Black Lives Matter Statement

Downloadable Version

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our world is changing. In the last 23 days, we have witnessed the brutal dismal of life — not due to illness, misfortunes or suicide – but rather at the hands of law enforcement. While the Preamble to the United States Constitution declares to “ensure domestic tranquility”, time and time again we have found this to be less applicable when it comes to People of Color. The clarion call to bring to fruition the core American ideals of freedom, equality and justice to all people has reached critical mass. “Ring the alarm, another sound is dying”, as proclaimed by reggae artist, Tenor Saw – the alarm has rung both here and abroad. The West Indian Foundation, Incorporated, joins this call. We are in the moment and of the movement for #BlackLivesMatter; we know we share vastly more in common than that of our differences.

The onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, has yanked back the curtain to fully reveal the common disparities in American lives. The inequities run the gamut from healthcare, education, employment, the economy, and law enforcement. People of Color experience the undue burdens of poor healthcare access, treatment and outcomes. An education gap persists as a direct result of poor access to technology and resources, lower performing schools, culturally relevant curriculum, and educator cultural sensitivity. An economic gap exists as measured by employment and family assets. And communities of color experience a disproportionate higher rate of death and injury at the hands of law enforcement.

“Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people.” Marcus Garvey

As we enter this new phase in our world, many ask, “What can we do?”

We are part of the solution. Below, we offer some of the things that we can do:

  • Vote —Every vote counts. Encourage all your family and friends over 18 to register, if they have not already, and vote. Educate yourself on the issues and candidates.
  • Complete the Census —The census provides funding for programs and services in our cities and towns and determines voting boundaries and the number of electoral votes.
  • Use your Voice — Speak to your elected officials and let your voice be heard on issues that are important to you and your community.
  • COVID-19 relief —Advocate for the passing of legislation that supports essential workers and healthcare workers.
  • Demand police reform/review — Elimination of choke holds in all forms; require all officers to wear body cameras and terminate those who turn it off intentionally; create a national database of all officers and their records, especially those terminated due to behavior and aggressive actions against communities of color.
  • Support Black/Brown owned businesses —Support our local economy by using Black and Brown merchants/services whenever possible. We must build our collective wealth.

 

We, Caribbean Americans, support a strong and stable community. Collectively, we determine and design the world we deserve.

The West Indian Foundation, Inc. was founded by the West Indian Social Club of Hartford, Inc. to serve as the central focus of West Indian cultural, social and educational activities in the Metro Hartford community. West Indians include peoples native to the Independent Nations of the Caribbean islands of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Christopher, St. Vincent, the Republic of Guyana, The Bahamas, Barbuda, Dominica, Antigua, Belize, Suriname, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis as well as Jamaica.

The West Indian population presently is estimated at over 70,000 in the Metro Hartford area, The Foundation is dedicated to preserving the identity, history, the unique cultural heritage and to educate the community at large in these traditions.

To that aim, the Foundation has produced a wide variety of programs, activities and services.