September 26, 2011

We can and must speak up.

By Anthony Morgan

A Jamaican who was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Anthony Morgan is a Caribbean law student at McGill University, Faculty of Law. He enjoys thinking and writing about Caribbean international relations, relating specifically to diaspora affairs, regional integration, international trade and Haiti-Caricom relations.

My name is Anthony Morgan, I am a 25-year-old Jamaican, born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I am currently in my final year of law school at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. I will begin by sharing with you a bit about who I am, so that I can best explain how my identity as a diaspora citizen has affected my reaction to a very intolerable incident I experienced on a Montreal university campus on September 14, 2011.

First, some background. Before the summer of 2007 I was just another Black Canadian. During that summer, however, I was fundamentally transformed into a Caribbean-Canadian Diaspora Citizen. This came as a result of my participation in Grace Kennedy’s Jamaican Birthright Programme (GKJBP). The GKJBP is a world-class cultural and professional internship for students of Jamaican heritage who were born and living in the US, UK and Canada. For this programme, students from the diaspora are chosen to go live and work in Kingston, Jamaica to boost their professional skills and experience, and also help them more deeply connect with their Jamaican roots and culture.
Before taking part in the GKJBP, I was merely incidentally Jamaican, mostly identifying at a superficial level through our music, food and manners of worship. My amazing birthright experience, however, transformed me into not only a Jamaican nationalist but also a Caribbean regionalist.

As a result of my participation in the GKJBP, I have become committed to a journey of learning ever more about Jamaica and the Caribbean, particularly in relation to our history, as well as our current position in the global arena of geopolitics, trade and development. This journey has also caused me to become increasingly influenced by a Caribbean intellectual heritage emanating from the thoughts, lives and works of individuals such as Marcus Garvey, Walter Rodney, CLR James, Eric Williams, George Beckford, Lloyd Best and contemporaries, such as Kari Levitt, Norman Girvan, Anthony Bogues and Brian Meeks.

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