JIS News

American civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton has challenged the more privileged Jamaicans to reach out to the less fortunate in the society.
Rev. Sharpton, who was delivering the keynote address at the 5th annual Upliftment Jamaica awards and fundraising gala held on December 10 at White Horses, St. Thomas, chastised those in the society who “go through life without taking a stand for something and who up to the time of their deaths have never done anything to help the underclass.” He further questioned whether Jamaicans, through their deeds, were carrying on the legacy of Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle and other national heroes.
“Who cares how educated you are if you’re not using that education to uplift others than yourself?” he asked the capacity audience, which included Local Government, Community Development and Sport Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller; Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell and Opposition Leader Bruce Golding.
“Who cares what rank you have or what power you have if you’re not going to help people that need that power and need that rank?” he further questioned.
“You’re not the first smart Jamaican. There were others before you but they just didn’t have the opportunities that you had; opportunities that others before you died for so that you could benefit now.”
“When you’ve departed this life, some child should be able to say you taught them something or that you made a difference in the community. People are not remembered for what they had, rather for what they did for others,” Rev. Sharpton stated.
The civil rights activist noted that Jamaica held a special place in the hearts and minds of people all over the world, having ended slavery before most of the western world, had Emancipation before the United States and gave the world cultural icons Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley.
He noted that Jamaicans, having such a rich legacy, should stand up against crime and change the growing worldview of the country as a “bastion of crime and violence”.
“This is not an island of murder; it’s an island of culture, of refined thoughts, an island where the world would take directions, where the region should look for independent leadership,” Rev. Sharpton stated.
Meanwhile, he praised Upliftment Jamaica, noting that the programme gave ordinary Jamaicans in St. Thomas an opportunity to feel relevant and to make something special of their lives.
Upliftment Jamaica is a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the lives of young people in St. Thomas by enhancing educational opportunities and empowering them to change the outcome of their future and to transform the country. The six-year old organization is headed by St. Thomas native, Gary Foster, who now lives in the United States.
Saturday’s function saw over 24 awards being handed out to representatives of the local and international entertainment fraternity, as well as corporate executives, for their support to the organization.

Skip to content