-FLAG is calling on the Honourable Portia Simpson Miller of the governing People’s National Party (PNP) and the Honourable Andrew Holness of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to recognize and address crucial issues, in order to achieve Jamaica’s National Development Plan Vision 2030.

The petition Protect and Promote Human Rights, Economic and Social Justice for All Jamaicans (#VoteJustice), along with the full call to action The Road Towards Sustainable Development: A National Focus on Human Rights, Economic and Social Justice, calls for the protection and promotion of human rights, economic and social justice for all Jamaicans, regardless of economic status, religion, gender identity, place of origin, sex and sexual orientation, ability, age, health or any other status. Without prejudice and without discrimination.

Commitment by the next administration to achieving Vision 2030, and committing to a human rights framework to achieve sustainable development[4], will allow for a renewed interpretation of “Out of Many, One People”. One that will encompass all diversities that exist in the Jamaican people, and commit to the protection of all Jamaicans, especially those who are marginalized and vulnerable (and even the environment).

 

[1] See http://jis.gov.jm/symbols/jamaican-coat-of-arms/

[2] Important to note that this motto was created by the British before Jamaica’s independence

[3] A super short summary: The Arawaks (also called Tainos) who first peacefully inhabited the island, beautifully named it Xaymaca which means “land of wood and water”. The Spanish colonized the island, but later surrendered it to the British. Both colonizers brought African slaves during their colonial rule. Currently, African descendants make up over 90 per cent of the population. Other smaller ethnic groups came either as indentured labour after slavery was abolished or through immigration (See http://jis.gov.jm/information/jamaican-history and http://www.jnht.com/disndat_people.php)

[4] See The Road Towards Sustainable Development: A National Focus on Human Rights, Economic and Social Justice https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzeHQO_Eo1jXVmF6WlhweTBwVms/view

Coly

Passionate about equity, human rights and social justice. Learning (and unlearning) at J-FLAG 🌈, adventures taking place in Kingston 🇯🇲.

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About Coly

Passionate about equity, human rights and social justice. Learning (and unlearning) at J-FLAG 🌈, adventures taking place in Kingston 🇯🇲.
This entry was posted in IYIP 2015-2016, Jamaica. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Out of Many, One People”

  1. Danielle Bourque says:

    Exciting to read more! I loved my time spent at J-FLAG. Amazing people. 🙂

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