Peace, Worcester People! Rosalie asked me to write something … Here’s my article, which was part of my speech, when I won the Erskine Award back in 2015:
How we can join together to battle all of the injustices that are happening to our youth
By Parlee Jones
“Among the cultures of Africa, few have warriors traditionally more fearsome or more cunning than the Masai of Kenya. It is perhaps surprising, then, to learn
the traditional greeting among Masai warriors is, ‘Kasserian Ingera,’ which, in Swahili, means, ‘Are the children well?'”
It is still the traditional greeting among the Masai, acknowledging the high value the Masai have for the well-being of children. Even modern Masai with no children of their own always give the traditional answer, “All the children are well,” meaning, of course, that peace and safety prevail – that the priorities of protecting the young and powerless are in place, that Masai society has not forgotten its reason for being and its responsibilities.
“All the children are well” means that life is good. It means that the daily struggles of existence do not preclude proper care for the young.
I am going to ask now, And how are the children? Are the children well?
Are the children well? Hmmmm. Do you mean the ones who are homeless with their families today, not sure where they will sleep tonight?
Do you mean the children that have been funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems know as the School-to-Prison-Pipeline?
Do you mean the children of our inner cities who are victims of gun and gang violence?
Do you mean the ones who can be gunned down on their way home by a vigilante claiming “stand your ground”?
Are the children well? Hmmm…
Do you mean the children being snatched at the borders from their families and placed in a concentration camp … right here in the United States!
I started OurStory Edutainment because I realized that there was not a lot of celebration around Black History Month here in Worcester. Living in Brooklyn you see culture around you 24 hours a
day! You don’t have to wait for Black History Month to celebrate Black Culture. I felt it was important for me to showcase our history for my children, so I decided to do it for all children, because it takes a village to raise a child.
I had to start creating my village, here in Worcester. Next February will be our 14th year celebrating Bob Marley! I focus on Bob Marley because he has a message, powerful words in his music.
Words that leave a message, like these:
Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned. Until there is no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes, until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all, without regard to race, there will be war. Until
that day the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, rules of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained.
“’cause everywhere is war.”
These are the words spoken by Haile Selassie I before the United Nations General Assembly in June 1963.
And given eternity by Bob in his song “War”:
And, unfortunately, the words still ring true today. I shout out my kids, Sha-Asia and Born, because all I do, I do for you!
I shout out all my sister friends! They are my family! Because as I said before: it takes a village to take care of its people – young and old. I am so humbled to have a village that sees the world as I do!
Peace and blessed be!