Rootz Foundation Honors Marcus Garvey for the 18th Year

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Jamaica Consul General, Oliver Mair, receives his Marcus Garvey Community Service Award

Rootz Foundation and City of Miramar Commissioner, Maxwell Chambers, celebrated the 135th anniversary of Marcus Garvey’s birth with ‘Rootz Extravaganza 2022’ on Wednesday, August 17.

This 18th staging of the event was again endorsed by the Consul General of Jamaica, Oliver Mair. Marcus Garvey Rootz Extravaganza is all about honoring Marcus Garvey and the impact he has had on Black people. Attendees, in person and online, were given the history of Garvey’s life and legacy.

Marcus Garvey is Jamaica’s first national hero. Born August 17, 1887, in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, he emigrated to the United States in 1916, from where he furthered his undeniable impact on the world by establishing a branch of the United Negro International Association UNIA. His emphasis was always on unifying Africans and the African Diaspora.

His business endeavors (including a newspaper and a steamship company) and staunch stance on getting Black people to respect themselves and stand together for their rights and freedom earned the ire of the US government. He was eventually deported to Jamaica in 1927 on charges related to mail fraud, which is widely believed to have been trumped up.

The evening began with the recitation of an African Libation ritual, which is like a prayer meant to connect with the ancestors. The libation ceremony was accompanied by drumming and served to set the tone for the immersive experience.

The main speaker for the event, Professor Carolyn Cooper, author and retired senior professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of West Indies, Mona Campus, delivered an unforgettable speech offering great insight into Garvey and his work and his legacy. Her presentation brought to the fore that a country like Jamaica, where over 90 percent of the population is Black, had such an issue with many citizens being hesitant to embrace that they are Black. Many are quick to inform that they are mixed with one ethnicity or another.

Dr. Cooper also alluded to apparent hypocrisy in the Jamaican government’s refusal to grant a pardon to Garvey for the charges that had been levied against him and which have sullied his name. The audience expressed audible exasperation when reminded that Jamaica made Garvey a national hero, but successive Jamaican governments have refused to grant him pardon though they have been lobbied repeatedly.

The evening saw the presentation of awards of recognition for works/service in the elevation of Black people.

Jamaica Consul General, Oliver Mair, receives his Marcus Garvey Community Service Award

The Marcus Garvey, Community Service Award, was presented to Jamaica’s Consul General, Oliver Mair, for his involvement in and support of projects that aid the Jamaican diaspora; and for annual fundraising efforts to assist the medical industry at a community level in Jamaica.

Coleen Douglas receives her Marcus Garvey Community Service Award

Coleen Douglas, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica, also received the Marcus Garvey Community Service Award for her work over the years in support of reggae music (as a publicist and marketer) and to Haiti during the crisis after the earthquake in 2011.

Jean Garvey accepts the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award for her late husband, Marcus Garvey Jr.

The Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to Marcus Garvey Jr. (son of Marcus Garvey) for his strident continuation of the work his father started. His award was accepted by his wife, Jean Garvey.

Rootz Foundation President Priest Douglas Smith was happy with the turnout, “It was good to be back to an in-person event and to have included the Livestream for viewers online. We are thankful for the support of the Jamaica Consul General Office and Miramar Commissioner, Maxwell Chambers, and all our sponsors.”

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