The wailing and screeching cries for justice shared by our community following a series of racially motivated hate crimes on our sister island of St. John has ripped at the very fabric and soul of our multicultural community. It was the horrific nature of the crimes reported that outraged our entire community. The message to the perpetrators & supporters of such violent hate crimes is simple: We do not accept such behavior here in the Virgin Islands and you will answer for your crimes. You must change or pack your bags and go! The silence and virtual inaction by many of our elected leaders and various law enforcement agencies has created a situation that without the discipline and foresight of many silent drummers, our genuine leaders, prayers from supportive clergy & their congregants and conscious activists could have escalated into serious civil unrest. A life of thanks to all who contributed protectively, financially, positively & spiritually!
On the VI's historic cultural holiday of Contract Day commemorating the Fireburn of 1878, a march, motorcade, rally, cultural bonfire, protests and community meetings for positive change were initiated. The organizers of the October 1st initiatives, We the People for Justice, is a coalition comprised of community organizations & individuals, that collaboratively & cooperatively maintained historically & culturally correct levels of peace and love that were harder to maintain than many non-participants may ever begin to conceptualize.
During the October 1st initiatives, the community focused upon the restoration of justice, unity, harmony, tranquility, equality and balance. A community revolution for positive change was sparked on St. John, by and for St. Johnians with extended supports from St. Croix, St. Thomas, Water Island, Tortola, other Caribbean islands & abroad. "There is nothing more tragic than to sleep through a revolution We are challenged to achieve a world perspective The great challenge now is to make it one in terms of brotherhood (sisterhood cdk) The challenge before us today is to develop a coalition conscience and get rid of this problem that has been one of the nagging and agonizing ills of our nation over the years Let nobody give you the impression that the problem of racial injustice will work itself out. Let nobody give you the impression that only time will solve the problem. This is a myth Racial injustice must be uprooted from American society because it is morally wrong We must get rid of violence, hatred and war We know about violence. It's been the inseparable twin of Western materialism, the hallmark of its grandeur We must work for peace, for racial justice, for economic justice, and for brotherhood (sisterhood cdk) the world over Let us stand up. Let us be a concerned generation. Let us remain awake through a great revolution We, in the final analysis, can gain consolation from the fact that at least we've made strides in our struggle for peace and in our struggle for justice. We still have a long, long way to go, but at least we've made a creative beginning." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1965 This movement is a struggle for justice and a wholistic quest for the resurrection of our collective humanity.
The October 1st initiated civil actions focused on maintaining a non-violent approach to express our displeasure with the complacency of many towards the timely address of criminal matters that have been ignored for some time that were allowed to escalate into a brutal rape, assault and attempted murder of a woman of Afrakan (black) ascent by Europeans/Caucasians (whites). As the investigations proceed, the silence of many and the ignorant rumors by most exemplify a serious disregard for life and the sanctity of the womb of women-especially women of Afrakan ascent. In patriarchal societies, the systematic disregard for women speaking out against injustices imposed on our wombs has a long history of acceptance & disbeliefeven by our own womenfolk. Victims of sexual assault & violence are usually victimized and intimidated by the same agencies designed "to protect & serve" them. Within this silence, sexual & racist violence is continuing to happen in the VI & abroadit must end. The current situation & rampant distrust on St. John has not been exempt of such historical patterns. There is no peace and love without truth, justice and righteousness known as Maat. Hence, St. Johnthe VI's Love Cityhas been under siege for the restoration of justice, truth, harmony and unity on multiple issues that have mushroomed beyond sexual violence and racism. A majority of the participants of the October 1st initiatives have been people of Afrakan ascent. Our organized unity for equal rights, justice and truth requires no apology as it is our universal & human right to preserve our ethnicity & ancestral identity as we collectively work with others in the "melting pot" called America.
The recent community civil actions following the October 1st, 2005 initiatives ended a silence amongst many in the St. John community. Many moved leaps and bounds to institute peaceful and productive forums. Even within peaceful and civil actions there were some imbalanced and conflicting forces in our midst; yet we rose above the ashes. The community needs to know that these activities happened with no incidents of violence, arrests, intervention from law enforcement agencies or any other actions that were anticipated and resourcefully prepared for by authorities Methods of positive action were engaged in that minimized vigilante & seriously violent outbursts by enraged community members who may not agree with non-violent solutions to address violent aggressions imposed against them. These civil actions were not personal or designed to single out one restaurant over another market. Yet, a message of the power and influence of the common native and resident of St. John & the VI was felt in a non-violent & peaceful way. The authorities need to show more respect, give thanks & commend the people of St. John & the VI for not responding to racist & sexual violence with similar brute force or civil unrest at any point during the October 1st initiatives.
In our quest for justice, many sacrifices have been made. "Sacrifice is in the healing". The circumstances and facts surrounding the Frett case are unique yet common in the American scheme of things. Only ignorance and disrespectful undertones would allow anyone to negatively compare it to other hate crimes of America's past. Many people claim they want to know the facts surrounding the St. John hate crimes. However, when our federal and local law enforcement agencies are silent, willfully slow, intimidating and virtually inactive with their investigative procedures, then rumors, skeptical comments, innuendos and slander become the course of the day. Some basic facts are clearly known and "on the record" to insure that victims are not further victimized, intimidated or attacked. In respect for human life and the sanctity of the womb of women, we especially need more viable protection & answers to be provided for the Frett family on St. John. Our community is entitled to truthful answers to curb the divisiveness running rampant.
We need the powers that be, especially the ones we elect in the VI, to expedite that justice be served and provide concrete answers to the people of our community. We need for the federal government to be a good steward & protector to the citizens of this unincorporated non-self governing territory of the USA. This current exercise of silence has become more than disrespectful and outright insulting to the people who make up the government and a façade of all it represents. The current silence in concert with the historical tract record of various law enforcement agencieslocal and nationalhas divided our community severely. The fact that the people of St. John and the entire territory are sending hundreds of l
etters, faxes, emails and making telephone calls to the law enforcement agencies responsible for providing some form of communications to "we the people" is a direct result of the recent October 1st civil actions and demonstrations on St. John. We need justice & answers for the people!
Let us work for the eradication of institutions of racism, economic exploitation and other social injustices in our communities. Let us restore the traditional and culturally sensitive environment that we genuinely love and peacefully respect in St. John, the VI and abroad. "If you 'nock one a'we .yo' 'nock all ah'we." Let us unite to continue to be a part of the restoration of respect, justice, peace and love. Denial of injustice & systematic racism is more sinful than a false face of peace and love. Reach out & be an active part of the struggle for healing the wounds violating & dividing our community. We need global healing that supports respect, unity, equal rights and justice for love and peace to be restored in St. John, the VI & globally.
Email, post or fax letters to the Department of Justice, FBI, the VI Governmentexecutive & legislative representatives, VIPD, US Congress, the National Bar Association, the Million More Movement, international organizations & others you know are able to assist our community's quest for justice, updates and answers on the Frett case & other racial and social injustices in the VI. Let's end sexual violence! Know that we are not alone. May we be guided by the strength of our Creator and ancestors. We need justice restored! Never Again!
A'but ChenziRa Kahina
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to [email protected].