02 An Original CaribBaby
Let’s face it.
From the pandemic, to the riots, and protests across the world, I’m almost certain everyone can agree that 2020 has been a pretty terrible year.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how important actual access to healthcare is as so many people struggled to get tested and treated. After the killing of George Floyd, the world blew up in anger, grief, and fear. It highlighted the fact that so many black Americans have been killed senselessly – in the comfort of their own home.
Many of us were hoping that the officers who killed Breonna Taylor would be arrested. It would have felt like a victory for everyone who has been protesting. Their voices would have been heard. Yet the murderers still walk free.
The riots have illustrated that racism is an ongoing problem with a long and deep history in the US. But now, more than ever, people’s eyes are opening to see the flaws of our justice system. People are realizing that people of color have been mistreated for years; only nowadays, a senseless murder can be recorded on one’s cell phone.
Photographed by Tsunami's Photography
The Black Lives Matter movement has sparked more and more protests both domestically and internationally. Large gatherings of people from the biggest cities to the smallest islands are protesting against racial injustice.
Not only does racism linger in the Caribbean, but colonialism is also a source of racial inequality. The islands do not look or feel like themselves. The culture that Caribbean locals once knew is slipping away. The bright colors are now whitewashed. Even the taste of the food seems unfamiliar.
It has become difficult for locals to buy a piece of their own ancestral land – the land that is owed to them. They cannot call themselves "locals" anymore as Caribbean colonialism has muddied the term. Anyone with the funds and means can take land as if it is just up for grabs.
Photographed by Savannah Loftus Photography
Natural disasters like hurricane Irma in 2017 have paved a way for stateside investors to seize any opportunity to buy damaged properties. This causes oppression and gentrification while Caribbean locals look to flee to the mainland because they will not be able to afford the increased land tax.
One of the most insidious “accomplishments” of perpetual international oppression is convincing us that there can never be a world without oppressors. Likewise, racism prevents us from imagining a world without racists. But today, we can use our imaginations and envision a different world where black lives matter every day, every second, every moment. We have to demand that we are all treated with the same respect. Black people are worthy. Everyone is worthy.
There is hope. 2020 isn’t over yet. We don’t have to wait until the new year to make our resolutions. Here are three things we all can do to make the best of the remainder of the year: Educate, talk, and vote.
Educating ourselves is the best thing we can do for our minds. It can help us find comfort in understanding what is happening in the world right now. Whether it be through researching black history, finding out more about your family owned property, or even watching cultural documentaries about events that you may not understand, further education can help bring peace of mind.
Thereafter, with all the knowledge you’ve gained, share it. Talk about it with your friends and family. Yes, it is a sensitive topic, but the best thing to do is talk about the things that make us uncomfortable. Over time the conversations will become easier. Spreading awareness is an important part of all of this. Take time to teach loved ones what you know. Talk about black-owned businesses and local talent you have discovered and how you plan on supporting them.
Most of all, talk about what a terrible time this is and how you share the same fear and anger as the next guy. This will strengthen not only the back community, but all communities, and encourage a picture of unity and positivity between all races, ethnicities, and cultures.
To spread awareness, we have just dropped our very first T-shirt collection. 'An Original CaribBaby' is not only dedicated to all the born-and-raised Caribbean babies, but to anyone doing something to help preserve a thing or place they love. Be it standing against Caribbean colonialism or American institutional racism, this is for you.
We are proud to donate 20% of our monthly proceeds from this collection to The St. John Heritage Collective in the US Virgin Islands whose mission is to preserve history, identity, and culture.
Although this has been a trying year, 2020 has upward potential for us to make the change that we want to see. Voting is crucial to our survival. Commit to register to vote and select leaders who will create and support policies that end racism in its raw or institutional forms.
All communities should recognize that racial inequality shouldn’t be acceptable anywhere or toward anyone. Instead of alienating others based on the color of their skin, we should embrace them for all that they are and stand in solidarity moving toward equal rights and justice.
Shop the CaribBaby Collection HERE!