The U.S. Census of 2020 has just been released, and with respect to the Caribbean countries, the total population is some 2.6 million persons legally. Jamaica represents the largest with a million and 47,00117, Haiti with a close second million and 33,00737.
The Caribbean represents the largest source of black immigrants in the United States. It is a story for us to contemplate and for us to make a collective effort to use these numbers in a manner that maximizes the benefit for the individuals, for the community, and certainly for the Caribbean region. The call for unity among people of color, among people that are oppressed and in some sense marginalized -any call for unity is viewed with cynicism, and many look at it as a waste of time and certainly this is what the existing structure wants us to think about and to maintain because if we remain splintered as individual groups we are subject to what we clearly know as divide and conquer by folks outside of the community who want to exploit the community and by individuals who find the community an easier hustle when there is a lack of unity and they can appeal to parochial connections and activity as they organize to benefit themselves on the back of the community.
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So the issue is at times very delicate because the struggle takes on day to day activities with sometimes immediate concerns to be addressed, and the question of coming together for the common good is usually a pushback, particularly when there are other outside incentives who would want to keep that situation for their own benefit. But as the old African proverb reminds us – If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.
It is a stark reminder for us as a people and in this instance, I am talking about Caribbean people in the diaspora, in the United States, that it is important for us to consider the strategy for working together so we can go far, so we can have greater benefits and we can deliver for each other as individuals, for our community to be strengthened and to gain benefits for the region.
There is currently a temptation, and understood in some sense, where there is this individual push for recognition of communities in the region, where there are Little Haitis, little Jamaicas, little Guyanas, little whatever Caribbean country you want to think of, and there is some singular pride in that sense – it is not difficult to see why this is the case as there exists country pride. But this has to be managed in such a way that it does not destroy the collective potential and the collective dynamics, the collective power of us as a people, as a Caribbean people, we can negotiate as individuals, small countries and small communities around the country. But we can, when we come together be more forceful, more powerful and more productive if we pull together as a united regional force within the United States of
America where the community and individuals will benefit, and certainly more enlightened policies will be developed for issues that impact us as individuals, impact us in our community, and certainly impact us in the region. So as we examine the numbers and we understand where some countries have larger numbers and others have smaller numbers, we must subscribe to the notion that if we pull together with whatever numbers we have, that we will be pulling together for the good of the individuals
the community and the region, and that we need to put aside some of our own parochial instincts and individual desires or individual gains and use this to protect against external intrusions in our community, where with the lack of unity we are subjected to exploitation in our way of life, from communication to music to culture and certainly to business. And there are no shortage of those elements looking to prey upon a divided community.
We need to take to heart the proverb of walking together where we can walk strong, we can walk long, and we can be together on the issues that matter most to our community, and as traditionally oppressed people, we can start looking to each other for strength and cooperation, freeing ourselves from even external exploitation. We can work diligently knowing we are working not for external forces, but for forces within our community and for our community that will all go to the benefit of the community.
So, we need to take this lesson from the census as we look at it, we need to see the potential for power if we work together and we need to understand our needs beyond just the day to day need, but how we can collectively make a difference and a difference that will be felt and felt in several areas. We are capable of the task of liberating our community. We are capable of the task of making a future for the next generation that is built on solid grounds of wealth creation and wealth transfer. We are capable of developing a community to serve our community and in the end serve us as a people with a future not controlled by anyone else but ourselves. The numbers are there. It is now for us to have the will.